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Volume 37: Language and Linguistics
Article

HOW THE PHONEME INVENTORY CHANGES ITS SHAPE: A COGNITIVE APPROACH TO PHONOLOGICAL EVOLUTION AND CHANGE

Javier E. Díaz Vera

In this paper I propose an interpretation of a series of phonological changes in the history of English (including Old English Breaking and the early Modern English Great Vowel Shift) from a cognitive phonology perspective. My analysis is based on Nathan (1886, 1995, 1996), who applies prototype theory to phonological description. In Nathan’s analysis, the louder a sound is, the more prototypical effects it possesses. In processes of phonological change, phonemes change their number of prototypical effects. According to this view, we propose a classification that is based on two different prototypicality effects: degree of height and degree of peripherality. By treating both sound and meaning unit as mental categories, I try to show how the principles of categorization and generalization motivate similar diachronic patterns both in the phonological and in the semantic domain.

 

Key words: Cognitive phonology, Sound change, Semantic change, Old English, Linguistic variation.

 

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Article

TRANSFER AND UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR IN UNACCUSATIVE CONSTRUCTIONS ERRORS

Marciano Escutia

Common errors are examined in subject expletive pronouns use with unaccusative predicates in the written production of Spanish high-intermediate adult students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in an institutional setting. What these errors have in common is that they do not respond to L1 surface transfer in the sense of not corresponding to a mere L2 relexification of L1 syntax. They rather involve a process of construction of the L2 grammar which results in structures different from both the L1 and the L2. It is suggested and argued that they originate in the interaction of Universal Grammar principles and both L1 and L2 influence in a restructuring process of the L1. As these errors seem to be developmental –since they are also made by L2 students from other L1s, some cognitive strategies are suggested in order to help in the production of standard surface structures.

 

Key words: developmental errors, unaccusative predicates, expletive pronouns, language transfer, Universal Grammar.

 

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Article

“THIS MANNER OF INFIRMYTE THE GRETE LECHYS OF SALERNE CLEPYD OBTALMYAM”: A STUDY OF MEDICAL TERMS IN BENVENUTUS GRASSUS

María José Esteve Ramos

De Egritudini bus Oculorum is a very popular and extensive medieval treatise on eye diseases. This paper aims at exploring the presence of the different languages present in the lexicon of this particular work; special attention is paid to the names of diseases and also to the anatomical nomenclature, following previous works in the area (Norri 1992, 1998). This article will explore this map of etymologies in order to see whether they contributed towards an early standardisation of the specific terminology in this field of science.

Key words: Medical English, historical linguistics, history of science, lexicology, terminology.

 

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Article

THE SPOKEN CORE OF BRITISH ENGLISH: A DIACHRONIC ANALYSIS BASED ON THE BNC

Miguel Fuster Márquez Barry Pennock Speck

Our research focuses on two aspects of the evolution of contemporary spoken core vocabulary in British English based on a frequency analysis carried out using the demographic-spoken section of the spoken subcorpus of the British National Corpus (BNC) which contains 4 million words (the whole BNC contains over 100 words). On the one hand, we examine the impact on the core of contact with other languages and, on the other, lexical innovation throughout the history of the English language. Ours is a quantitative study that uses as its starting point contemporary British core vocabulary. We define core as opposed to non-core by looking exclusively at the frequency of a word as several linguistic studies have proposed. Our analyis, which, to a certain extent, follows up on that carried out in Fuster (2007) questions the hypothesis, in several diachronic studies, that the spoken core is immune to linguistic contact, or that it is quite impermeable to      innovation and resists change.

Key words: core vocabulary, corpus, diachrony, contact, frequency.

 

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Article

A LINGUISTIC APPROACH TO DAVID MITCHELL’S SCIENCE-FICTION STORIES IN CLOUD ATLAS

Sandrine Sorlin

This paper focuses on the language of the two science-fiction stories among the six stories that comprise Mitchell’s 2004 novel Cloud Atlas: “An Orison of Sonmi~451” and “Sloosha’s Crossin’an’ Ev’rythin’ After”, renamed ‘Sonmi’ and ‘Sloosha’ here for greater convenience. We aim at studying the extent to which the two craftily-carved languages, which are radically different both syntactically and semantically, give birth to completely opposed worlds. The highly-engineered language of the 22nd century in ‘Sonmi’ creates the image of a plentiful consumer society whereas the mutilated words in ‘Sloosha’ mirror a humanity which is only the shadow of its former self after the explosion of the atomic bomb. Yet, in keeping with the image of Deleuze’s rhizome, the apparently diminished language of the middle story (Sloosha) seems to germinate again, finding its source in what is most natural and essential, while the other language actually produces an arborescent-like hierarchical society, leaving no space for imagination to grow. In Cloud Atlas Mitchell plays on intertextuality, his own distortion of the linguistic medium recalling other linguistic utopias such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighteen-Four or Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker.

Key Words: David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, Linguistic utopia, Science-fiction, Post-apocalyptic writing.

 

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Review
EL EUFEMISMO Y EL DISFEMISMO. PROCESOS DE MANIPULACIÓN DEL TABÚ EN EL LENGUAJE LITERARIO INGLÉS

Eliécer Crespo Fernández
Alicante: Universidad de Alicante, 2007

(por Gérard Fernández Smith, Universidad de Cádiz)

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Review

LAS LENGUAS PROFESIONALES Y ACADÉMICAS

Enrique Alcaraz Varó, José Mateo Martínez y Francisco Yus Ramos (eds.)

Barcelona: Ariel, 2007.

(por Pilar Mur Dueñas, Universidad de Zaragoza)

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