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Phonetics and Phonology / Re: IPA k vs kk
« Last post by daniel.c.gallagher on July 21, 2018, 09:41:40 PM »
Thank you both for your very helpful responses!! (and sorry for my late response; I was expecting an email when a response came in, so I'm still figuring this forum out).

Daniel, I appreciate your response very much. I suspect that reasonable guessing is all that is really wanted out of this particular question of the test. To that end, your tips are very helpful, so thank you!

Panini, thanks so much for doing some extra research on the matter! It is confusing that there would be such a discrepancy. Anyway, I don't think I've misinterpreted the directions. Just for good measure, I've included the instructions here as shown on the exam (in the original Japanese) and with my translation:

[alabaman word data list as previously included, with more examples]
(Rand, Earl (1968) The Structural Phonology of Alabaman, A Muskogean Language.
International Journal of American Linguistics, vol. 34-2, pp. 94-103. の表記を若干改変)

Q1. The following data is of Alabaman. Answer the questions below.
[Alabaman word list]
(Rand (1986)... has been slightly altered)
[Q1-1] For a,b,d,k,p, place a dot at the syllable boundary, as shown in the example.
So at least, there is an acknowledgement that the original data has been altered and might even just be fictitious, probably for the sake of exercise. Regarding the role of syllables in simplifying phonological rules, I'll say that the following questions ask to describe the rules for long vowel sounds, aspiration, and nasalization. So maybe the syllable question is just a way of priming us to think about it when we describe the other phenomena. And I'm sure the whole thing is more of a "given these examples, what kinds of linguistic patterns can you detect?" rather than "tell us the real story about Alabaman" (hence the altering of the original data).

Well thank you both again for your (very quick) answers! I will look forward to continuing to use linguistforum!
You won't get very far in teasing apart these details by looking only at their meanings. Same for what's a noun and what's a verb-- easy to say that "destruction" is an action, for example. But if you look at how grammars treat these distinctions, you'll find differences. As I said, you can often coerce a different reading, and that's been studied too.

These are just labels linguists use to describe observations of differences. Saying there's no difference would be more wrong than inexactly stating such a difference. It's a linguist's job to figure out better and better ways to explain such things.
The reason I am concerned as it seems to me that be the case but if I say something happened that seems to entail "a doing".

For example I was told existing is stative

Yet "I do exist" seems to entail "That I am existing".

The latter seems to reconstructable as " existing is something I am doing"

Correct me if I'm wrong but "do" is dynamic
Linguist's Lounge / Re: Open degrees
« Last post by Matt Longhorn on July 15, 2018, 05:26:13 AM »
Thanks Daniel. My online searches definitely hasn't been overly productive.
My only goal here would be for personal enrichment as you say, kind of a desire to finally get a degree without having to leave my job and start over studying full time. Thanks for the link as well, I feel a bit awkward posting there so am likely to spend my time posting here as I come across issues and study by myself.
I will also check out the MIT OpenCourseWare - thanks for the heads up on that
You might want to look into the Vendler's work:

You are correct that these distinctions are not always exact, but grammars do treat them differently. So consider diagnosing them not by their meaning, but by their grammatical instantiations.

That's why it's unusual to say "I am thinking tomatoes are gross", or "I am being happy". (Of additional interest is what happens when you do say something unusual like that. A slightly different interpretation is forced, or 'coerced', which supports that there is a difference.) Or how it is odd to say "I hit right now".
You are wrong, and you have committed a logical error. It is true that many actions can be referenced by their consequences, for example by the act of committing a logical error, you have acquired the attribute of being wrong. You can also refer to a state by reference to having entered into that state (no thing is eternal, save for "existence"), hence you can say that the apple "is red", or, it "became red". The ability to shift focus between an action and an attribute does not invalidate the distinction.

States and actions necessarily take place in some context (right here, right now), and unless we engage in sci-fi speculation about time quanta, all time is "enduring", that is, the notion of an isolatible "moment" is a cognitive concept, and doesn't refer to anything tangible  in metaphysics. The whole point of language is cognition.
Supposedly theirs a difference between a state and a action.

This seems vacuous to me.

Take this example of a stative verb sentence "I think tomatoes are gross." entails "I am a thing that continuously exhibits the behavior of thinking tomatoes are gross"

It seems that if I think something that describes a continuous action.

It seems that states are in fact behaviors, just enduring ones. 

Linguist's Lounge / Re: Open degrees
« Last post by Daniel on July 13, 2018, 04:24:15 PM »
I've seen a similar question asked elsewhere, and there weren't many specific suggestions. I don't know about the UK in particular, but finding a program like this sounds somewhat unlikely.

