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Languages, Volume 9, Issue 2 (February 2024) – 33 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This paper examines the relevance of the sentence concept to the understanding of three types of implicitness (presupposition, conversational implicatures, irony). Our experimental protocol involved 105 children (aged 6 to 11) and 82 adults who were asked to read short texts composed of a context about some characters and a target sentence conveying one of the three implicit contents. After reading, children and adults had to answer a comprehension yes-no question and indicate the segments from the text that helped them answer the question. Results showed a difference between the three types of implicitness, with presupposition being detected and understood at a subsentential level, whereas implicatures and irony come under extrasentential level requiring the context to be taken into account. View this paper
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18 pages, 375 KiB  
Article
Exploring Different Stakeholder Perspectives on Bilingualism in Autism
by Katie Beatrice Howard, Jenny L. Gibson and Napoleon Katsos
Languages 2024, 9(2), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020066 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1073
Abstract
An increasing body of research suggests that bilingualism is possible and perhaps even advantageous for autistic individuals. However, several factors might influence parents’ decisions about raising their autistic child bilingually, including national language policies, educational contexts, advice received from key professionals, and the [...] Read more.
An increasing body of research suggests that bilingualism is possible and perhaps even advantageous for autistic individuals. However, several factors might influence parents’ decisions about raising their autistic child bilingually, including national language policies, educational contexts, advice received from key professionals, and the child’s individual strengths and needs. Accordingly, there is a clear imperative to understand how the views of different stakeholders converge and diverge when language decisions are made in the context of autism. This paper brings new insights by synthesising the findings of three qualitative studies that used interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to explore the perspectives and experiences of bilingual autistic children (n = 11), parents (n = 16), and educational practitioners (n = 13) of bilingualism in autism in England and Wales. Despite wide variation between and within groups, a striking tension emerged between individuals’ beliefs about bilingualism in general, which were positive, and their experiences of bilingualism in autism specifically, which often foregrounded more monolingual approaches. This paper examines this tension, with a particular focus on stakeholders’ attitudes towards the feasibility of bilingualism, families’ language choices in the context of autism, and how notions of contextual linguistic diversity accentuated differences between England and Wales. We conclude by arguing that greater awareness of both bilingualism and neurodiversity in educational and clinical settings may improve the experiences of bilingual autistic children and, crucially, the language advice families receive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Use, Processing and Acquisition in Multilingual Contexts)
19 pages, 1600 KiB  
Article
Cross-Language Perception of Lexical Tones by Nordic Learners of Mandarin Chinese
by Man Gao
Languages 2024, 9(2), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020065 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 886
Abstract
While existing cross-language studies on the perception of non-native tones primarily focus on naïve listeners, this study addresses an obvious gap by investigating learners from diverse language backgrounds. Specifically, it investigates Mandarin tone perception in two groups of learners from Nordic languages, Swedish [...] Read more.
While existing cross-language studies on the perception of non-native tones primarily focus on naïve listeners, this study addresses an obvious gap by investigating learners from diverse language backgrounds. Specifically, it investigates Mandarin tone perception in two groups of learners from Nordic languages, Swedish (a pitch-accent language), and Danish (a non-tonal language), as well as in a group of native Chinese speakers. Analysis of their performance in tone identification task revealed a slight advantage for Swedish learners, implying the influence of their pitch accent background in learning Mandarin tones. However, both Swedish and Danish learners who excelled in the tone identification task exhibited similar perception of within-category tonal variations but differed from native Chinese speakers. Additionally, the study found that the presence of length contrast, a prosodic feature in the learners’ native languages, significantly influences their perception of Mandarin tones. Full article
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10 pages, 350 KiB  
Article
Wh-Interrogative Clauses in Istro-Romanian
by Ramona Cătălina Corbeanu and Ionuț Geană
Languages 2024, 9(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020064 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 768
Abstract
This paper focuses on the syntax of interrogative clauses in Istro-Romanian. The aim is to determine the parametric settings for V-to-C, subject placement (SVO or VSO) and the target for constituent movement under discourse triggers. The findings indicate that Istro-Romanian preserved the parametric [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the syntax of interrogative clauses in Istro-Romanian. The aim is to determine the parametric settings for V-to-C, subject placement (SVO or VSO) and the target for constituent movement under discourse triggers. The findings indicate that Istro-Romanian preserved the parametric settings from Old Romanian, especially those that converged with the parametric settings in Croatian grammar. In particular, SVO can be explained only through inheritance, whereas VSO, lack of V-to-C and scrambling are a matter of both inheritance and convergence with Croatian. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formal Studies in Balkan Romance Languages)
20 pages, 2869 KiB  
Article
On the Role of Informal vs. Formal Context of Language Experience in Italian–German Primary School Children
by Mariapaola Piccione, Maria Francesca Ferin, Noemi Furlani, Miriam Geiß, Theodoros Marinis and Tanja Kupisch
Languages 2024, 9(2), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020063 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1217
Abstract
This study focuses on the contexts of language experience in relation to language dominance in eighty-seven Italian–German primary school children in Germany using the MAIN narrative task. We compare current language experience in the heritage language (Italian) and the majority language (German) in [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the contexts of language experience in relation to language dominance in eighty-seven Italian–German primary school children in Germany using the MAIN narrative task. We compare current language experience in the heritage language (Italian) and the majority language (German) in both formal and informal settings, and we examine the respective impact on micro- and macrostructure measures, including different language domains. Some previous findings emphasized the importance of language experience in formal contexts. By contrast, our results suggest that, in particular, language experience in informal contexts determines vocabulary and fluency in the heritage and majority language, while there are no effects of exposure on syntactic complexity. Furthermore, while the younger children are relatively balanced, the older children are more dominant in the societal language. Our findings imply that the use of the minority language in informal contexts should be encouraged to promote its development and maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Use, Processing and Acquisition in Multilingual Contexts)
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21 pages, 1360 KiB  
Article
Acoustic Similarity Predicts Vowel Phoneme Detection in an Unfamiliar Regional Accent: Evidence from Monolinguals, Bilinguals and Second-Language Learners
by Daniel Williams, Turgut Ağabeyoğlu, Adamantios Gafos and Paola Escudero
Languages 2024, 9(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020062 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
When encountering an unfamiliar accent, a hypothesized perceptual challenge is associating its phonetic realizations with the intended phonemic categories. Greater accumulated exposure to the language might afford richer representations of phonetic variants, thereby increasing the chance of detecting unfamiliar accent speakers’ intended phonemes. [...] Read more.
