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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: Pronouns and verbs in adult speech to children: A corpus analysis
Author: Aarre Laakso
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Author: Linda B. Smith
Institution: Indiana University Bloomington
Linguistic Field: Text/Corpus Linguistics
Abstract: Assessing whether domain-general mechanisms could account for language acquisition requires determining whether statistical regularities among surface cues in child directed speech (CDS) are sufficient for inducing deep syntactic and semantic structure. This paper reports a case study on the relation between pronoun usage in CDS, on the one hand, and broad verb classes, on the other. A corpus analysis reveals statistical regularities in co-occurrences between pronouns and verbs in CDS that could cue physical versus psychological verbs. A simulation demonstrates that a simple statistical learner can acquire these regularities and exploit them to activate verbs that are consistent with incomplete utterances in simple syntactic frames. Thus, in this case, surface regularities sufficiently informative for inducing broad semantic categories. Children use these regularities in pronoun/verb co-occurrences to help learn verbs, although whether they do so remains a topic of ongoing research.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 34, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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