Archive for the ‘Language acquisition’ Category

Locatives, inalienability, and determiner choices

July 31, 2019

All this, and more, in two recent One Big Happy cartoons, from 7/2 (I broke a finger — the determiner cartoon) and 7/4 (Where was the Declaration of Independence signed? — the locative cartoon). Both featuring Ruthie’s brother Joe.  I’ll start with the locatives.

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The C.L. Baker Award

July 24, 2019

On March 6th, the Linguistic Society of America announced the creation of the C.L. Baker Award (named in memory of Carl Leroy Baker, known as Lee), and on July 12th put out the call for nominations.

Lee, who died in 1997, was my first Ph.D., the first person to finish a Ph.D. under my direction, with the excellent 1968 dissertation Indirect Questions in English (at the Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign). Also a friend and a fine person (modest, gently humorous, earnestly principled, and humane).

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A double regularity

January 3, 2018

Arnold M. Zwicky, A double regularity in the acquisition of English verb morphology. Papers in Linguistics 3.3.411-8 (1970). Also in OSU WPL 4.142-8 (1970).

From OSU Working Papers in Linguistics No. 4: Papers by Gaberell Drachman, Mary Louise Edwards, Charles J. Fillmore, Gregory Lee, Patricia Lee, Ilse Lehiste, and Arnold M. Zwicky

For Eve V. Clark

June 17, 2017

… two recent cartoons, one a Rhymes With Orange with a notable verbing of a noun, the other a One Big Happy with a child coping with an unfamiliar word:

(#1)

(#2)

These on the occasion of Eve’s retirement from Stanford, celebrated at a department party yesterday afternoon.

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Cartoony days

June 2, 2016

(This takes a turn to sexual politics that some — though not, I think, Bill Griffith — might find surprising.)

Today’s Zippy offers us some office soap opera between boss (Don) and employee (Ms. Carlisle), from the point of view of Ms. Carlisle:

(#1)

The topic is a familiar one in Zippyland: cartoonishness or cartooniness, indicated by various physical characteristics — noses, eyes, eyebrows, ears, jawlines, and mouths. In Zippyland, of course, everyone’s a cartoon character and they’re all dressed like one, but some of them are “realistic”, normal, regular folks,, while others are flagrantly cartoony.

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Learning stuff

September 21, 2015

Passed on by John McIntyre, a Bloom County from some time ago about little kids and what they have to learn. And their mother and how she copes with their persistent inquiries:

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Learning to tell jokes

March 2, 2015

Yesterday’s One Big Happy, in which Ruthie works at telling jokes:

Part of acquiring a language is acquiring a large assortment of social routines using that language — including joke patterns. Linguists studying conversation have looked at the acquisition of a number of different joke types, for example knock-knock jokes, where they see the gradual unfolding of the abilities involved in producing and appreciating jokes. For instance, many jokes turn on puns, so that a child has to learn that exact wording can be crucial to the joke; paraphrase won’t do. But children often fail to appreciate that, while still understanding that laughter is called for at a certain point in the joke.

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Speaking late

September 28, 2014

Just now, New Yorker cartoons (from Zach Kanin and Joe Dator) on linguistic subjects. And along comes today’s Bizarro, on the development of language in the species and in the individual:

The strip shows the origin of language in male humans substantially lagging that in females, as if the sexes were different species — a preposterous idea when you examine it with any care. But the strip plays on a real phenomenon, that the acquisition of language in boys tends to lag somewhat behind that in girls. Boys speak later, and less, than girls, common wisdom has it. Well, common wisdom isn’t exactly wrong, but it treats, inaccurately, what is in fact a small statistical difference between the sexes (which largely overlap with one another) as an absolute gap.

And there’s certainly no reason to think that phylogeny recapitulated what we know of ontogeny.

Back from Memorial Day

May 28, 2014

Two cartoons from yesterday: in Doonesbury, the plants continue to talk; and in One Big Happy, Ruthie runs into the problems of correcting young language learners.

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Sunday melange

March 23, 2014

Four recent cartoons, from several sources and of very different tones: a Bizarro, a Zits, a Doonesbury, and a Paul Noth New Yorker cartoon:

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