When encountering an unfamiliar accent, a hypothesized perceptual challenge is associating its phonetic realizations with the intended phonemic categories. Greater accumulated exposure to the language might afford richer representations of phonetic variants, thereby increasing the chance of detecting unfamiliar accent speakers’ intended phonemes. The present study examined the extent to which the detection of vowel phonemes spoken in an unfamiliar regional accent of English is facilitated or hindered depending on their acoustic similarity to vowels produced in a familiar accent. Monolinguals, experienced bilinguals and native German second-language (L2) learners completed a phoneme detection task. Based on duration and formant trajectory information, unfamiliar accent speakers’ vowels were classed as acoustically “similar” or “dissimilar” to counterpart phonemes in the familiar accent. All three participant groups were substantially less sensitive to the phonemic identities of “dissimilar” compared to “similar” vowels. Unlike monolinguals and bilinguals, L2 learners showed a response shift for “dissimilar” vowels, reflecting a cautious approach to these items. Monolinguals displayed somewhat heightened sensitivity compared to bilinguals, suggesting that greater accumulated exposure aided phoneme detection for both “similar” and “dissimilar” vowels. Overall, acoustic similarity predicted the relative success of detecting vowel phonemes in cross-dialectal speech perception across groups with varied linguistic backgrounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue An Acoustic Analysis of Vowels)
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21 pages, 7145 KiB  
Article
The Intonation of Peruvian Amazonian Spanish Declaratives: An Exploration of Spontaneous Speech
by Miguel García
Languages 2024, 9(2), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020061 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1000
Abstract
The present study explores intonational patterns in spontaneous speech in Peruvian Amazonian Spanish (PAS). The data came from 12 monolingual Spanish speakers in the city of Pucallpa, where the Spanish language has historically been in contact with the Amazonian language Shipibo-Konibo. The speakers [...] Read more.
The present study explores intonational patterns in spontaneous speech in Peruvian Amazonian Spanish (PAS). The data came from 12 monolingual Spanish speakers in the city of Pucallpa, where the Spanish language has historically been in contact with the Amazonian language Shipibo-Konibo. The speakers responded to an open-ended prompt that elicited broad focus declaratives. Acoustic information from 1524 pitch accents was extracted from 194 sentences and analyzed using Praat. The analysis focused on five features: F0 rises, F0 peak alignment, downstepping, final lowering, and cases of stress clash. The results not only supported previous research on this variety that came from read speech tasks (e.g., F0 peaks consistently aligned with the stressed syllable), but also highlighted the importance of using multiple methodologies to gain a more comprehensive understanding of PAS prosody. Specifically, the varied sentence lengths and structures common in spontaneous speech provided new insights into downstepping, final lowering, and stress clash in PAS intonation. Overall, these results contribute to the growing literature on Spanish prosody in shared linguistic spaces and lend support for trends (such as F0 peak alignment) that have been reported in other language contact varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prosody in Shared Linguistic Spaces of the Spanish-Speaking World)
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24 pages, 818 KiB  
Article
Towards a Typology of Zero Aboutness: Expletive A in Fornese and Chiru in Cilentano
by Simone De Cia and Mariangela Cerullo
Languages 2024, 9(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020060 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 989
Abstract
This paper investigates the syntactic–pragmatic behavior of two expletive-like elements, namely a and chiru, in Fornese and Cilentano, two Romance varieties spoken in Northern and Southern Italy, respectively. We argue that a and chiru are not bona fide expletive subjects but discourse-pragmatic [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the syntactic–pragmatic behavior of two expletive-like elements, namely a and chiru, in Fornese and Cilentano, two Romance varieties spoken in Northern and Southern Italy, respectively. We argue that a and chiru are not bona fide expletive subjects but discourse-pragmatic expletives, which mark zero aboutness or the absence of an aboutness referent in an utterance. The investigation of Fornese and Cilentano points towards the existence of a sub-class of null-subject languages where aboutness as a discourse feature must be structurally satisfied by merging an overt or null topic in the syntactic spine of the clause. In the absence of such an element—for example, in thetic clauses—a discourse-pragmatic expletive is externally merged as a last-resort strategy to satisfy [uAboutness]. We argue that, in these null-subject languages, the satisfaction of the discourse feature [uAboutness] is an LF requirement, which is subject to a parametric choice. We show that, in Fornese, “default” [aboutness] is satisfied in SubjP, which is the canonical syntactic position for overt subjects within a cartographic approach. In Cilentano, on the other hand, [aboutness] is satisfied in a higher position within the C-domain, namely ShiftP, the canonical syntactic position that hosts overt aboutness/shift topics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syntax and Discourse at the Crossroads)
31 pages, 2890 KiB  
Article
Kazakhstani Gansu Dungan as a Contact Language: An Analysis of Russian Influence
by Sami Honkasalo
Languages 2024, 9(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020059 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 995
Abstract
This paper discusses extensive language contact and its results in Kazakhstani Gansu Dungan, a divergent variety of Mandarin Chinese. Based primarily on recorded conversational source materials, this study offers a contact linguistic overview of the language, introducing both phonological and morphosyntactic contact phenomena. [...] Read more.