I know there are some programs in Australia that have a distance learning component (because I've seen teaching positions in those programs advertised), but I don't know what the requirements or flexibility would be like. There may be similar programs elsewhere, and certainly you could find a way to take a class (or several) but I don't know about completing a program in this way. You would want to reach out to local universities to see what the options are like.

I do believe there are some MA programs in teaching ESL that are primarily distance learning, so that's an option to consider, but I don't know about a degree in linguistics narrowly, or at the undergrad level. There's probably something, but also check on its quality or applicability to what you want to do later-- is this for personal enrichment (in which case you'll have more options) or to eventually continue to grad school and so forth? Your options will be somewhat limited by what you want to do with a degree. If it's "just" a degree, then you may have more flexibility, for example finding some linguistics courses you can take as part of something else.

I'm sorry I don't have more specific advice on this. The upside is that I think online courses, distance learning, and so forth are becoming more common, so you might be able to find something now, or soon. It also might be a new program not yet widely known, although of course you'll probably be able to find information about it online if you find the right keywords.

Should you wish to ask somewhere else, there is an email list that includes many UK professors who might know something:
That's a list for teachers, but I don't see why your question wouldn't be on topic given that information is not generally available elsewhere. If they don't know of something (and they might not), then I would guess there is no program exactly like you're describing. Instead, your best option would be finding a general degree program and hoping to take one or more linguistics class while doing so.

Regardless, there is a lot you can do on your own if you want to read (textbooks or not) or study languages, etc.  And you're welcome here at linguistforum!

For online courses you could do on your own (or possibly as part of a degree somewhere, but I don't know the details) there are a few online linguistics courses popping up online these days. The best place to start might be MIT OpenCourseWare, which you can find easily online if you search for it. I believe it's free to read/participate but may require a fee if you want to "complete" the course (get a certificate, possibly transfer credit or something like that).
Phonetics and Phonology / Re: IPA k vs kk
« Last post by panini on July 09, 2018, 09:23:48 AM »
There is an article, "The Structural Phonology of Alabaman, a Muskogean Language", published in 1968 in the International Journal of American Linguistics, which "touches on" the topic, but I would say that the question hasn't actually been touched, there has simply been hand waving. You should, however, be aware that linguists have a bad habit of making stuff up. You might want to look at Montler's Alabaman dictionary at, which gives the form [okihatka] as "ocean". You should note that aspiration is not phonemic in the language, so the transcription you've been given is an "interpretation" of something else.

My reading of Rand's article indicates that the [kkʰ] transcription may be the phonetic property of being "fortis, slightly aspirated" in onset position. He actually exemplifies k-allophony with the word [okki:tatka:] "sea", without the aspiration or the syllable boundary. In other words, somebody else modified Rand's data, assuming some rules. This then raises the question of how Montler's data conflicts with Rand's. You could in fact ask Montler -- it may be disagreements in how to interpret the same phonetic output, or there could be real language differences, though Rand and Montler partially used the same informant.

It is not clear what the "question" requires of you / tells you. In my opinion, it is unreasonable and professionally outrageous to give a transcription like "[okkʰi:tʰatkʰa:]" and require a person to supply syllable boundaries. It is well known that "syllable boundaries" are not phonetic transcriptional primitives, they are a phonological device invoked to simplify certain phonological rules. That means that unless you have some reason to posit a syllable bounday, for some phonological purpose, you should not provide any syllable boundaries. Such a request is analogous to asking "What is the underlying form of [akʰatta]", when you have no basis for saying anything about underlying forms.

Since this is such an outrageous requirement, I don't actually believe that that is what you're being told to do, so maybe re-read the instructions, and provide a bit more information on the data and instructions.

Phonetics and Phonology / Re: IPA k vs kk
« Last post by Daniel on July 09, 2018, 12:01:24 AM »

Languages do syllabification differently, so the only way to answer this correctly is to know the specific syllabification rules/patterns for this language.

There are some reasonable ways to guess (consonant clusters tend to split, for example) but that's just a guess.

Typically geminates (doubled consonants) are found as syllable boundaries, as you intuit. It's hard to imagine a language with phonetically geminate onsets or codas in a single syllable. (I wouldn't entirely rule out the possibility, because languages do some almost unimaginable things.) If they were to appear in those positions phonemically, they'd probably simplify phonetically. But at the same time, sometimes geminates aren't actually pronounced like two copies of the sound anyway (for example, a glottal stop followed by the second consonant), so it's hard to guess about the assumptions of the question.

The best advice I can give you is to answer the questions on any kind of exam based on the instructions and assumed knowledge for that exam. General answers may be 'wrong' in that context, and theories vary (as do notations!).
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