LINGUIST List 8.84

Thu Jan 23 1997

Qs: Borrow, Formality, Biology, Dyslexic

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  1. Jan Tent, University of the South Pacific, Borrowing; _frangue_
  2. Paul Woods, Formality & Register
  3. peter avery, language and biology
  4. tygger, dyslexic second language learner

Message 1: Borrowing; _frangue_

Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 08:38:34 +1200
From: Jan Tent, University of the South Pacific <>
Subject: Borrowing; _frangue_


Can anyone help me with the following two questions?

1. Language A adopts a word with the coda: /...Vld/ (where the /l/ is
a velarised alveolar lateral, as in English 'told') from language B.
Language A has a CVCVCV-type syllable structure and has the following
consonant phonemes:

 p t ?
 f h
 m n

where /r/ is either a flap or a trill, and /?/ is a glottal stop. 

In all likelihood an epenthetic vowel will appear between the
original /l/ and /d/, and the /d/ will changed to a /t/. But how will
the velarised lateral be "translated": as /r/, /u/, or something

Does anyone know of any specific examples of the type of borrowing
as outlined?

2. I am also interested in finding out which languages use or have
used _frangue_ (f. Portuguese, meaning 'Frank') but now generally
meaning 'a European person or whiteperson' (it also can have the meaning
'skin disease of the Europeans; yaws'), or any of its many reflexes
e.g. _feringhee_, _parangi_ (in Sinhalese), _farangi_ (in Hindi,
Farsi), _faranggi/faranji/peringgi/feringgi_ (in Malay). 

Many thanks in advance.

Jan Tent
Department of Literature and Language
School of Humanities
The University of the South Pacific
P.O. Box 1168

TEL: (679) 313900 Ext. 2263
FAX: (679) 305053
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Message 2: Formality & Register

Date: Wed, 22 Jan 97 13:17:38 GMT
From: Paul Woods <>
Subject: Formality & Register

I need to do some work on corpora to extract certain lexical
items that I need. It has emerged that the different corpora
available contain what might be called different levels of
language formality. For example, I have newspapers, magazines,
some books (fact and fiction), and some telephone conversations.
I'd like to know if anyone has done any work on grading the
formality/register of language used in these various forms.
Is there any kind of taxonomy describign for example, whether
pulp novels are less formal than newspapers and in what way?
I know this woolly, but it seems to be just the kind of thing
that someone somewhere has spent ages on and would like to see
used! Also, would such a taxonomy by language specific and if
so, could the principles by related/applied to Chinese?

Paul Woods,
Dept of Computer Science,
Uni of Sheffield,
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Message 3: language and biology

Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 16:20:28 -0500 (EST)
From: peter avery <>
Subject: language and biology

Dear linguists,
A student I know is preparing a research paper on claims that language
is a biological system and that language acquisition is a biological
imperative. she would like to know: (1) is this a controversial
issue? (2) is there any published research that explicitly addresses this
idea? (3) is it an inappropriate metaphor?
Please reply directly to her at (Elissa Flagg).
She will post a summary if there is sufficient response to warrant one.

Peter Avery
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Message 4: dyslexic second language learner

Date: Sat, 28 Dec 1996 14:16:45 -0800
From: tygger <>
Subject: dyslexic second language learner

I am a teacher in a 2nd 3rd split bi-lingual class. I have
one little girl who seems to have little long-term memory of letters and
sounds, numbers and their values, and whose writing tends to inverse
many letters even when copying directly. She has repeated lst grade
once and is now in 2nd but cannot read or do more than simple addition
or subtraction. Do you have any sugestions? I have referred for
testing but there isn't much hope in our district of getting much help
from that direction.
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