This paper discusses extensive language contact and its results in Kazakhstani Gansu Dungan, a divergent variety of Mandarin Chinese. Based primarily on recorded conversational source materials, this study offers a contact linguistic overview of the language, introducing both phonological and morphosyntactic contact phenomena. It is shown that Kazakhstani Gansu Dungan is currently under extensive Russian influence. The influence permeates all layers of the language and exceeds lexical borrowing mentioned in earlier Dungan studies. For instance, clause combining and complex clauses in Dungan have shifted to the direction of a Russian model, which makes the language stand out among other Sinitic varieties. This study demonstrates that, in addition to introducing new structures, extensive Russian influence on Dungan also reinforces earlier development that has led the language further away from the Sinitic prototype. In all, Kazakhstani Gansu Dungan forms its own kind of divergent Russianized Sinitic variety and thus offers a contribution to both researching language contact in the Russophone world and to understanding the typological diversity of Sinitic languages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Typology of Chinese Languages: One Name, Many Languages)
19 pages, 1839 KiB  
Article
Agreement and Information Structure in Spanish PRO[PL] with-DP
by María Mare
Languages 2024, 9(2), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020058 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 926
Abstract
This paper aims to revisit a construction found in some Spanish varieties which refers to a set constituted by a singular referent and an annex introduced by the item con ‘with’: PRO(noun)[PL] with-DP. This construction triggers plural agreement and can [...] Read more.
This paper aims to revisit a construction found in some Spanish varieties which refers to a set constituted by a singular referent and an annex introduced by the item con ‘with’: PRO(noun)[PL] with-DP. This construction triggers plural agreement and can be doubled by a plural pronoun, indicating that the annex is included in the set to which verbal agreement and the plural pronoun refer. For example, Nosotros con Juan viajamos ayer (literally, ‘We with Juan travelled.1PL yesterday’) means ‘Juan and I travelled yesterday’. We explore the Spanish PRO[PL] with-DP, taking into account its discursive properties together with the syntactic requirements involved in the agreement patterns. In fact, although the two individuals denoted by this construction are involved as equal participants in the event, they have a different discursive status: one of them introduces new information, while the other refers to the immediate communicative situation. If some notions regarding information structure can be coded by binary features such as [+/−anaphor] and [+/−contrast], it is possible to find plurality triggered by the opposite combination of features within the same syntactic object. PRO[PL] with-DP is a possibility that the lexicons of some languages offer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syntax and Discourse at the Crossroads)
48 pages, 18328 KiB  
Article
Basic Intonation Patterns of Galician Spanish
by Susana Pérez Castillejo and Mónica de la Fuente Iglesias
Languages 2024, 9(2), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020057 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 986
Abstract
This paper presents an inventory of pitch accents and boundary tones in Galician Spanish (GS), a variety spoken in Northwestern Spain. Research so far has focused on explaining GS intonation features as transfer phenomena from Galician, the vernacular Romance language in the region. [...] Read more.
This paper presents an inventory of pitch accents and boundary tones in Galician Spanish (GS), a variety spoken in Northwestern Spain. Research so far has focused on explaining GS intonation features as transfer phenomena from Galician, the vernacular Romance language in the region. Because of this, previous studies have often included Galician L1 speakers, for whom transfer is expected when speaking Spanish L2. However, GS is the single L1 of half the children in Galicia, and it is spoken almost exclusively by about a quarter of Galicians. Our study focuses on this population and investigates the relative frequency and distribution of tonal units in GS when direct transfer from Galician is unlikely. A corpus of 1706 sentences (statements, questions, imperatives, and vocatives in neutral and biased contexts) was obtained from 28 participants through a discourse completion task. Results showed that patterns previously attributed to direct transfer from Galician L1 (for example, upstepped final accents in neutral declaratives or falling contours in unmarked interrogatives) are widespread in GS as L1. Findings also show commonalities with other L1 Spanish varieties, both in Europe (for example, L* L% as the unmarked declarative ending) and America (for example, the L* + H prenuclear accent of Caribbean varieties). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prosody in Shared Linguistic Spaces of the Spanish-Speaking World)
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20 pages, 653 KiB  
Article
Preserving Heritage Language in Turkish Families in the USA
by Seyma Inan, Aslihan Nisanci and Yvette Harris
Languages 2024, 9(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020056 - 06 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1280
Abstract
A dearth of research concerning Turkish immigrant families in the United States exists, prompting this study’s focus. This research aims to illuminate the influence of parental language attitudes among Turkish immigrants on their motivation to foster the preservation of their heritage language (HL) [...] Read more.
