In this chapter, the Academy of Persian Language and Literature is introduced in the context of an eighty-year-old history of the establishment of the Academy in Iran. The chapter intends to describe the atmosphere which motivated the need for the emergence of this institution in Iran. It seems to be fair to claim that word selection, and more technically terminology, has been the central concern of the three Iranian academies of the Persian language. It also seems to be just to evaluate the contributions and activities of the first and the third academies in Iran more fruitful both quantitatively and qualitatively than the endeavours of the second Iranian academy. The experiences which Iran has gained in the last eight decades could be relied on to move forward from a stage of language reform activities towards a more comprehensive phase of developing a language policy for the country in future.
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.
This article examines nonsubject relative clauses (RCs) in Turkic languages. It shows that all three types of nonsubject RCs in Turkish are amenable to a Kayneian derivation, in which the target of the RC moves to Spec/CP, and where the clause remnant moves leftward to Spec/DP or Spec/DemP. The article proposes the use of a Principles-and-Parameters version of government and binding theory in the analysis of RCs.
The small Kartvelian family is one of the three endemic language families of the Caucasus. The Kartvelian languages are double marking, with nominal case and two sets of person markers in the verb. Since the 17th century, linguists have attempted to accommodate the complexities of Georgian morphosyntax within the descriptive categories of their time, successively describing the language as nominative, (split) ergative, and active/inactive. In the present chapter, I will argue that its alignment can be most accurately described as split-intransitive, once the considerable number of monovalent dative-subject verbs are brought into consideration. Proto-Kartvelian would have had split-intransitive verb agreement, absolutively aligned verbal plurality marking, and incipient ergative-absolutive case assignment. Also discussed is the morphosyntactic orientation of the Kartvelian languages and dialects, that is, the distribution of morphological and syntactic privileges among the clausal arguments.
Peter Behnstedt and Manfred Woidich
Geographically, Arabic is one of the most widespread languages of the world, and Arabic dialects are spoken in an unbroken expanse from western Iran to Mauritania and Morocco and from Oman to northeastern Nigeria, albeit with vast uninhabited or scarcely inhabited areas and deserts in between. It is not easy to give the exact number of speakers, estimates from 1999 (i.e., from eighteen years ago) count 206 million L1 speakers, a figure which today seems too low rather than too high.1 This geographical range is marked by extreme dialectal differences in all fields of phonology, grammar, and lexicon, at times to the extent that different varieties are mutually unintelligible.
This article addresses some long-standing issues in Arabic sociolinguistics. The starting point is the concept of diglossia, which has become the port of entry for any discussion of the semiliquid language situation in the Arabic-speaking world. It first outlines the most abiding criticisms against diglossia and then offers thoughts on these as a prelude to discussing Arabic folk linguistics. It is argued that a folk linguistic perspective should be incorporated in studying Arabic in the social world. This perspective is important in developing an insider understanding of the language that may be at odds with the findings of modern linguistics. To aid the process of developing this perspective, the article adopts the terminology and conceptual frameworks Arabic speakers use in describing their language situation wherever possible—hence, the choice of fusha and ‘ammiyya instead of any of their translations into English, including Classical Arabic and vernacular, which Haeri uses.
The Arabic linguistic tradition (also termed Arabic grammatical tradition) is the most extensive among the Arabic linguistic sciences. This article focuses on the two major branches of the grammatical tradition: nahw (which refers to grammar in general but more specifically to syntax); and sarf (morphology). Sections of the article cover early grammar and the origins of the grammatical theory, early works and Sibawayhi’s Kitaab, grammar from the 3rd/9th century onward, and the study of morphology in the Arabic linguistic tradition.
This article deals essentially with two topics. The first is rhetoric, as one of the two sectors of the basic core of the Arabic linguistic tradition. Since the tradition was not definitively constructed until the postclassical period, Qazwīnī’s Talkhīs (d. 739/1338) is used—the most famous “epitome” of the rhetorical part of Sakkākī’s Miftāħ al-‘Ulūm, which itself is based on the two works of Abd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī (d. 471/1078), Asrār al-‘Arabiyya and Dalā’il al-’I‘jāz. The second is the intersections of rhetoric with the other sectors of this tradition: linguistics proper, namely, grammar; and not linguistics proper, namely, the theologico-juridical sciences.
This article discusses the developments in formal written Arabic in the early Modern period, which started with Napoleon’s invasion and occupation of Egypt (1798–1802), when the Arab Muslim world first came into direct contact with the West. The article first discusses the emergence and development of Modern Standard Arabic. Then it details the calls for language reform and revival, spurred by widening political and financial encroachments of Western powers all over the Muslim world. Finally, the article describes the establishment of language institutions aimed at preserving the language from foreign terms. It shows that the existence of multiple normative institutions was inherently self-defeating. Driven by political and ideological reasons, it resulted in petty rivalries between the various organizations, each vying for authority.
This article discusses the Arabic writing system. It begins with linguistic description of the components of Classical and Modern Standard Arabic writing, followed by accounts of their use to represent the language and of the use of the script as art and in technology. The article concludes with summaries of both the past and prospects of the script.
Mark C. Baker and Carlos A. Fasola
Mapudungun is the primary member of the small Araucanian family – its greater genetic affiliation is uncertain – and is spoken by some 300,000 Mapuche people in central Chile and adjoining areas of Argentina. Compounding is frequent and productive in Mapudungun, and constitutes an important part of the language's overall polysynthetic quality. Different types of compounds can be distinguished, with some cross-cutting similarities. Perhaps the most interesting theoretical issues raised by compounding in Mapudungun stem from the fact that different ordering principles apply to different kinds of compounds. These principles are at least partly independent of what categories are involved in compounding. This chapter discusses the three most prominent kinds of compounding in Mapudungun – V + N, N + N, and V + V – then briefly considers other sorts of compounds in the language, including those that contain an adjectival root.