Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


May I Quote You on That?

By Stephen Spector

A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

Edited By Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank

This book "examines the reasons behind the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why it matters, and what can be done to document and support endangered languages."

Academic Paper

Title: Variation in the input: a case study of manner class frequencies
Author: Robert Daland
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: What are the sources of variation in the input, and how much do they matter for language acquisition? This study examines frequency variation in manner-of-articulation classes in child and adult input. The null hypothesis is that segmental frequency distributions of language varieties are unigram (modelable by stationary, ergodic processes), and that languages are unitary (modelable as a single language variety). Experiment I showed that English segments are not unigram; they exhibit a ‘bursty’ distribution in which the local frequency varies more than expected by chance alone. Experiment II showed the English segments are approximately unitary: the natural background variation in segmental frequencies that arises within a single language variety is much larger than numerical differences across varieties. Variation in segmental frequencies seems to be driven by variation in discourse topic; topic-associated words cause bursts/lulls in local segmental frequencies. The article concludes with some methodological recommendations for comparing language samples.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 5, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page