A dearth of research concerning Turkish immigrant families in the United States exists, prompting this study’s focus. This research aims to illuminate the influence of parental language attitudes among Turkish immigrants on their motivation to foster the preservation of their heritage language (HL) in their children, alongside an exploration of the strategies employed for HL retention. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 parents (16 mothers and 4 fathers), with each interview spanning 15–20 min. The interviews, conducted individually by the primary author in Turkish and later translated into English, unveiled a spectrum of parental language attitudes, impacting their motivation to uphold HL. Variances in motivation were observed, intertwined with factors such as home and community environments, parental acculturation experiences, perceptions regarding the relationship between culture and language, and the perceived advantages of bilingualism for children’s cognitive development and future prospects. Despite differing motivations, all parents expressed a desire to preserve HL, prompting the deployment of diverse Heritage Language Management Strategies (HLMS). This study significantly contributes to the understanding of how parental attitudes shape HL preservation efforts within families, offering insights crucial to the field of HL and family language policy, thereby highlighting implications for practice and further research. Full article
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18 pages, 18056 KiB  
Article
Forensic Audio and Voice Analysis: TV Series Reinforce False Popular Beliefs
by Emmanuel Ferragne, Anne Guyot Talbot, Margaux Cecchini, Martine Beugnet, Emmanuelle Delanoë-Brun, Laurianne Georgeton, Christophe Stécoli, Jean-François Bonastre and Corinne Fredouille
Languages 2024, 9(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020055 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1381
Abstract
People’s perception of forensic evidence is greatly influenced by crime TV series. The analysis of the human voice is no exception. However, unlike fingerprints—with which fiction and popular beliefs draw an incorrect parallel—the human voice varies according to many factors, can be altered [...] Read more.
People’s perception of forensic evidence is greatly influenced by crime TV series. The analysis of the human voice is no exception. However, unlike fingerprints—with which fiction and popular beliefs draw an incorrect parallel—the human voice varies according to many factors, can be altered deliberately, and its potential uniqueness has yet to be proven. Starting with a cursory examination of landmarks in forensic voice analysis that exemplify how the voiceprint fallacy came about and why people think they can recognize people’s voices, we then provide a thorough inspection of over 100 excerpts from TV series. Through this analysis, we seek to characterize the narrative and aesthetic processes that fashion our perception of scientific evidence when it comes to identifying somebody based on voice analysis. These processes converge to exaggerate the reliability of forensic voice analysis. We complement our examination with plausibility ratings of a subset of excerpts. We claim that these biased representations have led to a situation where, even today, one of the main challenges faced by forensic voice specialists is to convince trial jurors, judges, lawyers, and police officers that forensic voice comparison can by no means give the sort of straightforward answers that fingerprints or DNA permit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Challenges in Forensic and Legal Linguistics)
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22 pages, 13375 KiB  
Article
Portuguese and German Intonation Contours in a Two-Way Immersion School
by Catalina Torres
Languages 2024, 9(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020054 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1058
Abstract
This study investigates the intonation contours of neutral yes–no interrogatives produced by simultaneous bilingual children in their two native languages. Previous studies have shown prosodic transfer from one language to another, either from the dominant into the non-dominant language or vice versa, but [...] Read more.
This study investigates the intonation contours of neutral yes–no interrogatives produced by simultaneous bilingual children in their two native languages. Previous studies have shown prosodic transfer from one language to another, either from the dominant into the non-dominant language or vice versa, but little is known about what specifically triggers this behaviour. This study explores how bilingual children make use of phonetic–phonological resources while interacting with peers. Three child speakers of German (ambient language) and Portuguese (heritage language) were recorded as they performed a modified version of a map task. Natural and spontaneous data were collected and the speech was analysed. The results indicate that to some degree, bilingual children produce all intonational contours specific to their language variety. When speaking German, they produced the syntax and contour consistent with the structure of yes–no interrogatives in German. When speaking Portuguese, the children displayed variation in their choice of tune, depending on the variety of Portuguese and the language proficiency of their interlocutor. This behaviour is interpreted as prosodic convergence resulting from the high variability of prosodic structures in the different varieties of Portuguese present in the classroom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prosody and Immigration)
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15 pages, 1317 KiB  
Article
Monitoring Engagement in the Foreign Language Classroom: Learners’ Perspectives
by Bradford J. Lee, Hayo Reinders and Euan Bonner
Languages 2024, 9(2), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020053 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1468
Abstract
Over the last three years, we have engaged in the development of a web-based mobile application called Classmoto that uses the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to measure cognitive, behavioral, and emotional engagement in near real-time, with minimal disruption to the teaching and learning [...] Read more.
