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Unformatted text preview: Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 429 Chapter 14: Applications and Outlook 1. This course and linguistics in general This course has taken a particular tack concerning the problem of how to teach basic linguistics in just ten weeks. For every areas we’ve discussed, I’ve presented one theory, and for almost every particular area of data, one analysis. This has given us the tools to analyze a great deal of data, and to illustrate what it means to carry out linguistic analysis. If you study linguistics further, you’ll get more elaborate theories—for one thing, I’ve mostly picked theories on the basis of being able to teach them in a short period of time, and specialist courses can be more ambitious. In addition, at the level of research, linguists explore many different theories, and try to find evidence for which one is right. As research proceeds, the theories have tended to become more subtle, more ambitious, and more accurate. But there’s a great deal of work yet to be done, and at the present stage of research disagreement among linguists is common. 2. Unsolved research problems in linguistics One indication that linguistic theory is making progress is that descriptive grammars are getting better. Grammar authors, equipped with better theories, and better knowledge of what languages are like in general, seem to be able to lay out languages more completely and systematically than their predecessors 50 or 100 years ago. On the other hand, I think most progress in linguistics is yet to come, and the linguistics of 100 years from now may be very different from the linguistics of today. For what it’s worth, here are what I take to be three of the leading unsolved research problems in linguistics. 2.1 The Island Problem Our islands (Chapter 6) have been a “laundry list” of syntactic structures, some of them evidently universal and some language-particular. One area where theorizing has been intensive is the attempt to unify and simplify the theory of islands. An approach that is commonly taken is that it’s probably better to specify where wh- phrases can be extracted from rather than making a big list of where they can’t. No current theory has obtained the agreement of all specialists. 2.2 The acquisition problem We solve linguistics problems through patience, guile, and occasionally inspiration. It is unlikely that children learn language this way, since they seem more reliable than we are—they proceed steadily onward to become fluent native speakers. Moreover, they don’t get stuck: there are a number of Bantu tone languages that have resisted being completely reduced to rule, but that hasn’t stopped the human children who learn these languages from apprehending the pattern and using it fluently. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 430 The problem of acquisition in syntax is perhaps even more baffling, because there, what children do is learn the ungrammatically of sentences in the absence of negative evidence (see Chapter 7). To solve the problem of how children acquire language so well, three things will be needed. First, we need to develop adequate grammars of individual languages, which characterize the native speaker’s knowledge and intuitions with complete accuracy. We also need adequate general theories of language that say what grammars can be like. Both of these issues have been taken on, at least in an elementary way, in this course. The next step would be to start modeling the child’s behavior directly: linguistics will gradually develop formal systems (probably implemented as computer programs) that mimic the child, learning grammars when exposed to realistic data from languages. This task has only begun to be taken on by linguists in the past few years. One of the very simplest such problems to learn a grammar that can form the past tense of English verbs, given the present stem. The rules of the game are that the system is given a set of verbs (perhaps a couple thousand) with their past tense, learns a grammar, and then is tested on new verbs. One system of this sort183 when asked for the past tense of “spling”, guesses as follows: splung first choice splinged close second splang third choice This roughly matches the preference of people. Many vastly harder tasks in modeling learning have yet to be addressed, since we don’t yet know how. Ultimately, I think, linguistics should try to pass the “Turing test”, as it applies for language—the creation of an artificial system that behaves identically (from the observer’s perspective) to humans. 