Purpose: This study investigated how listeners’ native language affects their weighting of acoustic cues (such as vowel quality, pitch, duration, and intensity) in the perception of contrastive word stress. Method: Native speakers (N = 45) of typologically diverse languages (English, Russian, and Mandarin) performed a stress identification task on nonce disyllabic words with fully crossed combinations of each of the 4 cues in both syllables. Results: The results revealed that although the vowel quality cue was the strongest cue for all groups of listeners, pitch was the second strongest cue for the English and the Mandarin listeners but was virtually disregarded by the Russian listeners. Duration and intensity cues were used by the Russian listeners to a significantly greater extent compared with the English and Mandarin participants. Compared with when cues were noncontrastive across syllables, cues were stronger when they were in the iambic contour than when they were in the trochaic contour. Conclusions: Although both English and Russian are stress languages and Mandarin is a tonal language, stress perception performance of the Mandarin listeners but not of the Russian listeners is more similar to that of the native English listeners, both in terms of weighting of the acoustic cues and the cues’ relative strength in different word positions. The findings suggest that tuning of second-language prosodic perceptions is not entirely predictable by prosodic similarities across languages.
This book is a collection of articles dealing with various aspects of grammatical relations and argument structure in the languages of Europe and North and Central Asia (LENCA). Topics covered with respect to individual languages are: split-intransitivity (Basque), causativization (Agul), transitives and causatives (Korean and Japanese), aspectual domain and quantification (Finnish and Udmurt), head-marking principles (Athabaskan languages), and pragmatics (Eastern Khanty and Xibe). Typology of argument-structure properties of ‘give’ (LENCA), typology of agreement systems, asymmetry in argument structure, typology of the Amdo Sprachbund, spatial realtors (Northeastern Turkic), core argument patterns (languages of Northern California), and typology of grammatical relations (LENCA) are the topics of articles based on cross-linguistic data. The broad empirical sweep and the fine-tuned theoretical analysis highlight the central role of argument structure and grammatical relations with respect to a plethora of linguistic phenomena.
The volume includes proceedings of the 23th Scandianvian Conference of Linguistics (SCL 23) that was held at Uppsala University 1–3 October 2008. It includes studies covering a wide spectrum of approaches to linguistics, for example, cross-linguistic typological studies, linguistic variation and language change in contact situations as well as studies relating to bilingualism and to second and foreign language learning.
In the paper, the classes of labile verbs (verbs which can be transitive or intransitive without any formal changes) are analyzed on the data of European and North Caucasian languages. The main conclusion is that there is a semantic difference between classes of labile verbs in the two language groups under analysis. In European languages, predicates with low semantic transitivity are labile (for instance, motion verbs and phasal verbs), while in Caucasian languages, lability is more characteristic of verbs with high semantic transitivity (verbs of destruction and similar verb classes).
In my paper, two approaches to verb classification in Adyghe, a language of the West Caucasian family, are discussed. The first approach is a purely morphological classification based on the choice of person cross-referencing prefixes. The second one is a derivational classification which builds on the morphological mechanisms of reciprocalization and reflexivization. The main research question which lies behind the classification study is whether verbs derived by means of the reciprocal or reflexive marker behave in the course of further valency-changing operations differently from nonderived verbs.
I show that verb classification in Adyghe has some typologically peculiar properties, the main one being that the derivational classification distinguishes more specific classes than the purely morphological one. In other words, the fact that a verb is derived is crucial for its behavior. The language-specific properties of Adyghe are also typologically relevant. They show that derived verbs and derivational mechanisms are of particular relevance in verb classification and should be given more attention in linguistic work on verb classification than is currently done.
If anything, Europe’s linguistically most exotic area is the Caucasus. In terms of linguistic density it is the subcontinent’s New Guinea. Languages of Western, Central and Eastern Europe are less typologically diverse – and not much more numerous – than the languages spoken in its southeastern corner. Three “endemic” language families are spoken here, South Caucasian (Kartvelian), Northeast or simply East Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian) and Northwest or simply West Caucasian (Abkhaz-Adyghe). The latter two are sometimes considered to form a deep-level North Caucasian family (see Nikolaev and Starostin 1994), but this entity is disputed. An earlier hypothesis of genealogical relations between all endemic families (the assumed Ibero-Caucasian family) has now been largely abandoned (cf. Tuite 2008). The linguistic diversity of the area is further extended by the presence of Turkic and Indo-European languages. We will primarily deal with endemic families, sometimes also with Armenian (for the purposes of this survey, the difference between Eastern and Western Armenian may be neglected), to a lesser extent with Iranian languages which are also spoken outside the Caucasus and minimally with the Turkic languages, as Turkic is dealt with in a separate chapter of the present volume.