Over the last three years, we have engaged in the development of a web-based mobile application called Classmoto that uses the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to measure cognitive, behavioral, and emotional engagement in near real-time, with minimal disruption to the teaching and learning experience. The current study implemented Classmoto in an intact university language class in a Japanese university for an entire semester. We focused on learners’ experiences of using the app for two purposes: (1) to determine its face validity, and (2) to identify any constraints on and benefits from its practical application in an authentic pedagogic context, from the learners’ perspective. The results show that the instrument was able to measure the three sub-domains of engagement, as designed. In addition, participants praised the ESM for (a) giving them an opportunity for self-reflection, and (b) enabling the instructor to react to the students’ feedback instantaneously, with no negative feedback reported. Full article
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19 pages, 2239 KiB  
Article
Regularization and Innovation: A Usage-Based Approach to Past Participle Variation in Brazilian Portuguese
by Kendra V. Dickinson
Languages 2024, 9(2), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020052 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1033
Abstract
This project explores the synchronic variation of participle forms in Brazilian Portuguese (BP). Despite general systematicity, the language maintains many historically irregular participles, which often compete with regularized variants. The language has also developed innovative participles, which tend to exist in variation with [...] Read more.
This project explores the synchronic variation of participle forms in Brazilian Portuguese (BP). Despite general systematicity, the language maintains many historically irregular participles, which often compete with regularized variants. The language has also developed innovative participles, which tend to exist in variation with regular forms. Adopting a usage-based framework, the study examines how analogical processes affect persistent irregular participles and short-form forms in BP, emphasizing the role of grammatical context and frequency. Data are drawn from the Portuguese Web 2011 corpus, including 12 verbs with long-form Latinate irregulars (n = 4800) and 8 verbs with short-form forms (n = 3200). The results show that long-form Latinate irregulars are more common as adjectives and with the verb estar, while regularized forms are prevalent with ser and in perfect constructions. Conversely, short-form participles occur least frequently in perfect constructions, showing a tendency towards the maintenance of regularity in this context. Additionally, verbs that occur more often in perfect constructions are most resistant to innovation. These findings indicate that perfect constructions play a dual role in promoting and preserving regularity in BP and shed light on how grammar–internal relationships and contexts of occurrence play a role in language variation and change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Investigating Language Variation and Change in Portuguese)
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22 pages, 478 KiB  
Article
The Processing of Multiword Units by Learners of English: Evidence from Pause Placement in Writing Process Data
by Gaëtanelle Gilquin
Languages 2024, 9(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020051 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1220
Abstract
Different methods and sources of information have been proposed in the literature to study the processing of language and, in particular, instances of formulaic language such as multiword units. This article explores the possibility of using pause placement in writing process data to [...] Read more.
Different methods and sources of information have been proposed in the literature to study the processing of language and, in particular, instances of formulaic language such as multiword units. This article explores the possibility of using pause placement in writing process data to determine the likelihood that a multiword unit is processed as a whole in the mind. The data are texts produced by learners of English and corresponding keylog files from the Process Corpus of English in Education (PROCEED). N-grams are selected on the basis of the finished texts and retrieved from the keylogging data. The pause placement patterns of these n-grams are coded and serve as a basis to compute the Pause Placement and Processing (PPP) score. This score relies on the assumption that n-grams which are delineated but not interrupted by pauses (hence taking the form of ‘bursts of writing’) are more likely to be processed holistically. The PPP score points to structurally complete n-grams such as in fact and first of all as being more likely to be processed holistically than structurally incomplete n-grams such as that we and to the. While the results are plausible and can be further substantiated by characteristics of specific n-grams, it is acknowledged that additional effects might also be at work to explain the results obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adult and Child Sentence Processing When Reading or Writing)
20 pages, 3745 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Accent Mix Perceptually and Automatically: French Learners of English and the RP–GA Divide
by Emmanuel Ferragne, Anne Guyot Talbot, Hannah King and Sylvain Navarro
Languages 2024, 9(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020050 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1212
Abstract
Acquiring a consistent accent and targeting a native standard like Received Pronunciation (RP) or General American (GA) are prerequisites for French learners who plan to become English teachers in France. Reliable methods to assess learners’ productions are therefore extremely valuable. We recorded a [...] Read more.
Acquiring a consistent accent and targeting a native standard like Received Pronunciation (RP) or General American (GA) are prerequisites for French learners who plan to become English teachers in France. Reliable methods to assess learners’ productions are therefore extremely valuable. We recorded a little over 300 students from our English Studies department and performed auditory analysis to investigate their accents and determine how close to native models their productions were. Inter-rater comparisons were carried out; they revealed overall good agreement scores which, however, varied across phonetic cues. Then, automatic speech recognition (ASR) and automatic accent identification (AID) were applied to the data. We provide exploratory interpretations of the ASR outputs, and show to what extent they agree with and complement our auditory ratings. AID turns out to be very consistent with our perception, and both types of measurements show that two thirds of our students favour an American, and the remaining third, a British pronunciation, although most of them have mixed features from the two accents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Speech Analysis and Tools in L2 Pronunciation Acquisition)
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12 pages, 330 KiB  
Article
Complementizer Agreement and the Licensing of DPs: An Account in Terms of Referential Anchoring
by Roland Hinterhölzl
Languages 2024, 9(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020049 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 956
Abstract
In this paper, I argue that the phenomenon of complementizer agreement in West Germanic and the distribution of DPs in German can be given a common explanation in terms of an approach in which context values are not freely assigned via an interpretive [...] Read more.