2.3 The parsing problem A parser is a procedure (usually a computer program) that, given a grammar and a sentence, can figure out the phrase structure tree that the grammar assigns to the sentence. One problem in parsing is that sentences often have many more parses than we as linguists think they do. To give one example, the sentence: They are flying planes. has two obvious parses: Adam Albright and Bruce Hayes (2003) “Rules vs. Analogy in English Past Tenses: A Computational/Experimental Study,” Cognition 90: 119-161 [http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/hayes/#acquisition] 183 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 431 (They are acting as pilots) (Those things up in the air are planes that are flying) But a complete and thorough search yields parses that are absurd but possible. Thus, consider the following set-up: Smoking kills. What are the facts? The facts are, smoking kills. They are, smoking kills. They are, flying planes. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 432 (I envision small bits of a large board being slowly removed by impact with the propellers.) The absurdity, indeed the “cheapness” of this example is perhaps even irritating, but it illustrates a general problem. Parsers implemented as computer programs arrive at a great number of parses that would never occur to people. In contrast, people seem to be able to arrive at the correct parses almost instantaneously, without distraction. Much current research is devoted to inventing parsers that can mimic the high level of human performance—partly in the hope that this will shed light on how people perform this task. 2.4 Other kinds of parsing Parsing, construed generally, is not just a matter of syntax. In morphological parsing, we seek to recover the stem and the features of the morphosyntactic representation from the phonological form of an inflected word. In “phonemic parsing” — better known as speech recognition — we seek to find the phonemic representation (and possibly, also the lexical items present) from a raw acoustic signal. Like syntactic parsing, morphological and phonemic parsing are unsolved problems, the topic of current research. 3. Linguistics: what is it good for? To go out on a limb: I think society would be better off if more people had knowledge of linguistics. Some specific areas where linguistics could make a difference in real life are as follows. 3.1 Teaching reading and writing Children learn to read, at least in part, by establish correspondences between the phonemes they learned in toddlerhood and the letters used to spell the language. Teachers who teach children to read can, at least in principle, make faster progress by being aware of the phonemic system of their students. Thus, if a student makes no distinction between [] and [ɛ] before nasals (saying, as millions do, both pin and pen as [pɪn]), then a reading teacher should not Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 433 correct the student who reads pen as [pɪn]—this can only undermines the student’s confidence, given that she correctly interpreted the letters within her phonemic system.184 In later years, children are taught to write in a standardized, normatively-defined style. Here, having teachers who understand syntax can help in making clear to children what the requirements of this style are. One common instance arises in sentences like the following. Being in a dilapidated condition, I was able to buy the house very cheap. In many English dialects, this sentence can have a meaning in which it is the house that is dilapidated. However, this reading is not possible in the written standard, where the only possible reading is one in which the speaker is dilapidated. Since people who command the written standard often hold strong normative views (chapter 3) against the non-standard pattern, teachers can protect their students from future harm by teaching them the standard pattern. To do this, it is necessary to have at least an elementary theory of syntax. For example, an English teacher might tell his students: “the implicit subject of a preposed clause may only refer to the subject of the main clause”.185 The concepts of clause, implicit subject, and coreference— all taught in this course—are clearly relevant here. 3.2 Teaching foreign languages Language instruction can be either intuitive or structural—in the latter approach, one lays out the grammar in a systematic way, much as a linguist tries to do. The teaching of pronunciation varies perhaps most of all. Some language textbooks give the student nothing but orthography, along with the advice that they should imitate native speakers. In contrast, some text include training in basic phonetics and the IPA, and use IPA transcriptions to make pronunciation as clear as possible. In some cases, linguistic theorizing has produced better descriptions of how the language works, notably in Japanese and other tonal languages. It remains to be seen whether such developments will help in language instruction. Far more tricky is the case of a child who has learned a theta-less dialect like Cockney or Black English at home, and interprets (say) myth in the correct way under her own phonemic system, namely as [mɪf]. Given people’s normative views (chapter 3), use of this pronunciation is a career barrier, no matter how high the intelligence or skill of the person who uses it. I can see no way that a school teacher could tactfully inform a child that the dialect she learned at her parent’s knee is widely despised; presumably, some teachers just go ahead and do it untactfully. Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, from which the example above derives, says “A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.” This is vague in using the term “refer to”, but not bad for non-linguists. Link: http://orwell.ru/library/others/style/e/estyle_1.htm. 185 184 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 434 3.3 Alphabet design Many of the world’s people cannot write their native language because it has not yet been given an orthography. As mentioned Chapter 11, phonemic analysis is commonly used to determine what sounds need to be symbolized by letters in a new spelling system. 3.4 Human-machine interaction It is of course a goal of many people and companies that we will someday engage in fluent conversations with computers and other machines; presumably when this happens our interactions with machines will be far more convenient and helpful to us. However, those who buy computers and software for synthesis and recognition will know that neither of these capacities has reached the point where they are useful for more than fairly low-level tasks. We experience frustration when the speech recognizer cannot understand our utterances, and fatigue when we try to listen to the unrealistic productions of synthesizers. What is needed to make things better? Different people will give different answers to this question. Obviously, the answer I feel most sympathetic to is, “more and better linguistics.”—we cannot hope to have a good speech synthesizer until we have exquisitely detailed—and generalizable—knowledge of the rules for English allophones, both within the word and across word boundaries within the phrase. Whether this knowledge will take the form of a traditional rule-based linguistic description or something different is not firmly established. The problem of speech recognition may also benefit from deeper and more detailed phonetic and phonetic description and grammars. Syntax and semantics must also be invoked to improve the abilities of computers to converse with us. We can get an idea of the state of advancement achieved here by examining the behavior of the grammar checker included in a leading word processor. Examples like the following indicate that the busy crew at Microsoft has gotten strikingly good at parsing long noun phrases and making sure that the verb agrees in number with their head (sequences underlined are those identified as a problem by the grammar-checker in Word 2003): The turtles is green. The turtles are green. The turtles in the pond is green. The turtles in the pond are green. The turtles that many of us believe to be swimming in the pond is green. The turtles that many of us believe to be swimming in the pond are green. The turtles that the ducklings that the wolves ate believe to be swimming in the pond is green. The turtles that the ducklings that the wolves ate believe to be swimming in the pond are green. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 435 On the other hand, any Linguistics 20 student could tell Bill Gates what is wrong with the ungrammatical sentences below, which the Word grammar checker fails to detect: Which books do you think are on the table? *Which books do you think is on the table? *Which book do you think are on the table? Which book do you think is on the table? That is to say, verbs must agree with their subject NP when it is in situ, prior to the possible leftward displacement of that NP by Wh- Movement.186 Not surprisingly, there are industrial syntacticians, who develop detailed grammars for various languages, and use the grammars to assign parses to sentences (as in the grammarchecking application above.) There are also industrial semanticists, who attempt to extract meanings from sentences in the primitive mentalese of computers. Quite a few students from UCLA (both undergraduate and graduate) have gone on to careers in “industrial linguistics.” Often, though not always, they have expertise in both linguistics and computing. To be fair, it is possible that the Microsoft staff are aware of this problem, but have yet to find a reliable way to “undo” Wh- Movement. 