Linguistics 001      Homework 1      Due Mo 9/08/2014

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

Below you will find a list of recent journal articles. In each case, a link is provided to the full text (or at least an abstract). Even though you may not be able to understand everything in the article or even the abstract, you should be able figure out enough in order to answer the questions below.

First, classify each item 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 or the Wikipedia, looking it up in on-line dictionaries or encyclopedias such as those available through the Penn library web site, or using resources such as SIL's Glossary of Linguistic Terms.

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

You should not be surprised to find yourself puzzled, since the correspondence between classificatory taxonomies and the real world is often fuzzy. So the point of the exercise is to show that you understand the taxonomy and also (to the extent that you can at this point) that you understand what the various articles are trying to do.

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.

[ Some of the hyperlinks may not work from locations outside of Penn's network. If this happens to you, please try to find a way to do the exercise from campus. If you can't do this, 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. Katerina Chatzopoulou, "Re(de)fining jespersen's Cycle", University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 2013.
  2. Kara Becker, "(r) we there yet? The change to rhoticity in New York CIty English", Language Variation and Change, 2014.
  3. Rachel Giora et al, "Differential Effects of Right- and Left-Hemisphere Damage on Understanding Sarcasm and Metaphor", Metaphor and Symbol 2000.
  4. Mark Seidenberg and David Plaut, "Quasiregularity and Its Discontents: The Legacy of the Past Tense Debate", Cognitive Science 2014.
  5. Peter Dodds et al., "Human language reveals a universal positivity bias", arXiv 2014.
  6. Zann Szlachta et al., "Neurocognitive dimensions of lexical complexity in Polish", Brain and Language 2012.
  7. Jiahong Yuan and Mark Liberman, "F0 Declination in English and Mandarin Broadcast News Speech", Speech Communication 2014.
  8. François Barbançon et al., "An experimental study comparing linguistic phylogenetic reconstruction methods", Diachronica 2013.
  9. Jessica Ouyang and Kathleen McKeown, "Towards Automatic Detection of Narrative Structure", LREC 2014.
  10. Mark Baker, "On Dependent Ergative Case (in Shipibo) and Its Derivation by Phase", Linguistic Inquiry 2014.
  11. Geoffrey Sampson, "Economic Growth and Linguistic Theory", Language 2014.
  12. David Bamman et al., "Learning Latent Personas of Film Characters", ACL 2013.
  13. Alexandra Aikhenvald, "Language Contact and Language Blend: Kumandene Tariana of Northwest Amazonia", International Journal of American Linguistics 2013
  14. Tomas Mikolov et al., "Efficient Estimation of Word Representations in Vector Space", arXiv 2013.
  15. Arne Lohmann, "'Help' vs 'help to': a multifactorial, mixed-effects account of infinitive marker omission", English Language and Linguistics 2013.
  16. Aaron Lawson et al., "Improving Language Identification Robustness to Highly Channel-Degraded Speech through Multiple System Fusion", InterSpeech 2013.
  17. Emily Pitler et al., "Finding Optimal 1-Endpoint-Crossing Trees", ACL 2013
  18. Marta Recasens et al., "The Life and Death of Discourse Entitities: Identifying Singleton Mentions", NAACL-HLT 2013.
  19. Julie Anne Legate, "Subjects in Acehnese and the Nature of the Passive", Language 2012.
  20. Bruce Hayes et al., "Maxent grammars for the metrics of Shakespeare and Milton", Language 2012.
    [course home page]    [lecture schedule]     [homework]