Rice Working Papers in Linguistics, volume 1

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Rice Working Papers in Linguistics is an annual working papers produced by the Rice Linguistics Society (RLS) in the linguistics department at Rice University.

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Now showing 1 - 16 of 16
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    Do psychological constructions in Persian involve complex predicates?
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Sedighi, Anousha; Linguistics Department
    Constructions introduced in this work have been introduced as Impersonal/Subject-less in the Persian literature involving compound verbs. I explore them from the point of view of Psychological constructions and show that they do not involve compound verbs. I capture properties of Persian psychological constructions by proposing that they contain a Tense requirement and involve Applied Arguments. I depart from previous works (Pylkkänen 2000, 2002) which argue that applicative heads can take only a vP or a DP as complement. I propose a new category of Applicative head, Super High Applicative head, which takes a TP (a full proposition) as complement. Constructions studied in this work provide further evidence for the divorce of nominative licensing and verbal agreement proposed by Haeberli (2002), Pesetsky and Torrego (2001, 2004, 2007) and Svenonius (2001), among others.
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    Prototypes and hyperspeech: Where are they in the grammar?
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Välimaa-Blum, Riitta; Linguistics Department
    If languages are fundamentally symbolic systems, as it is assumed in cognitive linguistics, then it follows that what speakers learn in the course of language acquisition are symbolic systems. It is not unequivocally established that linguistically untrained speakers even have spontaneously emerging awareness of meaningless entities like the phonemes (Liberman et al. 1980, Lotto and Holt 2000, Port and Leary 2005, Read et al. 1986, Välimaa-Blum in press). In this paper, I will argue (i) that knowledge of individual phonemes and their prototypes is metalinguistic, (ii) that the hyperspeech variants of words constitute their prototypes, and (iii) that these should be explicitly represented in the grammar. Lakoff (1993) reintroduces three levels into cognitive phonology - morpheme, word and utterance levels, which I interpret in an exemplar-theoretical framework as representing three kinds of knowledge that speakers must have of the phonology and morpholexicon of their language. The morpheme level contains an exemplar-based lexicon with all the non-automatic allomorphy and word formation principles, the word level articulates the hyperspeech forms of isolated words, and the utterance level spells out the stochastically varying hypospeech shapes of the same in continuous speech. Phonologies only having an abstract 'underlying' level and a phonetic surface have no place for the hyperspeech forms, which, however, are cognitively real to speakers. In cognitive views, the prototypes of phonemes, and hence of words as well, tend to be schematic (Langacker 1987, Mompeán-González 2004, Nathan 1996, 2006, 2007, Taylor 2003), and consequently they are never instantiated as such. I consider it unlikely that a purely abstract, non-instantiated sound shape be the prototype of a category, just as unlikely as it would be for frequency to establish them. If we accept the distinct word and utterance levels, we introduce a specific point in the grammar - the word level - that spells out the hyper-articulated, best exemplars of words.
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    Cognition, categorization and language: Cognitive Grammar meets Vantage Theory
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Głaz, Adam; Linguistics Department
    Cognitive linguistics becomes more credible if it gains support from independent research on cognition. The study juxtaposes a cognitive linguistic model, Ronald W. Langacker's Cognitive Grammar (CG), with a model of categorization, primarily in the color domain, called Vantage Theory (VT), proposed by Robert E. MacLaury. The study shows that in spite of different goals and scopes of application, as well as terminological differences, the two models are congruous. Moreover, they yield parallel results when applied in analyses of language data, although VT must be adapted for the purpose. The congruence results from the cognitive basis of both CG and VT, with common ground to be found in the broadly explored notions of figure vs. ground, point of view, subject-oriented nature of meaning, and active role of the conceptualizer.
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    Homorganic NC sequences in Kibena: Pre-nasalized consonants, consonant clusters, or something else?
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Morrison, Michelle; Linguistics Department
    In Bantu linguistics, one topic of great debate concerns the segmental status of homorganic NC sequences. Traditionally, on the basis of durational properties, the phonological behavior of such segments, and native speaker syllabification, such sequences are considered to be prenasalized consonants. More recently Downing (2005) has taken the opposite position, arguing instead that NC sequences in Bantu languages should be treated as clusters. In this paper I present an analysis of NC sequences in Kibena, a Bantu language spoken in southern Tanzania. I consider acoustic duration, syllable structure, distribution, and native speaker intuitions about syllabification and conclude that these sequences are best treated as single segments in Kibena, rather than as a series of two distinct segments.
