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Morphosyntax / Re: A question about Performativity
« Last post by Old Nick on October 02, 2018, 01:20:17 PM »
Thanks Daniel and Vox for your input. It’s very interesting for me as a non linguist who is not on the path to become one. ;-) I will think about it more thoroughly.

Hello again, just to update, whilst I have not entirely solved the translation riddle I have managed to work out that the Greek bride lived in the Phanar (Fanar/l) on the marriage certificate which was the Greek area of Constantinople.  So whilst we don't have the exact name translation, the help on here has guided my research to further evidence allowing me to reach the conclusion that my ancestor was indeed Greek along with all that entailed in the 1800s in the Ottoman Empire.  Thank you.
Outside of the box / Re: Pronounciation of f, p and ph
« Last post by Daniel on September 29, 2018, 02:32:46 AM »
The sounds certainly are similar in some ways, but they are not the same. In your examples, you're mixing up different languages, dialects, and second-language-learner pronunciations. So there are several different questions here.

What is similar about the sounds is that they are all labial (pronounced with the lips) and also voiceless (versus v and b for example).

The differences:
[f] is a fricative (hissing sound, produced when there is a narrow construction where turbulent airflow makes a sound)
[p] is a stop (or plosive, where a 'popping' sound occurs from the release of a complete construction of airflow)
[pʰ] is like [p] but also aspirated meaning there is a small h-like sound following it, produced by the glottis (vocal folds). Note that frication and aspiration are very similar, which is why you find this sound to be similar to [f].
[pf] is actually a combination sound, where both [p] and [f] are pronounced together. This is called an affricate and another example is "ch", which is really just a combination of "t" and "sh" sounds.

There are also other interesting relationships between sounds that you might not expect. For example, if you record [b] then chop off the initial release (it's a stop sound, like [p]), then you will surprisingly hear [f]. Acoustically the sounds are almost identical aside from the first part. (You might hear something similar with [p], although for [pʰ] the aspiration would probably make it sound different to you, but still similar to some extent.)

So... what does all of this mean? Well, sounds vary in different languages, and when they come in contact, mixing or borrowing occurs in somewhat systematic but also maybe unexpected ways. For example, speakers of some languages replace English "th" with a [t] sound, and others with an [s] sound. Neither one is "more correct" (since both are different from English), but for whatever reason (based probably on the sounds in the language and how they therefore perceive English) speakers of different languages differ in what they think sounds closest. So that would explain the examples of language learners you gave. Something similar would apply to children learning a language as they adjust toward adult-like usage-- this is normal around 5 years old, plus or minus a few years.

As for the example of "pf" in Texas, that's actually from German-- a number of German immigrants historically moved to Texas, and there is even a (now very endangered) dialect of German spoken there (and other similar dialects elsewhere in the United States). Those words are just borrowed from German, for names of towns, streets, etc. (Pfennig means 'penny', for example. I'm not sure about "Pflerge-".) Historically in German, over a thousand years ago, a sound change happened in German where word-initial [p] became [pf]: -- what this means is that variation in speakers (either children learning the language, or via contact, or just general variation in society and then dialects) caught on and became the new norm. This happens in all languages, but in this case it again shows us that these sounds are in some sense related. Additionally, something else happened even earlier (probably around 3,000+ years ago), when [p, t, k] became [f, th, kh~h] in early Germanic-- this is why in English we say "father" but in Spanish the same original root became "padre" (from the distant ancestor of Germanic and Latin, referred to as Proto-Indo-European, where the sound was originally a "p"). See:
Outside of the box / Pronounciation of f, p and ph
« Last post by xian0099 on September 29, 2018, 02:15:47 AM »
Hi, there, I found these consonants have some association with each other  in pronunciation. For example, in Texas, there is a town Pflergeville, the first letter “P” is voiceless, so is for Pfennig Ln in the town. Some Korean pronounce “if” as “ipu”. And in Chinese, p and f can be replaced by each other in pronunciation. I wonder if there is any difference between f and ph in pronunciation. When my son was 1 year old, who was taken care of by his grandma, he called her Pfo-pfo instead po-po (grandma). He learned from his grandma who was from remote mountain area in Southwestern China.
Language-specific analysis / Re: What language is this?
« Last post by panini on September 28, 2018, 09:45:27 AM »
Well, Veps is a possibility. You might ask her is she can understand ( is a sample, but the woman speaks clearly and there isn't a ton of noise).
Morphosyntax / Re: A question about Performativity
« Last post by Daniel on September 28, 2018, 12:06:18 AM »
What vox says is very important, and this is why defining terms (plus ideally providing concrete data regarding something like frequency) is so important.
Morphosyntax / Re: A question about Performativity
« Last post by vox on September 27, 2018, 02:15:54 PM »
Quote from: Old Nick
As I told Daniel my question was whether that mood existed in a language.
The examples I gave (precative, hortative...) can reasonably be considered as existing performative moods.

