LINGUIST List 5.1195

Sat 29 Oct 1994

Qs: Mandarin Chinese, American Accent, Word Order, Albanian

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. YANG Wei, help
  2. , Stabalization of American Accent
  3. Frederick Newmeyer, Query: 'basic' order
  4. DR Hathaway, Information on the Albanian language

Message 1: help

Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 15:11:53 PDhelp
Subject: help

Hi, Everyone:

I am currently preparing a reference list on the topic of speech errors
in Mandarin Chinese. I would be very grateful if you could help me find
any reference on this topic. Once I have collected a substantial list,
I will make it available to those who are interested. Thank you so much.

Dept of Linguistics
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC, V8W 3P4 Canada
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Stabalization of American Accent

Date: Thu, 27 Oct 1994 18:40:25 Stabalization of American Accent
From: <>
Subject: Stabalization of American Accent

I am very interested in the question of the history of the American
language's accent - its evolution, etc. For example, just watching 60-year
old movies, I hear absolutely no difference in accent from 1930 to today. Is
it thought that the recorded sound media (records, movies, etc.) have placed
a fixation effect on the locking in of our accents in English, or "Standard

Chunking back another 60 years would bring us back to 1870; another, to 1810;
and another, to 1750. What is the stabilization rate of American English
insofar as its characteristic accent, and when did the "present" accent (or
set of accents)
arise? In what periods did it maximize its changes, etc., and do we know
American Eglish actually sounded say around 1770?

If it is necessary and not available on this board, can you help guide me to
experts who know these things -- perhaps on an internet board. I'm kind of
new at gopher, etc.

I do realize a few properties of English -- for example, that British English
has been changing in speech more rapidly than American English; e.g.,
military which the British now pronounce as militry and the Americans as
mili-tary. I understand the English used to say it the way Americans now say
it. But when did, say the Booklyn accent arise - was it during the waves of
migration to New York of Eastern Europeans from about the 1800's-thru about
1910? Etc., etc. How did U.S. Grant's English sound?

Thank you very much in advance for your help.
Bill Lieberman, Ph.D.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 3: Query: 'basic' order

Date: Thu, 27 Oct 1994 11:14:38 Query: 'basic' order
From: Frederick Newmeyer <>
Subject: Query: 'basic' order

One frequently reads in the typological literature that English is an SVO
language (even though other patterns are possible); that the
adjective-noun order in French is N-A (even though one encounters A-N);
and so on. In other words, one order is taken (for typological or other
purposes) to be 'basic'.

There are a number of different ways that one can interpret what is meant
by 'basic order':

1. It is the order with the highest text frequency.
2. It is the order which the majority of relevant lexical items in the
language manifest.
3. It is the order that is least 'presuppositional' (whatever that might
mean precisely).
4. It is the order that one finds in main clause declaratives.
5. It is the order associated with the most basic intonation contour.
6. It is the order associated with the least overall syntactic or
morphological elaboration.
7. It is the order at a motivated underlying level of syntactic structure.

Some of 1 through 7 overlap to a degree and not all will be even
potentially applicable in all cases. But my impression is that all have
been appealed to at one time or another in determining the 'basic
ordering' of some set of syntactic elements in a particular language for
the purpose of making typological generalizations.

My question is this: Can anyone point me to general discussions of the
problem of choosing which particular word order is typologically 'basic'?
Of course, I'd be happy to hear anybody's personal opinion on the matter.
Also, I seem to recall reading somewhere that, in terms of text
frequency, SVO is *not* the most common order for English. Is this true?

Thanks; I'll summarize the discussion.

Fritz Newmeyer
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 4: Information on the Albanian language

Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 17:37:23 Information on the Albanian language
From: DR Hathaway <>
Subject: Information on the Albanian language

Hello, everyone.

My name is David Hathaway, and I am a new member of the linguist list. I
am currently studying at the university of York in the UK.

One of my main interests is the Albanian language and culture, but I
haven't been able to find much information about how the language works -
the only Albanian I know was gleaned from a very basic language course
and is meant, I think, for tourists.

I am very eager to learn more, so if anyone can provide me with any
additional information, hints etc, I would be extremely grateful.


Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue