LINGUIST List 8.1733

Wed Dec 3 1997

Qs: Language is Power,Coarticulation,Corpora,Debate

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

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  1. Alan Smith, _Language is Power_
  2. Martin J Ball, Coarticulation
  3., Acquisition or Extraction /from Corpora
  4. Charles C-J Lin, Debating

Message 1: _Language is Power_

Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 11:38:16 GMT0BST
From: Alan Smith <>
Subject: _Language is Power_

I am interested in the relationship between standard and non-standard
languages as one of the central themes of my Ph.D. research. I would
be very grateful to hear the comments of anyone who has read the book
"Language is Power" by John Honey, whether favourable or unfavourable.
Essentially Honey charges professional linguists, especially
sociolinguists, with the disparagement of standard English as a "class
dialect", and holds linguists responsible for the decline of formal
grammar teaching in British and American schools leading, in his view,
to a serious shortfall in literacy skills among school pupils.

I wish to point out that I am trying to gauge the general reaction of
linguists to this book; I will not associate names with any opinions
expressed to me when I post my summary. Since I am asking for your
views on "Language is Power", it is only fair to give you mine. There
is much terminological vagueness in the book regarding the definition
of "standard English", the "functional efficiency" of languages, the
difference between spoken and written norms, and the difference
between a language's system and its use. I also find the evidence
furnished by Professor Honey in support of the view that
sociolinguists are responsible for the decline of formal grammar
teaching rather unconvincing. The fact that this decline coincided
with the rise of sociolinguistics as a discipline in the 1960s does
not prove anything.

However, I do agree that students suffer educational disadvantage when
they have not been taught how their language works. This is all too
evident on observing the ignorance of sentence construction and
meta-language among students arriving at university. Professor Honey
makes a strong case for the rehabilitation of formal grammar teaching
in the school curriculum but unfortunately his arguments are marred by
the unproven assertion that professional linguists, by insisting on
the principle of linguistic equality, are implicated in a kind of
conspiracy to deprive children of a chance to advance themselves
through knowledge of standard English.

I would also be interested to hear from anyone who knows of any
reviews that have appeared on this book.

Many thanks.

Alan Smith,
School of Modern Languages, Dept of French
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
U.K. E-mail:
Fax: (0191)2225442
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Message 2: Coarticulation

Date: Tue, 02 Dec 1997 08:46:16 +0000
From: Martin J Ball <>
Subject: Coarticulation

Does anyone have any references to articles discussing duration
effects of coarticulation. That is to say the number of segments that
any particular aspect of coarticulation might last over. We have
invesitigated the effect of post-vocalic /r/ in English on following
alveolars and found that, while there is noticeable tongue retraction
for a following alveolar this does not last through onto the next
alveolar after that (e.g. in /-rts/ clusters and similar).

I'm interested in any other work that might have looked at other such
durational aspects of coarticulation. I'll post a summary if there is
sufficient interest.


Martin Ball
- -------------------
Prof Martin J Ball, PhD
Professor of Phonetics & Linguistics
University of Ulster
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Message 3: Acquisition or Extraction /from Corpora

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 15:30:04 +0100
From: <>
Subject: Acquisition or Extraction /from Corpora

Would anyone like to give their thoughts on the following terms

should we use the term acquisition or extraction when speaking about
kowledge or information we want to collect from corpora? What is the
difference between them?

Thanks for any help.


oueslati rochdi
university of ULP
24 Bd de la victoire
67000 strasbourg France
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Message 4: Debating

Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 08:55:09 +0800
From: Charles C-J Lin <>
Subject: Debating

Is anyone doing research on the discourse analysis of debating? Does
anyone know any useful references or researches that have been done
concerning debating as a genre? Please kindly let me know whatever
clue you have. The discourse properties of debating is also open for
discussion here. I will post a summary later.

thanks a lot

Charles Lin
- ----------------------------------
Charles Chien-Jer Lin
Graduate Program in Linguistics, National ChenChi University, TAIWAN
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