Quote from: Old Nick
Right or wrong I wouldn’t include in the performative mood stuff that induce other people to perform an action.
Yet the examples you gave earlier induce other people to perform an action : injunctions to God, fans’ cheers, prayers, protestators claiming « Down with bureaucracy » are performed to get someone to do something. They all are a subtype of performative production called directive speech acts :
Directives. The illocutionary point of these consists in the fact that they are attempts (of varying degrees, and hence, more precisely, they are determinates of the determinable which includes attempting) by the speaker to get the hearer to do something. They may be very modest ‘attempts' as when I invite you to do it or suggest that you do it, or they may be very fierce attempts as when I insist that you do it. (Searle, A classification of illocutionary acts, p. 11)

Quote from: Old Nick
Isn’t the speech supposed to perform the action by itself?
It seems that you say ‘a speech that performs the action by itself’ to mean ‘a speech whose semantic content becomes true as soon as it’s pronounced’. For instance Let there be light, I declare open the London Olympic games, The Court sentences you to death have all a content (the existence of the light, the games being open, the fact that you will die) and that content becomes true as soon as those sentences are pronounced. Those speech acts belong to another subtype of performatives called declarative speech acts or declarations (I’m referring to Searle’s taxonymy). As with all speech acts their success depends on many contextual factors, among which speaker’s status.

What Searle calls ‘declarations’ were the first sentences identified as performatives by Austin when he brought to light the constative/performative distinction (even if that distinction fails according to Searle). But even Austin makes a taxonomy of different subtypes of performatives. He provides a wide (and not clear-cut) classification of performative verbs: veridictives (to acquit, to estimate, to assess, to hold...), exercitives (to dismiss, to declare open, to veto, to order, to beg, to warn, to advise...), behabitives (to thank, to congratulate, to bless, to challenge, to apologize...) and other categories. Searle reviewed that classification and later other linguists reviewed Searle’s classification. So a performative is not only a sentence whose content becomes a reality as soon as it’s pronounced. A performative is actually any speech act, any act that is performed by means of language : promising, asking, commanding, requesting, asserting, baptizing, encouraging, refusing, taking an oath, saying ‘hello’, saying ‘good bye’... You can disagree with that conception but you can’t say that only sentences whose content becomes a reality as soon as they’re pronounced are performatives. It’s not exact.
Language-specific analysis / Re: What language is this?
« Last post by aramis720 on September 27, 2018, 12:21:52 PM »
I sent it to a Finnish friend of mine and she didn't recognize anything :( Could it be a variant of Finnish?
Morphosyntax / Re: A question about Performativity
« Last post by Daniel on September 26, 2018, 06:15:43 PM »
Performative is extensively used by government officials too...
You continue to list examples rather than actually provide statistics, but you speak of "frequency". That isn't a good argument. Just imagine if my response here was to list all of the times people use imperatives: "Bosses at work also use imperatives!" and so forth. No one is denying that this usage exists or that it is associated with certain contexts.
IMHO, it’s a pretty common speech mood in certain contexts.
Yes. But "pretty common... in certain contexts" doesn't (necessarily) make it relatively frequent overall in comparison to other aspects of language. And the only way we can really discuss that is with some general measure of frequency, not anecdotes/examples.

    A judge says “You are convicted to a 10 years sentence.”
    A member of the administration signs orders that have practical effects.
The problem with these examples is that even in the way they are expressed in English, they are ambiguous. Yes, there is some effect of performance in addition to what is stated, but these are often just declaratives ("you are convicted") with legal (or other) force. This is another reason that there might not be enough pressure to grammaticalize: they can be expressed in another way.

Performative is missing. ;-)
Definitions typically give only the most salient examples, and they end up a bit circular, based on what is considered central in previous definitions or is researched the most. You've made a case that performatives could receive more attention, and I don't think anyone disagrees. But in order for that to happen, someone, a researcher, will have to take it on as a project, and I've suggested some ways you could do that. And Vox made some points about how these things actually have been studied but under different names, so that's another starting point, to look at that previous research.

