This pilot study addresses the distribution of nonstandard syntactic and lexical features in Indian English (IE) across a homogeneous group of highly educated IE speakers. It is found that nonstandard syntactic features of article use, number agreement and assignment of verb argument structure do not display uniform intragroup distribution. Instead, a relationship is found between nonstandard syntactic features and the sociolinguistic variables of lower levels of exposure to and use of English found within the group. While nonstandard syntactic features show unequal distribution, nonstandard lexical features of semantic reassignment, and mass nouns treated as count nouns display a more uniform intragroup distribution.
J.R.R. Tolkien uses specific linguistic narrative techniques in Smith of Wootton Major to make the world of Wootton Major and the nearby land of Faery come to life for his readers. In this thesis, I examine how Tolkien accomplishes this feat by presenting a linguistic analysis of some parts of the story. My analysis is also informed by Tolkien's own ideas of fairy-stories, and as such, it uniquely shows the symbiotic relationship between Tolkien's theories and his narrative art.
Topic Detection and Tracking (TDT) research has produced some successful statistical tracking systems. While lexical chaining, a non-statistical approach, has also been applied to the task of tracking by Carthy and Stokes for the 2001 TDT evaluation, an efficient tracking system based on this technology has yet to be developed. In thesis we investigate two new techniques which can improve Carthy's original design. First, at the core of our system is a semantic domain chainer. This chainer relies not only on the WordNet database for semantic relationships but also on Magnini's semantic domain database, which is an extension of WordNet. The domain-chaining algorithm is a linear algorithm. Second, to handle proper nouns, we gather all of the ones that occur in a news story together in a chain reserved for proper nouns. In this thesis we also discuss the linguistic limitations of lexical chainers to represent textual meaning.
This paper compares English as a second language (ESL) and foreign language (FL) teachers' and students' perspectives regarding target language (TL) and first language (L1) use in the respective classrooms. Teachers and students were given questionnaires asking their opinions of a rule that restricts students' L1 use. Questionnaires were administered to 46 ESL students, 43 FL students, 14 ESL teachers, and 15 FL teachers in Texas secondary public schools. Results were analyzed using SPSS and R. Results demonstrated an almost statistical difference between perspectives of ESL and FL students regarding TL and L1 use, while teacher results demonstrated no statistical difference between the groups. Students had a more positive perspective of the rule than teachers.
Phonetic mergers in American English have been studied throughout the last half century. Previous research has contributed social and phonetic explanations to the understanding of front and back vowel mergers before /l/, front vowel mergers before nasals and phonetically unconditioned back vowel mergers. Using data from the Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States (LAGS) and the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (LAMSAS), this thesis examines the spread of the front vowel mergers in Mary and merry and the back vowel mergers in horse and hoarse. The two complementary sources of data allow for a social and phonetic approach to the examination of the merger.
This thesis explores the evolution plural verbal -s ("People thinks he is guilty") and zero 3rd singular ("He think he is guilty") in data from two sources on Southern English: The Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States (LAGS) and The Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic States (LAMSAS). The research questions that underlie this study consider (1) the demographic association of plural verbal -s and zero 3rd singular, (2) the maintenance of each form, (3) the constraints on their use, and (4) the origins of -s variability. The atlas data suggest the following for plural verbal -s: (1) it has a British source, (2) it was present in both African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and early Southern White English (SWE), and (3) there were different grammatical constraints on its use in AAVE and SWE. Data for zero 3rd singular -s suggest this form (1) did not have a British source and (2) that it has historically been an AAVE feature.
This thesis tests the hypothesis that a whole language approach to ESL (English As A Second Language) pronunciation with emphasis on suprasegementals through the use of linguistic mimicry is more effective than a focus on segmentals in improving native speakers perceptions of accent and comprehensibility of ESL students' pronunciation of English. The thesis is organized into seven chapters. Chapter 2 is a discussion of the factors that affect the degree of foreign accent in second language acquisition. Chapter 3 gives a background on current ESL pedagogy followed by a description of the linguistic mimicry approach used in this research in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 and 6 are discussion of Materials and Methods and Conclusions and Implications.
This study examined the claim that animated films influence childrens' opinions of accented-English. Two hundred and eighteen 3rd through 5th graders participated in a web-based survey. They listened to speakers with various accents: Mainstream US English (MUSE), African American Vernacular English (AAVE), French, British, and Arabic. Respondents judged speakers' personality traits (Work Ethic, Wealth, Attitude, Intelligence), assigned jobs/life positions, and provided personal information, movie watching habits, and exposure to foreign languages. Results indicate: (1) MUSE ranks higher and AAVE lower than other speakers, (2) jobs/life positions do not correlate with animated films, (3) movie watching habits correlate with AAVE, French, and British ratings, (4) foreign language exposure correlates with French, British, and Arabic ratings.
This thesis presents a comprehensive study of the Japanese double-ga construction and offers an explanation as to why the Japanese double-ga construction does not allow scrambling. In chapter 2, the particle-ga and the particle-wa are defined as the focus marker and the topic marker respectively. The different shades of meaning that both particles have are also explained. Chapter 3 illustrates the Japanese double -ga construction. Chapter 4 deals with the impossibility of scrambling in the double-particle constructions. A strong parallelism is shown between the double-ga construction and the double-wa construction. The claim is that there are three "pragmatic slots" that the particle-ga and -wa can occupy in the sentence. The rigid-fixed-order of these three slots contributes to the prohibition of scrambling.