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Languages, Volume 2, Issue 1 (March 2017) – 2 articles

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Article
Multimodal Cue Competition in Adults’ Novel Verb Generalization
Languages 2017, 2(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages2010002 - 21 Mar 2017
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Abstract
In addition to identifying the referents of novel words, language learners also have to learn to generalize newly acquired words to the appropriate range of referents. Here we ask: what is the relative importance of visual, auditory, and linguistic information in influencing how [...] Read more.
In addition to identifying the referents of novel words, language learners also have to learn to generalize newly acquired words to the appropriate range of referents. Here we ask: what is the relative importance of visual, auditory, and linguistic information in influencing how adult learners generalize newly acquired verbs to novel contexts? In our study, participants learned two novel verbs associated with distinct auditory, visual, and linguistic cues. Then they labeled unfamiliar events in which each cue was either presented in isolation or placed in conflict with other cues. Participants’ production of the verb associated with each cue when in conflict with other cues was assessed relative to their baseline tendency to produce the verb associated with each cue presented in isolation. Findings show that visual cues dominate over linguistic and auditory cues in influencing participants’ verb extension patterns. In contrast, participants are rarely influenced by auditory or linguistic cues when they are placed in conflict with the other cue types. Our findings suggest that any account of word learning needs to factor in the dynamics of how multimodal cues interact to drive attention during word extension. Full article
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Article
Mandarin Chinese Verbs as Verbal Items in Uyghur Mixed Verbs
Languages 2017, 2(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages2010001 - 01 Mar 2017
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Abstract
This paper explores the pattern by which Mandarin Chinese verbs are used in Uyghur-Mandarin code-switching by native Uyghur speakers. In a number of language contact situations with similar verb mixing, foreign verbal items have been argued to be treated as nominal in the [...] Read more.
This paper explores the pattern by which Mandarin Chinese verbs are used in Uyghur-Mandarin code-switching by native Uyghur speakers. In a number of language contact situations with similar verb mixing, foreign verbal items have been argued to be treated as nominal in the host language. However, I argue based on examples from personal communications with Uyghur speakers and my own elicitations that Mandarin verbs are still treated as a verbal category by Uyghur speakers for four reasons: (1) Mandarin verbs project their argument structure in Uyghur; (2) the Mandarin perfective aspectual particle le is uniquely included with a subset of Mandarin verbs; (3) the Uyghur verbalizing marker -la cannot attach to Mandarin verbs; and (4) the Uyghur accusative case marker -ni cannot attach to Mandarin verbs. The paper also discusses why it is not possible for Mandarin verbs to inflect with Uyghur morphology, and proposes a specific constraint on inflecting foreign verbs embedded in rich inflectional languages. The paper also poses the question of whether the availability of multiple light verbs to combine with foreign verbs correlates with the verbal status of foreign verbs in the host language. Full article
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