20 research outputs found

    Pitch Height vs. Contour in Tonal Perception in Fuzhou

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    The Interaction of Tones and Vowels in Fuzhou

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    On ergativity in Bumthang

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    This report investigates the uses of the ergative case marker in transitive clauses in Bumthang, a language of Central Bhutan. We discuss the conditions under which the ergative is required and show that a simple analysis involving multiple influences models the data. Previous studies have shown that variable case marking may be determined by syntactic, semantic, or pragmatic factors, but in Bumthang we see that all of these factors play a role in determining the use of the ergative case marker.We hope that our analysis will prove useful for understanding the variable uses of the ergative case marker in Himalayan and other languages as well as providing interesting challenges for formal models of case markin

    The role of contour and phonation in Fuzhou tonal identification

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    This paper examines the role that a change in phonation and a slight contour in fundamental frequency (F0) have for the perception of the three phonologically level tones in the Fuzhou variety of Chinese. An experiment was devised whereby synthetic tokens with modified F0 heights were included among natural tokens and presented to native listeners who were asked to identify specific words from a given set when they heard them. The results of the experiment show that both phonation and slight F0 rise/fall are significant factors for the correct identification of the ´┐Żlevel´┐Ż tones in Fuzhou. This paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the significance of these so-called ´┐Żsecondary cues´┐Ż for phonology

    The case of possessors and 'subjects'

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    Possessors have often been treated as the ´┐Żsubjects´┐Ż of the DPs in which they appear, being analyzed as surfacing in [spec, DP] by analogy to the standard analysis for clausal subjects in a configurational framework of grammar. In this paper, we present a new descriptive generalization showing that there is in fact much variation in the coding of genitive phrases, and that the simple equation of subjects to possessors fails to capture the range of variation attested cross-linguistically. Examining a broad selection of Austronesian languages, we conclude that an understanding of the systemic oppositions in a particular language is essential to understanding the syncretisms found in that language and that while the subject/possessor syncretisms are widespread, the only clear generalization that can be drawn about possessors in Austronesian is that they are marked using the ´┐Żdefault´┐Ż case marker

    Towards an understanding of dative objects in Basque: a logistic regression analysis

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    Most work on case marking has focussed on the standard or 'default' case patterns, however more recent work has examined the marginal instances where non-standard cases are used to mark core grammatical relations. In this paper I investigate the use of logistic regression as a tool for validating competing analyses proposed to account for one such case pattern in Basque: transitive clauses where the object bears dative case. Several explanations for this dative marking have been proposed, appealing to notions such as telicity, animacy, and the 'person' of the subject/object. To evaluate these different proposals a database of naturally occurring sentences was created from existing corpora and coded for these different possible variables. Following Bresnan et al (In: Bouma G, Kraemer I, Zwarts J (eds) Cognitive foundations of interpretation. Royal Netherlands Academy of Science, Amsterdam, 2007) and others, a logistic regression model was fit to the data using these predictor variables to ascertain the most important factors determining the use of the dative case for Basque objects

    Morphological case

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