Bill Forshaw, Lucinda Davidson, Barbara Kelly, Rachel Nordlinger, Gillian Wigglesworth, and Joe Blythe
This chapter reports on initial findings of an ongoing large-scale research project into the acquisition of Murrinhpatha, a polysynthetic language of the Daly River region of the Northern Territory of Australia with complex morphology. The complex verbal structures in Murrinhpatha, which can contain a large number of morphemes and bipartite stem morphology discontinuously distributed throughout the verbal template, raise a multitude of questions for acquisition. In this chapter we focus particularly on the acquisition of the complex predicate system in the verb, and the acquisition of subject-marking categories and tense/aspect/mood. Our findings are based on the language development of five Murrinhpatha acquiring children aged from 2;7–4;11 years.
Although Chinese adverbs share enough grammatical and semantic features to form a category, they nonetheless display some contradictory variations. Unity and heterogeneity thus both characterize Chinese adverbs as one category. This chapter first offers an overview of morphosyntactic and semantic issues concerning Chinese adverbs: the kinds of head that adverbs modify, the word order of adverbs in relation to their semantics, the relationship between adjectives and adverbs, and the morphology of adverbs. There are several types of Chinese adverbs, that is, temporal, degree, negation, scope, and stance adverbs. Each type is introduced with examples showing its characteristic properties. Finally, some frequently used adverbs in speech and writing are highlighted for their versatile functions when combined with other words or constructions.
Yakov Testelets and Yury A. Lander
Adyghe, a polysynthetic language of the West Caucasian family, shows the typological characteristics of ergativity, left-branching word order, and the flexibility of the lexical categories. Its word has a high degree of morphological complexity and consists of five ordered morphological zones, within which the order of affixes can vary, and recursion is possible. The information encoded in the predicate includes the argument structure, causation, and various aspectual and modal characteristics. Many meanings can be expressed, either with a combination of morphemes, or a combination of words, or with both simultaneously. There are structural asymmetries at the clause level and the principle C violations in cross-clausal syntax—the phenomenon that has been recorded also in many polysynthetic languages of America.
African American English in the Mississippi Delta: A Case Study of Copula Absence and r-Lessness in the Speech of African American Women in Coahoma County
The chapter presents a quantitative analysis of copula absence and /r/-lessness of African American English (AAE) by African American women in Coahoma County located in the Mississippi Delta. The results of the current quantitative study show that (1) there is a connection between Coahoma County AAE and older, diasporic AAE varieties and English-based Caribbean creoles through the analysis of copula absence; (2) there are statistical differences in the production of the two features based on the women’s township; and (3) the educational level of the women and of their parent(s) plays a role in the production of both features.
Renée A. Blake, Cara Shousterman, and Luiza Newlin-Lukowicz
The ever-increasing numbers of second generation West Indian Americans affects the ethnic landscape and raises the question of what is African American Language in New York City today? In this chapter, we examine the English spoken by children of Black West Indian immigrants to New York City and their African American counterparts. The results of this research point to a similar linguistic repertoire for both groups of Black New Yorkers, with subtleties evident at the quantitative level. While both groups are quite /r/-ful, Caribbean American-identified Blacks have higher rates of /r/-fulness than African American-identified Blacks. Moreover, while both groups show the tensing and raising of /ɔ/ typically associated with New York City, there are differences in the length of the off-glide. Finally, while the realization of /oʊ/ is closer to a New York realization than the Caribbean Creole English varieties, off-glide differences exist between the two groups.
Jennifer Bloomquist and Shelome Gooden
This chapter examines variation in the North Midlands African American Language (AAL) varieties in Pittsburgh and the Lower Susquehanna Valley (LSV). The focus is on phonological/phonetic, lexical, and to a lesser extent syntactic variation. We review historical information on settler groups and African American presence in earlier periods in both areas and discuss implications for influence on the contemporary AAL. The results of a new data analysis of vowel variation in the LSV are compared with existing reports for Pittsburgh AAL. Whereas LSV AAL shows some similarities to Pittsburgh AAL (e.g., the pool/pull merger), it lacks other features (e.g., the cot/caught merger, which is pervasive in Pittsburgh AAL). We also find differences between LSV AAL speakers who seem to want to identify as both “authentically Black” and local and Pittsburgh AAL speakers who are concerned with differentiating themselves from Whites and where sounding “local” tends to be equated with “Whiteness”.
William Labov and Sabriya Fisher
An analysis of the vowel systems of 36 African American speakers in the Philadelphia Neighborhood Corpus compares their development over the 20th century with that of the larger community. For vowels involved in changes in the White community, African Americans show very different patterns, often moving in opposite directions. The traditional split of short-a words into tense and lax categories is a more fine-grained measure of dialect relations. The degree of participation by African Americans is described by measures of bimodality, which is applied as well to the innovative nasal short-a system. The prototypical African American speakers show no bimodality in either measure, recombining the traditional tense and lax categories into a single short-a in lower mid non-peripheral position. The lack of relation between the two short-a systems is related to the high level of residential segregation.
African American Vernacular English in California: Over Four Decades of Vibrant Variationist Research
John R. Rickford
Research in California has played a significant role in our understanding of variability in African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and its features since the late 1960s, beginning with the earliest studies of African American child language, and including, most recently, studies of age-grading vs. generational change, the use of AAVE features by other ethnic groups as identity markers, and experimental, perception studies. California research was important in confirming internal and other constraints on variability in distinctive AAVE features revealed in earlier studies from New York City and Detroit, but also in uncovering new features, and providing new analyses of existing features. California AAVE research is also striking for its use of ethnographic methods, focus on style-shifting, interest in attitudes and identity, and theoretical and methodological contributions to larger issues like defining the envelope of variation, social class variability, the divergence controversy, and panel studies of change in real time.
William A. Kretzschmar Jr.
Survey research in Atlanta suggests that the usual national generalizations about race and language need to be examined in the light of local evidence. Recordings of interviews with a number of African Americans from the 1970s set a historical baseline for the community. A contemporary random-sample study of African Americans in Atlanta showed that our speakers were highly variable in their vowel production. They not only did not match national generalizations, but appeared to have more of Labov’s “Southern Shift” than the local non-African American speakers who were supposed to be characterized by it. Only a minority of speakers show “mean” behavior for the whole set of vowels. History and contemporary evidence combine to show that African American voices in Atlanta belong to a complex system in which speakers can be themselves in their neighborhoods, while at the same time they participate in historical and national trends.
This chapter discusses compounding in Hebrew. Section 27.2 reviews constructs and compounds. Section 27.3 shows that there are at least two distinct types of N + N constructs: one, labelled an R-construct, whose nonhead is referential; and another, an M-construct, whose non-head is a modifier. It is shown that M-constructs, but not R-constructs, share important properties with compounds. Finally, Section 27.4 presents a sketchy outline of an analysis of constructs and compounds in Hebrew.