In this paper, I argue that the phenomenon of complementizer agreement in West Germanic and the distribution of DPs in German can be given a common explanation in terms of an approach in which context values are not freely assigned via an interpretive function operation, as is assumed in standard accounts of formal semantics, but rather, they become accessible in a specific functional head in the C-domain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syntax and Discourse at the Crossroads)
9 pages, 322 KiB  
Editorial
An Introduction to the Special Issue “Syntax-Phonology Interface and Recursivity”
by Caroline Féry, Ingo Feldhausen and Frank Kügler
Languages 2024, 9(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020048 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1033
Abstract
The last decades have seen a renewed interest in the algorithms relating syntactic and prosodic structure since the ban on recursivity that had been prevalent in phonology for a long time was relaxed; see for instance Selkirk (2011) and Elfner (2012) for the [...] Read more.
The last decades have seen a renewed interest in the algorithms relating syntactic and prosodic structure since the ban on recursivity that had been prevalent in phonology for a long time was relaxed; see for instance Selkirk (2011) and Elfner (2012) for the Match constraints and Ito and Mester (2009, 2013) for the recursivity of the prosodic structure [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phonology-Syntax Interface and Recursivity)
24 pages, 5310 KiB  
Article
Validation in Forensic Text Comparison: Issues and Opportunities
by Shunichi Ishihara, Sonia Kulkarni, Michael Carne, Sabine Ehrhardt and Andrea Nini
Languages 2024, 9(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020047 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1366
Abstract
It has been argued in forensic science that the empirical validation of a forensic inference system or methodology should be performed by replicating the conditions of the case under investigation and using data relevant to the case. This study demonstrates that the above [...] Read more.
It has been argued in forensic science that the empirical validation of a forensic inference system or methodology should be performed by replicating the conditions of the case under investigation and using data relevant to the case. This study demonstrates that the above requirement for validation is also critical in forensic text comparison (FTC); otherwise, the trier-of-fact may be misled for their final decision. Two sets of simulated experiments are performed: one fulfilling the above validation requirement and the other overlooking it, using mismatch in topics as a case study. Likelihood ratios (LRs) are calculated via a Dirichlet-multinomial model, followed by logistic-regression calibration. The derived LRs are assessed by means of the log-likelihood-ratio cost, and they are visualized using Tippett plots. Following the experimental results, this paper also attempts to describe some of the essential research required in FTC by highlighting some central issues and challenges unique to textual evidence. Any deliberations on these issues and challenges will contribute to making a scientifically defensible and demonstrably reliable FTC available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Challenges in Forensic and Legal Linguistics)
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36 pages, 957 KiB  
Article
Explorations in Aromanian Morpho-Syntax: NPs, Prepositional Contexts and Infinitives
by Leonardo Maria Savoia and Benedetta Baldi
Languages 2024, 9(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020046 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1097
Abstract
The main topic of this article is the relationship between morphosyntactic contexts and nominal inflections in Aromanian varieties of southern Albania. These varieties have a specialized inflection in the plural definite and feminine singular nouns, associated with genitive, dative, and prepositional contexts, where [...] Read more.
The main topic of this article is the relationship between morphosyntactic contexts and nominal inflections in Aromanian varieties of southern Albania. These varieties have a specialized inflection in the plural definite and feminine singular nouns, associated with genitive, dative, and prepositional contexts, where it is preceded by a Possessive Introducer. We present a detailed picture of the microvariation that characterizes the different systems. The broad syncretism that emerges suggests a rethinking of the syntactic status of inflections and the notion of Case. Our approach assumes that morphology is based on Merge within the syntactic computation and that sub-word elements are provided with interpretable content. This theoretical model will also guide us in the study of prepositions and their distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formal Studies in Balkan Romance Languages)
30 pages, 2427 KiB  
Article
The Role of Language Experience in the Acquisition of Spanish Gender Agreement: A Study with Nonce Nouns
by Silvina Montrul, Sara Ann Mason and Andrew Armstrong
Languages 2024, 9(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020045 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1370
Abstract
Why is learning the gender of nouns so difficult for some bilinguals? We test the hypothesis that different language learning backgrounds or life experience with Spanish determine how learners follow different morphosyntactic cues for gender assignment in Spanish by testing learners with early [...] Read more.
Why is learning the gender of nouns so difficult for some bilinguals? We test the hypothesis that different language learning backgrounds or life experience with Spanish determine how learners follow different morphosyntactic cues for gender assignment in Spanish by testing learners with early and late language experience in an experiment with invented nouns. A total of 44 monolingually raised native speakers, 44 heritage speakers, and 44 L2 learners of Spanish were trained to learn 24 nonce words in Spanish presented in four input conditions that manipulated the number and type of cues to gender marking (determiner, word marker, adjective). After the learning sessions, the participants completed a word naming task, an elicited production task, and a debriefing questionnaire. The L2 learners were different than native speakers and heritage speakers in learning nonce nouns. They used morphosyntactic cues differently, relying on adjectives as their most-used strategy to assign gender, unlike native speakers and heritage speakers who used all cues. Our findings confirm processing differences between L2 learners and heritage speakers and suggest language learning background determines how learners discover reliable morphosyntactic cues to the gender of nouns in the input. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Approaches to the Acquisition of Heritage Spanish)
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21 pages, 423 KiB  
Article
The Orientation of Evidentials in Attitude Contexts: A Case Study Based on Narratives in Paraguayan Guarani
by Roumyana Pancheva and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta
Languages 2024, 9(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020044 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1075
Abstract
This paper examines the orientation of evidentials in complements of attitude verbs, with Paraguayan Guarani evidential ra’e as a case study. It argues that embedded evidentials can be directed either towards the speaker or towards a matrix attitude-holder argument (e.g., the subject of [...] Read more.