Yet initially my question was not why a grammatical performative mood doesn’t exist in the languages I know, French (besides “Que” + subjunctive) and English (besides “Let” + infinitive), but whether some languages might have one.
1) What is "a mood"? English "let" is a specific construction that might fit your definition. But are you only looking for verb suffixes or something like that?
2) I offered the potential example of Arabic. Vox had some other suggestions.

Similarly performative is expressed by a variety of grammatical moods and the context tells what’s actually meant.
As above, I would be cautious to distinguish between whether a form expresses performatives, or whether certain forms are used performatively. Declaratives, as I said, can be used that way, but that doesn't make them necessarily special morphosyntactically.

As a matter of fact I suppose that many people wouldn’t consciously admit they are trying to perform something just by speech.
Perform what? Someone leading an official ceremony or legal proceeding, etc., would certainly be aware of this. And any time when the speaker is not aware is arguably less clearly an example of a performative. I'm not really sure what you're trying to argue here. Additionally, all language is performative in a sense-- if I ask a question, I'm sort of giving a command for you to answer the question, and if I give a command, I'm sort of proclaiming that you must do what I say, and so forth. Or even with simple declaratives, I am asserting that you should believe my description of the world. Many non-linguists would not be aware of that explicitly, but it is trivially true and not hard to convince someone once you explain it.

So as with other aspects of this discussion, it will be very helpful if you provide specific definitions (especially operationalizable definitions, e.g., that you can apply as diagnostic criteria), and also some quantitative data on frequency or other relevant points.

A corpus study consists in studying actual speech acts, right?
A corpus is a body of text. Corpus studies look at that text and report on the distribution of linguistic forms. The majority of that research involves some sort of frequencies. So you identify things, then you count them, then you compare them. There are very complex (e.g., mathematically or computationally) methods, but they almost always boil down to that basic idea: what are the relative frequencies of X and Y?
Actually I would say that performative is used in specific circumstances where the utterer either has an actual power (government officials, Yahweh, Jupiter), believes he has (in religion, magics, etc.) or wishes he has (sports fans, cheer leaders, etc.). I guess it must be mainly oral.
The entire point of corpus research is to get away from speculation and intuitions. What I've suggested is that you take a corpus and annotate each utterance for speech act. Many will be declaratives, some will be interrogatives, etc., and then you will also find some performatives. Then you can report a simple distribution, where 50% are declaratives (or whatever), and finally something like 5% are performatives. Then we can actually talk about this in an objective way.

The very fact that performatives seem to be strongly associated with specific discourse contexts is a strong indication of why the language may not have a generally grammaticalized form for them. (And on the other hand, why specific contexts do have specific traditions, such as "I now pronounce you man and wife...")

I was not thinking about the evolution of idioms (langues in French) but of language in general (langage in French).
Well, we can't observe that. Almost everyone would agree that language is no longer evolving in that sense, and hasn't for thousands of years. Most linguists (not all, but most) today would not claim that for example the earliest written language is any evidence about an early 'less evolved' form of language. The fact is that all humans share the same genetic capacity for language (and that's tens of thousands of years or more). That is one reason research about the topic is controversial: we have no direct evidence.

But you can read a lot about it in current research. So rather than reinventing the wheel, you should start with at least some of that.

There is no trace of animal language remaining today in ours.
Actually some recent research argues there is. Some approaches talk about "syntactic fossils" or basic constructions that might hint at an earlier proto-language. Controversial. But it's out there. Again, do a literature review if you want to know more about this.

La Société [Linguistique de Paris]...
Yes, because there was at the time too much speculation about the topic and it wasn't going anywhere. But that was just one group, and there are many books written in the past 5 or 10 years on the topic for example. It wasn't really taboo then either, just overdiscussed with no clear advancement from continued discussion.
Morphosyntax / Re: A question about Performativity
« Last post by Old Nick on September 26, 2018, 03:52:58 PM »
Hi Vox

Asking why doesn’t a performative mood exist it's asking why speech acts haven’t been grammaticalized (because being a mood it’s being a grammatical category). I think the main reason is because it wouldn’t be economical.
As I told Daniel my question was whether that mood existed in a language.

Many sorts of moods have been identified in different languages throughout the world that one can call “performative”: precative (prayers, requests), commissive (promises, threats), jussive (commands), hortative (encouragements), benefactive (blessings), imprecative (curses, wishing misfortune), optative/volitive (wishes, hopes), prohibitive (prohibitions)…. :
Right or wrong I wouldn’t include in the performative mood stuff that induce other people to perform an action. Isn’t the speech supposed to perform the action by itself?

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