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    The typology of motion verbs in Northern Vietnamese
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Pace, Cassandra; Linguistics Department
    Talmy's (1985) seminal work on motion verbs categorized languages as either verb-framed or satellite-framed depending on how the core schema 'motion' is mapped onto an expression. However, Vietnamese has motion verbs that appear to function both as verb-framed and as satellite-framed. Furthermore, there is a tendency for expressions involving motion in Vietnamese to involve serial verb constructions. This in particular results in ambiguous utterances for semantic typology, because it is difficult to interpret post-verbal components as verbs or satellites. Here, the cases for both verb-framed and satellite-framed analyses are presented, and diachronous change and coverbs are discussed as ways to ultimately argue that Vietnamese is a satellite-framed language.
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    Diachrony of complex predicates in Japanese
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Lanz, Linda A.; Linguistics Department
    This paper examines two types of complex predicates in Japanese from a diachronic perspective. The two-fold purpose is bring more diachronic data into the dialogue on complex predicates and to evaluate the claim by Butt and Lahiri (1998) that light verb constructions are diachronically stable. Using Japanese data it is possible to test this hypothesis. While the serial verb construction has become more restricted with time, over the centuries the light verb construction [N(-ACC) suru] has remained stable and become dramatically more frequent. Using natural written data rather than constructed examples, I demonstrate that in previous stages of Japanese - namely Old Japanese and Classical Japanese - the SVC had fewer restrictions on internal order, transitivity mismatches were possible, and motion verb grammaticalization was less developed than Modern Standard Japanese. In contrast, the suru-type light verb construction has undergone no significant changes in any attested stage of Japanese other than increase in token frequency.
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    The syntax of hybrid verb/affix lexemes and clause fusion in Hiaki (Yaqui)
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Haugen, Jason; Harley, Heidi; Tubino Blanco, Mercedes; Linguistics Department
    We argue that verb/affix hybrids in Hiaki (Yaqui) are subject to the same conditions on clause fusion (Rude 1996) as 'pure' affixal verbs in spite of their different distributional behavior. We show that all verbs involved in V-V affixation under clause fusion undergo VP embedding, rather than TP embedding, whether they also have a morphologically free use or are obligatorily bound. This results in one case domain, but two binding domains, which shows clause binding sensitivity to VP and nominative case assignment at TP. The ability of these hybrids to occur in affixal 'clause fusion' structures, as well as to appear as free main verbs embedding an independent clause, is unusual, and enables us to investigate the conditions on V-V incorporation. As Guerrero Valenzuela (2004) points out, such verbs may show incipient grammaticalization.
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    Applicative constructions and suppletive verbs in Hiaki
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Haugen, Jason; Tubino Blanco, Mercedes; Harley, Heidi; Linguistics Department
    Several intransitive verbs of motion or posture in Hiaki exhibit verb-stem suppletion conditioned by the number of the subject. There are also a few suppletive transitive verbs conditioned by the number of the object. We argue in this paper that suppletion in these verb roots is triggered only by underlying objects, and that the intransitive members of this class of verbs are unaccusative. To show this, we exploit the properties of the Hiaki applicative morpheme, which is productive with any agentive verb, transitive or intransitive, but may not occur with verbs with the general properties of unaccusative verbs. We show that the intransitive suppletive verbs may not co-occur with the applicative/benefactive morpheme -ria, despite the fact that several of them are apparently semantically/pragmatically appropriate as potential benefactive actions.
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    Negation in Metta
    (Rice University, 2009) Mihas, Elena; Linguistics Department
    Recent typological studies of clausal negation not only focus on the basic standard negation strategies that languages use to negate declarative verbal main clauses but also discuss typology of asymmetric negation in declaratives. Asymmetric negatives may have changes in the form of the lexical verb, tense and aspect marking or other clausal modifications while symmetric negatives differ from the affirmatives only due to the addition of (a) negative marker(s). Here it is shown that asymmetric negatives in Metta (Narrow Grassfields Bantu), similar to a majority of other languages, include modifications of the perfective forms; symmetric negative constructions are prevalent, another cross-linguistically common phenomenon in negation. This paper supports findings of cross-linguistic studies on negation by showing that Metta extends its standard negation strategy to other environments such as subordinate, existential, locative, possessive, and non-verbal clauses but uses non-standard negation strategy in imperatives.
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    Reported speech and thought in Kavalan
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Jiang, Haowen; Linguistics Department
    One of the amazing characteristics of human language is self-reference, that is, referring to itself by means of itself. This language-with-language phenomenon is most evident in reported discourse, where speech, thought, and perception tend to be interconnected. Hence, this paper investigates reported speech (RS) and reported thought (RT) in Kavalan, an endangered Austronesian language, by focusing on the quotative marker zin, which frames either a speech event or a mental event. Based on our present corpus, it is found that in narratives reported speech is nearly twice as frequent as reported thought, with instances of reported speech almost exclusively framed by third person pronouns. In conversations, however, the situation is reversed, namely, reported thought is twice more frequent than reported speech, with instances of reported thought almost exclusively framed by first person pronouns. Our study shows that self-report of thought is the norm in conversations while other-report of speech is predominant in narratives.
