Linguistics 001      Homework 1      Due Mo 9/19/2005

This assignment assumes understanding of the lecture on Approaches to the study of language.

Below you will find a list of titles of linguistics articles within the last few years. In each case, a link is provided to the paper's abstract and/or full text (note that sometimes the link may not take you to exactly the right spot so you may sometimes have to scan up or down a bit, or follow another link). Even though you may not be able to understand everything in the article or even the abstract, you should be able understand enough in order to answer the questions below.

First, classify each article according to the level(s) of linguistic analysis that are most clearly involved: (one or more of) phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, or pragmatics. A reasonable answer is sometimes something like "this paper deals primarily with morphology while discussing influences from phonology and semantics," or "as a discussion of linguistic nationalism, this paper deals implicitly with all levels of linguistic analysis." In each case, give a brief (one or two sentence) explanation of your reasoning, so that we can give you as much credit as possible even if we disagree with your conclusion.

Then, classify the same list of titles according to their connections to topics external to language (if any), or the aims of the study. This is an open-ended list including theoretical linguistics, descriptive linguistics, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, applied linguistics, computational linguistics, neurolinguistics, linguistic typology, anthropological linguistics, biology of language, forensic linguistics, stylistics. You can also choose other categories that you find in the readings or the course lecture notes. Again, there will often be more than one answer, and you should give a brief explanation to help us understand your reasoning and give you as much credit as possible. 

If you want, you can look at the similar set of questions and answers from an earlier year.

Typically, the title and abstract will contain words you don't know. If understanding a particular technical term seems essential to figuring out how to answer the questions, try searching for the word (perhaps in association with other related words from the text) on Google, looking it up in on-line dictionaries or encyclopedias such as those available through the Penn library web site, or using resources such as these:

If after a modest but reasonable effort you still find a case puzzling, make your best guess and bring your questions up in recitation.

Remember that you do not need to read the whole article. Sometimes, you can answer the questions based only on the title. Sometimes you'll need to make reference to information in the abstract. Occasionally you'll need to skim some parts of the full text of the article (where it is available). We understand that in the first week of what may be your first linguistics course, you can't be expected to fully analyze complex technical articles written by specialists for an audience of specialists.

[It's possible that some hyperlinks may not work from all locations. In such cases, we'll try to supply a "local copy" of the abstract. Please let your TA know if there are links that don't work for you].

List of Articles:

  1. Open Syllable Lengthening in West Germanic
  2. How Children Constrain their Argument Structure Constructions
  3. The Canadian Shift in Montreal
  4. Patterns of late rising in New Zealand English: Intonational variation or intonational change?
  5. Investigating syllabic structures and their variation in spontaneous French
  6. Combining active and semi-supervised learning for spoken language understanding
  7. Visual perception of contrastive focus in reiterant French speech
  8. Setting the stage: How speakers prepare listeners for the introduction of referents in dialogues and monologues
  9. Puns, relevance and appreciation in advertisements
  10. The Southern Cariban Languages and the Cariban Family
  11. Fronting of Nondirect Arguments and Adverbial Focus Marking on the Verb in Classical Yucatec
  12. Serial Verb Constructions in Paraguayan Guarani
  13. Muscular Activity in the Arm during Lexical Retrieval: Implications for Gesture-Speech Theories
  14. Infant Directed Speech in Natural Interaction—Norwegian Vowel Quantity and Quality
  15. Representing Discourse Coherence: A Corpus-Based Study
  16. A Mathematical Model of Historical Semantics and the Grouping of Word-Meanings into Concepts
  17. Oates’ theory of Reverse Speech: a critical examination
  18. Threatening revisited.
  19. Unification Grammars and Off-Line Parsability
  20. Impossible Words: A Reply to Kent Johnson
  21. Male and female voices activate distinct regions in the male brain
  22. The Neuroanatomical Basis of Understanding Sarcasm and Its Relationship to Social Cognition
  23. Language-tree divergence times support the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin
  24. Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã
  25. Wari' Intentional State Constructions and the Theory of Phrase
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