186 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 436 Chapter 15: More review problems Study Exercise #50: Phonetic Dictations southern myrrh corpulent whether multiple coinage parameter ostentatious turmoil trapezium Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 437 Answer to Study Exercise #50 southern myrrh corpulent whether multiple coinage parameter turmoil ostentatious trapezium [ˈsɚn] [ˈmɚ] [ˈk{o,o,}pj{u,,ə}lənt] [ˈwɛɚ] [ˈmlt{, ə}p{l , əl}] [ˈkn{ə,ɪ}d] [pəˈæməɚ] [ɚ] for first [ə] or [ə] ok [ˈtɚml] [stɛnˈteʃəs] [təˈpiziəm] ————————————————————————————————————— Study Exercise #51: Historical Linguistics Here are matched sets from three dialects of English. Apply the Comparative Method, forming correspondence sets and positing sound changes. Here, is it best to compare sequences rather than sounds. Do: [juɹ, uɹ, oɹ]. Dialect A 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Muir moor more cure Coors core Buhr boor bore endure dour door Turing tour tore [ˈmju] [ˈmu] [ˈmo] [ˈkju] [ˈkuz] [ˈko] [ˈbju] [ˈbu] [ˈbo] [ɛnˈdju] [ˈdu] [ˈdo] [ˈtju] [ˈtu] [ˈto] Dialect B [ˈmju] [ˈmu] [ˈmo] [ˈkju] [ˈkuz] [ˈko] [ˈbju] [ˈbu] [ˈbo] [ɛnˈdu] [ˈdu] [ˈdo] [ˈtu] [ˈtu] [ˈto] Dialect C [ˈmjo] [ˈmo] [ˈmo] [ˈkjo] [ˈkoz] [ˈko] [ˈbjo] [ˈbo] [ˈbo] [ɛnˈdo] [ˈdo] [ˈdo] [ˈto] [ˈto] [ˈto] Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 438 16. 17. 18. inure Koh-i-noor nor 187 [ˈnju] [ˈkohnu] [ˈno] [ˈnu] [ˈkohnu] [ˈno] [ˈno] [ˈkohno] [ˈno] 187 A famous diamond, from the Persian for “mountain of light”. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 439 Answer to Study Exercise #51 Correspondence sets: Proto *ju *ju *u *or A ju ju u o B ju u u o C jo o o o Examples 1, 4, 7 10, 13, 16 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 The proto-language is identical to Dialect A. B and C have both undergone: *j alveolar] ___ See endure, Turing, and inure C has also undergone: *u > o / ___ which has merged moor with more, boor with bore, and so on. ———————————————————————————————————— Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 440 Study Exercise #52: Wh- Movement and islands Show why *What donor might Sue wonder what books donated to the library? is ungrammatical, given the Wh- Island Constraint below. In particular, first extract what books to the lower Comp, then extract what donor to the higher Comp, showing the island violation graphically. Wh- Island Constraint Mark as ungrammatical any sentence in which a constituent has been extracted from inside an S whose Comp contains a wh- phrase. ¯ S ¯ * Comp | whS Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 441 Answer to Study Exercise #52 Deep structure (all wh- phrases in situ), with lower instance of Wh-Movement; also SubjectAux Inversion in upper clause: Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 442 Resulting tree, with subsequent movement of what donor into the higher Comp. This violates the Wh-Island Constraint; the island is enclosed in a dotted box: Since a wh-phrase is moved out of the island, the resulting sentence is ungrammatical. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 443 Study Exercise #53: Phonology This is an imaginary language but the rules it has are found in real languages. [, , ] are voiced fricatives (bilabial, dental, velar). [t,̪ d, n̪] are dental. ̪ ‘Noun’ 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. [pama] [peli] [tube] ̪ [tazo] ̪ [kame] [koli] [bafi] [belu] [daba] ̪ [dazo] ̪ [gele] [gova] ‘the Noun’ [la bama] [la beli] [la dube] ̪ [la dazo] ̪ [la game] [la goli] [la afi] [la elu] [la aba] [la azo] [la ele] [la ova] ‘two Nouns’ [due bamas] ̪ [due belis] ̪ [due dube] ̪ ̪ [due dazo] ̪ ̪ [due game] ̪ [due goli] ̪ [due afi] ̪ [due elu] ̪ [due aba] ̪ [due azo] ̪ [due ele] ̪ [due ova] ̪ ‘five Nouns’ [kwin̪do bamas] ̪ [kwin̪do belis] ̪ [kwin̪do dube] ̪̪ [kwin̪do dazo] ̪̪ [kwin̪do game] ̪ [kwin̪do goli] ̪ ̪ [kwin̪do afi] [kwin̪do elu] ̪ [kwin̪do aba] ̪ [kwin̪do azo] ̪ [kwin̪do ele] ̪ [kwin̪do ova] ̪ ‘tuna’ ‘swordfish’ ‘mackerel’ ‘cod’ ‘mahi mahi’ ‘carp’ ‘catfish’ ‘pollock’ ‘yellowtail’ ‘sturgeon’ ‘halibut’ ‘salmon’ a) Produce consonant and vowel charts, labeling the rows and columns with features. You may assume [+dental] is a feature. b) Do the stems alternate? Explain c) Give rules, naming them. d) Is any rule ordering required? e) Give right order/wrong order derivations for la dazo and la azo. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 444 Answer to Study Exercise #53 a) Produce consonant and vowel charts. [−voice] [+voice] [+fricative] [−voice] [+voice] [+nasal] [+liquid] [+glide] [+stop] [+bilabial] [+labiodental] [+dental] p t b d f v m n w [+alveolar] s z l [+velar] k g –back +back +back –round –round –round +high –low –high –low –high +low i e a u o b) Do the stems alternate? Explain Yes, for example the stem for “tuna” has the two allomorphs [pama] and [bama]. c) Give rules, naming them. Intervocalic Voicing [+stop] [+voiced] / [+syllabic] ___ [+syllabic] This voices any stop occurring between vowels. It can be applied harmlessly to [b, d, g], since they are already voiced, so I left out [−voice] from the left side of the arrow. Intervocalic Spirantization188 +stop –stop +voice +fricative / [+syllabic] ___ [+syllabic] This turns any voiced stop between vowels to its fricative counterpart, thus [b, d, g] [, , ]. Standard terminology for a rule that creates fricatives. “Spirant” is an old-fashioned synonym for “fricative.” 