LINGUIST List 4.425

Wed 02 Jun 1993

Qs: Brain activity, Measure phrases, Baby talk, Software

Editor for this issue: <>


  • Stuart Robert Hall, Brain activity and language.
  • David Adger, Measure Phrases and agreement
  • N.Kodama, Query: Babysitters' Lexicon
  • Zhang, software for teaching Linguistics

    Message 1: Brain activity and language.

    Date: Tue, 1 Jun 93 20:33:06 CDTBrain activity and language.
    From: Stuart Robert Hall <>
    Subject: Brain activity and language.

    I am looking for information on braiin activity and language. I am by no means an expert on the subject, but I have read papers on a couple of experiments run years ago, and I would like to know if there is any more recent scholarship on the subject. The articles I haev read dealt with CT-scan data collected from speakers of Japanese and English. It appears that years ago, someone had the idea to take scans of the brain during speech acts, to get an idea of which regions of the brain were active during nouns, verbs, etc. In what appears to me to be very poorly-conceived research, scans from Japanese-born Japanese speakers of Japanese were compared with American-born Caucasian speakers of American English. Not surprisingly, or surprisingly, the scans were quite different. The researchers concluded that the Japanese brain was somehow different than the European brain. I am sorry that I am unable to cite sources; perhaps someone out there remembers this study. Anyway, later, a team of somewhat more inspired researchers studied scans from Japanese-born Japanese monolingual speakers of Japanese, American- born Caucasian monolingual speakers of American English, and, as a control, American-born Japanese monolingual speakers of American English. The A.-b. J. speakers of American English had brain patterns very similar to the Caucasians and quite distinct from the Japanese speakers. These data were used to support the thesis that it is language which shapes the outlay of the brain. These studies seem to me very inconclusive at best. I agree whole- heartedly that language has a great deal to do with the mind and thinking, but what about culture, upbringing, etc.? I may be way off track in my understanding of the research that has been done, and may be misquoting the conclusions of the researchers. I would greatly appreciate any information I could get on such scholarship, its data and results. Thank you. -- Stuart R. Hall (

    Message 2: Measure Phrases and agreement

    Date: Wed, 2 Jun 93 12:03:03 BSTMeasure Phrases and agreement
    From: David Adger <>
    Subject: Measure Phrases and agreement

    I'm looking for languages which display overt object agreement and which also have verbs that take measure complements (examples like English "last", "weigh", "cost" etc). The complements of these verbs share a number of properties such as accepting only weak determiners:

    (1) Anson weighs *most/*every/many/several kilos

    and having degraded extraction from weak islands such as factives etc (a la Rizzi, Cinque etc):

    (2)* How many kilos did you regret that Anson weighed?

    Another correlation seems to be that they do not show agreement in contexts that demand it. Thus extracted measure phrases from past participles in French cannot have agreement, which is usually optional for canonical NP complements.

    I'd like to know if anyone who speaks or knows a language with object agreement can support or falsify this last generalisation.

    If you reply directly to me I'll post a summary to the list if there's sufficient interest.

    Many thanks,


    Message 3: Query: Babysitters' Lexicon

    Date: Wed, 2 Jun 93 17:16:24 JSTQuery: Babysitters' Lexicon
    From: N.Kodama <>
    Subject: Query: Babysitters' Lexicon

    I am sending this request on behalf of a student of mine, who is working on Japanese baby-talk from a lexical point of view. Could anyone recommend general or specific references on babytalk, preferrably with more stress on its lexicon? I would also appreciate any examples from other languages.

    Instead of defining a babytalk, I outline the Japanese version. 1) primarily used TO babies by native speakers of Japanese. 2) with some dialectal, maybe regional, variations. 3) a large portion of its lexicon (BabyTalk Lexis) exclusive. 4) Japanese BabyTalk Lexis typically refer to body parts, or animals, or actions. A majority are apparent derivations from Grown-up forms. BT verbs (or action words) have no inflection contrary to G forms. For example:

    BTL G.Japanese otete 'a hand' te omeme 'an eye' me aNyo 'a foot, to walk' asi waNwaN 'a dog' inu cf. waNwaN 'bowwow' (ADV) zizi 'fish'(dial.) sakana buQbu 'a car'(dial.?) kuruma oQki 'to sit up' oki- oNri 'to get down' ori- nenne 'to lie down,sleep' ne- cyuQcyu 'to suck' suw- aaN 'to open mouth' ? /Q/ realizes as a glottal stop or lengthens the followiong plosive.

    Thanks in advance.

    -------------------------------------------- KODAMA Nozomi Dept. of Linguistics, University of Kumamoto 2-40-1 Kurokami, Kumamoto-shi 860, JAPAN tel. +81-96-344-2111 ext. 2433 fax. +81-96-345-9592 e-mail g78494jpnac.bitnet --------------------------------------------

    Message 4: software for teaching Linguistics

    Date: Wed, 2 Jun 93 10:50:16 BSTsoftware for teaching Linguistics
    From: Zhang <>
    Subject: software for teaching Linguistics

    Hi there,

    I am looking for some softwares for the purpose of computer-aided Linguistics-related teaching. Could anyone give some ideas about it? I would be most grateful if you could also let me know the advantages and disadvantages of the softwares.

    Qiao Zhang