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    Scoring a hat trick: Nation, football, and critical discourse analysis
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Georgalou, Mariza; Linguistics Department
    Media sport constitutes a significant arena within which discourses about national identities are continually articulated (Blain et al. 1993). This study analyses the football commentaries of the matches in which the Greek national football team competed during Euro 2004. Its focus is on the discursive means that the sportscasters deployed with a view to constructing a national identity that promoted unification and solidarity amongst the audience. In parallel, it explores how the representatives of this national collectivity, i.e., the footballers, their coach and the fans, were depicted. Adopting a discourse-historical framework (Reisigl and Wodak 2001, Wodak et al. 1999), it becomes evident that the sportscasters show great support for their home team forging points of identification with the audience (Blain et al. 1993). In doing so, they confirm the ideological power that media sport has in generating, reinforcing and disseminating national identities.
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    Contrastive rhetoric of English and Persian written texts: Metadiscourse in applied linguistics research articles
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Rahimpour, Sepideh; Faghih, Esmail; Linguistics Department
    The present study examines a corpus of ninety discussion sections of applied linguistics research articles, with the goal of analyzing different aspects of academic written discourse. Three types of texts were considered: English texts written by native speakers of English, English texts written by Iranians (as non-natives of English), and Persian texts written by Iranians. In order to understand the cultural differences between Persian and English-speaking researchers, the following metadiscourse sub-types adapted from Hyland's (2004) model were examined: transitions, frame markers, endophoric markers, evidentials, code glosses, hedges, boosters, attitude markers, engagement markers, and self-mentions. The first five comprise interactive metadiscourse, and the rest comprise interactional metadiscourse. After the detailed analysis of the metadiscourse types in question, chi-square tests were carried out to clarify the probable differences. The analysis revealed how academic writings of these groups differed in their rhetorical strategies using metadiscourse type because of their respective mother tongues. However, the different groups were found to use all sub-types of metadiscourse. Yet, some subcategories were used differently by the writers of these two languages. In addition, interactive metadiscoursal factors (those resources which help to guide the reader through the text such as transitions, frame markers, etc.) were used significantly more than interactional metadiscoursal factors (those resources involve the reader in the argument such as hedges, boosters, etc.) by both groups.
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    Here's a structure that's not so simple: Revisiting the acquisition of relative clauses
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Duffield, Cecily Jill; Linguistics Department
    This study revisits the construction-based incremental account of relative clause acquisition presented in Diessel and Tomasello (2005) by reexamining the subset of presentational relative constructions (PRCs) from their data. I demonstrate that trends of incremental development within this construction rely on the assumption that "amalgams" ("That's my doggy turn around,") are precursors to standard PRC forms ("That's my doggy that turns around.") I argue that amalgams are not related to PRCs in terms of form or function, and that once amalgams are removed from this data set, no patterns of incremental development appear in children's PRC productions. The results suggest that in order to maintain a constructional view of relative clause acquisition, a wider range of forms and functions must be considered.
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    Defining complexity: Historical reconstruction and Nyulnyulan subordination
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Bowern, Claire; Linguistics Department
    I use data from subordination strategies in Nyulnyulan languages (Non-Pama-Nyungan, Northern Australia) in order to investigate various alternative means of defining and quantifying 'complexity'. While Edmonds (1999) defines 48 distinct types of complexity (concentrating on social and natural sciences), in this paper I concentrate on three facets of complexity: descriptive complexity, ontological complexity, and parsimony in reconstruction. While historical linguists tend to maximise parsimony, in Nyulnyulan languages the minimization of one aspect of complexity necessarily adds complication elsewhere, and it therefore serves as an appropriate case study of the interdependencies between ontology, syntactic modelling, and language change.
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    Narrative and past habitual sequences in Hausa
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Abdoulaye, Mahamane L.; Linguistics Department
    Based on the overall properties of narratives, Wald (1987) has proposed that past habitual sequences are conflated narratives and are only minimally different from single-event sequences. The aim of this paper is to test this minimal difference analysis in light of two later studies of Hausa discourse (Brye 1991, Cain 1991) that focus on the structure and peak-marking features of narratives. Using the autobiographical story Yarintata (My Childhood) by Moussa-Aghali (2000) as its main data source, this paper shows that the peak-marking features found in typical narrative sequences are also found marking peaks in past habitual sequences, so that Wald's (1987) analysis can indeed be maintained.
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    volume 1 front matter
    (Rice University, 2009-02-11) Rice Linguistics Society; Linguistics Department
Copyright for all articles in the working papers lies with their respective authors.