This paper examines the orientation of evidentials in complements of attitude verbs, with Paraguayan Guarani evidential ra’e as a case study. It argues that embedded evidentials can be directed either towards the speaker or towards a matrix attitude-holder argument (e.g., the subject of the attitude verb) and that a syntactic representation of the evidence-acquisition event, with its pronominal subject, in the lower end of the CP field, is well-poised to capture this potential ambiguity. Language-particular properties can also play a determining role in the orientation of the embedded evidential, as is the case of the subordinator ha in Paraguayan Guarani. It is argued that this subordinator requires the presence of a Complementizer specified with a (strong) Modal component (which encodes certainty/commitment on the part of the attitude holder with respect to the embedded proposition) and that this property biases the orientation of ra’e towards the matrix attitude-holder argument. Full article
27 pages, 2580 KiB  
Article
Semantic Network Development in L2 Spanish and Its Impact on Processing Skills: A Multisession Eye-Tracking Study
by M. Gabriela Puscama
Languages 2024, 9(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020043 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1381
Abstract
The goal of this project was to explore how different types of vocabulary exposure shape the connections formed in the L2 lexicon and how these, in turn, affect L2 language processing. During L2 acquisition, words are often presented in thematic lists (e.g., food [...] Read more.
The goal of this project was to explore how different types of vocabulary exposure shape the connections formed in the L2 lexicon and how these, in turn, affect L2 language processing. During L2 acquisition, words are often presented in thematic lists (e.g., food), favoring a lexicon organized by shared features (burger-hot dog). However, thematic lists offer only a partial picture of how words interconnect. For example, beer and football do not share any features and do not belong strictly to the same theme (food and sports, respectively); still, they co-occur frequently and are associated in the lexicon. A multisession training study and visual world eye-tracking tests were conducted to assess how different types of vocabulary exposure impact L2 processing. Intermediate L2 Spanish learners were trained under one of two conditions, thematic lists (TL, as in textbooks) or words presented in visual scenes (VS) with vocabulary related by co-occurrence. The VS group showed significant changes in their gaze patterns, resembling the naturalistic exposure baseline group (native speakers), more than the TL group. The results are interpreted in light of the anticipatory processing literature and the strength of representations as a result of naturalistic vs. formal exposure to L2 vocabulary. Full article
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19 pages, 4542 KiB  
Article
How Relevant Is the Sentence Unit to Accessing Implicit Meaning?
by Céline Pozniak, Claire Beyssade, Laurent Roussarie and Béatrice Godart-Wendling
Languages 2024, 9(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020042 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1273
Abstract
This paper examines the relevance of the sentence concept to the understanding of three types of implicitness (presupposition, conversational implicatures, irony). Our experimental protocol involved 105 children (aged 6 to 11) and 82 adults who were asked to read short texts composed of [...] Read more.
This paper examines the relevance of the sentence concept to the understanding of three types of implicitness (presupposition, conversational implicatures, irony). Our experimental protocol involved 105 children (aged 6 to 11) and 82 adults who were asked to read short texts composed of a context about some characters and a target sentence conveying one of the three implicit contents. After reading, children and adults had to answer a comprehension yes-no question and indicate the segments from the text that helped them answer the question. Results showed a difference between the three types of implicitness, with presupposition being detected and understood at a subsentential level, whereas implicatures and irony come under extrasentential level requiring the context to be taken into account. Referring to sentence as a unit of meaning does not seem relevant as soon as understanding is not limited to the literal meaning of what is written, but also concerns what is meant by the text. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adult and Child Sentence Processing When Reading or Writing)
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21 pages, 2699 KiB  
Article
Spanish Loyalty and English Prestige in the Linguistic Landscape of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
by Natalia Mazzaro, Natalia Minjarez Oppenheimer and Raquel González de Anda
Languages 2024, 9(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020041 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1268
Abstract
Linguistic landscape (LL) studies in bilingual regions can reveal power dynamics between two languages, providing important information regarding their status and vitality. To analyze the relationship between Spanish and English in Ciudad Juárez, a city on the south side of the U.S.-Mexico border, [...] Read more.
Linguistic landscape (LL) studies in bilingual regions can reveal power dynamics between two languages, providing important information regarding their status and vitality. To analyze the relationship between Spanish and English in Ciudad Juárez, a city on the south side of the U.S.-Mexico border, we collected 1649 pictures of public signs in several sections of the city, whose “wellness levels” differ from each other. Pictures were coded for several factors, including language choice, business type, sign type, and the main and informative section, amongst others. Results show that while Spanish is the most frequently used language, English has a strong presence in the LL of Ciudad Juárez. The main factor affecting language choice is “business type”. Certain businesses within the “beauty” category tend to favor the use of English, while businesses within the “home” category favor the use of Spanish. An analysis of socio-economic status (SES) and language choice revealed a direct relationship between them: English is favored in high-income neighborhoods, while Spanish is favored used in low-income areas. The analysis of the main and informative sections on signs further confirmed the prestige assigned to English, which appears mostly in the main and most prominent sections of a sign. Our research shows that although Spanish vitality in Ciudad Juárez is strong, English is used in advertising because it is prestigious and increases the value of products and services, making them more appealing to shoppers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Language Contact in Borderlands)
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26 pages, 4172 KiB  
Article
Referential Salience in French and Mandarin Chinese: Influence of Syntactic, Semantic and Textual Factors
by Jiaqi Hou and Frédéric Landragin
Languages 2024, 9(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020040 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1207
Abstract
In this article, we propose a multifactorial approach to salience analysis, examining the influence of five factors on the salience of referential entities in discourse. Significance tests and Cramer’s V tests were conducted to analyze textual data obtained through manual annotation of four [...] Read more.