188 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 445 d) Is any order required? Intervocalic Spirantization must precede Intervocalic Voicing, to keep the voiced stops that derive from voiceless from turning into fricatives—we want Intervocalic Frication to apply “too late” to affect those stops. e) Give right order/wrong order derivations for la dazo and la azo. Correct: /la tazo/ — d [la dazo] Incorrect: /la tazo/ d *[la azo] /la dazo/ — [la azo] phonemic forms Intervocalic Voicing Intervocalic Spirantization phonetic forms /la dazo/ — [la azo] phonemic forms Intervocalic Spirantization Intervocalic Voicing phonetic forms ———————————————————————————————————— Study Exercise #54: Semantics; anaphora The wizards believe that the witches turned the girls into copies of each other. a. Produce the phrase structure tree. b. Show clausemates with brackets, as in xxx the readings, show c-command with arrows. c. Explain with reference to rule given below the possible reference of each other. Each Other Reference Each other may refer only to a c-commanding clausemate. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 446 Answer to Study Exercise #54 The wizards believe that the witches turned the girls into copies of each other. a. Diagram/b. Show clausemates with brackets, show c-command with arrows. The witches, the girls, and each other are all clausemates, but the wizards is not clausemates with any of them. Looking at the tree and the crucial NP’s, we see the following relations of c-command:189 the wizards c-commands the other three NP’s the witches c-command the girls and each other the girls c-commands each other Recall how this is determined: go up one node from any NP, and anything dominated by this node is dominated by this NP. 189 Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 447 c. Putting it all together, we see that: the girls c-commands and is a clausemate of each other, and so can be coreferent with each other Scenario: The wizards believe that the witches turned Sue into a copy of Ellen, and turned Ellen into a copy of Sue. the witches c-commands and is a clausemate of each other, and so can be coreferent with each other Scenario: The wizards believe that Alice, a witch, turned the girls into copies of Miriam (another witch), and that Miriam turned the girls into copies of Alice. While the wizards c-commands each other, it is not a clausemate of each other, and so it cannot be coreferent with each other Scenario: Bob, a wizard, believes the witches turned the girls into copies of Ted, another wizard; and Ted believes the witches turned the girls into copies of Bob. Logically possible, but evidently not available linguistically. ———————————————————————————————————— Study Exercise #55: Semantics: scope This sentence has a scope-based ambiguity. Many people visit two islands. i. Describe clearly in words the two meanings of these sentence. ii. Make up a scenario of which it could hold true. iii. Using Quantifier Translation and Quantifier Raising, derive the logical forms for each meaning. Quantifier Translation Replace [ every N ]NP [ some N ]NP … with with [ for every x, x an N]NP [ for some x, x an N]NP and similarly for other quantified expressions. If the variable x is already in use, use y instead; etc. Quantifier Raising Left-adjoin a quantified NP to S, leaving behind a variable in its original location. Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 448 Answer to Study Exercise #55 Describe clearly in words the two meanings of this sentence. Give a scenario of which it could hold true. Many people visit two islands. i. Describe clearly in words the two meanings of this sentence. (a) It is true of many people that they visit two islands (not necessarily the same two). (b) It is true of two islands that many people visit them (not necessarily the same people). ii. Give scenarios. (The possibilities are infinite, but here is one:) (a): A travel agency offering tours of the Hawaiian Islands offers a great number of package tours: One-Island tours: just Oahu, or Big Island, or Maui, or Molokai, etc. Two-Island tours: Oahu and Big Island, or Oahu and Maui, or Big Island and Kauai, etc. Three-Island tours: Oahu, Big Island, and Maui; or Kauai, Oahu, and Maui; etc. Many customers select a Two-Island Tour. (b) In this scenario: many people visit Oahu, many people visit the Big Island, but hardly anyone ever visits Kauai, Maui, Molokai, or any of the other islands. iii. Derivation of logical forms Surface structure: Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 449 Quantifier Conversion: At this point, the meanings depend on the order in which the quantifier operators are raised. (a) Quantifier Raising I Quantifier Raising II “It is true of many people that they visit two islands” Hayes Introductory Linguistics p. 450 (b) Quantifier Raising I Quantifier Raising II “It is true of two islands that many people visit them.” ...
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