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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

Offers a unique view of the English language and its development, and includes witty commentary and anecdotes along the way.


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The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics

By Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin W. Lewis

This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."


Academic Paper


Title: Infant sensitivity to distributional information can affect phonetic discrimination
Author: Jessica Maye
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.communication.northwestern.edu/csd/faculty/Jessica_Maye/
Institution: Northwestern University
Author: Janet F Werker
Institution: University of British Columbia
Author: LouAnn Gerken
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.u.arizona.edu/~gerken/
Institution: University of Arizona
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology; Psycholinguistics; Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition
Abstract: For nearly two decades it has been known that infants' perception of speech sounds is affected by native language input during the first year of life. However, definitive evidence of a mechanism to explain these developmental changes in speech perception has remained elusive. The present study provides the first evidence for such a mechanism, showing that the statistical distribution of phonetic variation in the speech signal influences whether 6- and 8-month-old infants discriminate a pair of speech sounds. We familiarized infants with speech sounds from a phonetic continuum, exhibiting either a bimodal or unimodal frequency distribution. During the test phase, only infants in the bimodal condition discriminated tokens from the endpoints of the continuum. These results demonstrate that infants are sensitive to the statistical distribution of speech sounds in the input language, and that this sensitivity influences speech perception.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Cognition, 82 (3), B101-B111


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