In this article, we propose a multifactorial approach to salience analysis, examining the influence of five factors on the salience of referential entities in discourse. Significance tests and Cramer’s V tests were conducted to analyze textual data obtained through manual annotation of four text excerpts in French and in Chinese. The results show that almost all the factors have a significant influence on referents’ salience (except the animacy factor in one of the excerpts). While it seems difficult to predict a fixed ranking of salience factors, which depends more on textual characteristics than on differences between the two languages, the different values of each factor under investigation show an identical behavior in terms of the positive/negative contribution to salience. The results also suggest that some factors (syntactic function and syntactic parallelism) may have a more stable influence on referents’ salience than other factors (animacy, mobility, and main character), potentially constrained by textual properties such as the main character’s nature, its number of occurrences, and the possible existence of competing protagonists. Full article
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12 pages, 1364 KiB  
Article
An Investigation into the Effects of Structured Input, Referential Activities, and Affective Activities on the Acquisition of English Causative Forms
by Zhihui Zhong and Alessandro Giovanni Benati
Languages 2024, 9(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020039 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 999
Abstract
The present study was conducted to investigate the relative effect of structured input, referential activities, and affective activities on the acquisition of English causative forms. The processing of English causative structures is hindered by The First Noun Principle. Forty-one school-age Chinese learners of [...] Read more.
The present study was conducted to investigate the relative effect of structured input, referential activities, and affective activities on the acquisition of English causative forms. The processing of English causative structures is hindered by The First Noun Principle. Forty-one school-age Chinese learners of English as a second language were assigned to three treatment groups: (1) Structured input group; (2) Referential-only group; (3) Affective-only group. This classroom-based study adopted a pretest-posttest design. The test in the study assessed the interpretation and production of the target feature at the sentence level. Results showed that the structured input group, and the referential-only group made significant improvements in both the interpretation and production of English causative structure, while the affective-only group yielded almost no learning gains from pre-test to post-test. Full article
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23 pages, 3424 KiB  
Article
Constructing Meaning: Historical Changes in mihi est and habeo Constructions in Romanian
by Mihaela Ilioaia
Languages 2024, 9(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020038 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 983
Abstract
In this article, I address the evolution of the competition between two Latin patterns, habeo and mihi est, in Romanian. As opposed to the other Romance languages, which replace the mihi est pattern with habeo in possessor and experiencer contexts, Romanian maintains both [...] Read more.
In this article, I address the evolution of the competition between two Latin patterns, habeo and mihi est, in Romanian. As opposed to the other Romance languages, which replace the mihi est pattern with habeo in possessor and experiencer contexts, Romanian maintains both Latin patterns. The general evolution of these patterns in the Romance languages is well known, however, a detailed usage-based account is currently lacking. Building on the theoretical findings on the role of functional competition in linguistic change, the rivalry between the two patterns in Romanian has already been argued to have settled in terms of differentiation, with each of the two forms specializing in different functional domains by Vangaever and Ilioaia in 2021 in their study “Specialisation through competition: habeo vs. mihi est from Latin to Romanian“. With this idea as a starting point, I investigate, by means of a diachronic corpus study, whether the dynamics in the inventory of state nouns occurring in these constructions can affect their evolution and productivity. The preliminary results show that this is indeed the case. Concomitantly, I explore whether the historical changes that the two patterns have undergone over the centuries can be described in terms of grammaticalization, constructionalization, or in terms of constructional change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Grammaticalization across Languages, Levels and Frameworks)
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23 pages, 2547 KiB  
Article
Microvariation at the Interfaces: The Subject of Predication of Broad Focus VS Constructions in Turinese and Milanese
by Delia Bentley and Francesco Maria Ciconte
Languages 2024, 9(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages9020037 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1109
Abstract
Presentational constructions, i.e., structures which introduce an event into the universe of discourse, raise the question of what it means for a predication to be entirely new in information structural terms. While there is growing consensus that these constructions are not topicless, there [...] Read more.
Presentational constructions, i.e., structures which introduce an event into the universe of discourse, raise the question of what it means for a predication to be entirely new in information structural terms. While there is growing consensus that these constructions are not topicless, there is no agreement on how to analyse their topic. The Romance languages of Northern Italy have figured prominently in this debate because the presentational constructions of many such languages exhibit VS order and an etymologically locative clitic in subject clitic position. This clitic has been claimed to be a subject of predication in a syntactic subject position. Adducing primary comparative evidence from Milanese and Turinese, we discuss patterns of microvariation which suggest that the etymologically locative clitic need not be a syntactic subject and can mark an aboutness topic provided by the discourse situation alone. We propose a parallel-architecture, Role and Reference Grammar account whereby the microvariation under scrutiny is captured in terms of the interfaces that are involved in the parsing of utterances. This account considers discourse to be an independent module of grammar, which, alongside the semantic and syntactic modules, is directly involved in linguistic variation and change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Syntax and Discourse at the Crossroads)
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