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Linguist's Lounge / Re: Aspiring Linguist
« Last post by Daniel on January 07, 2018, 07:30:02 PM »
If your question is about getting a job, then I would recommend a career-oriented Master's degree rather than a PhD. A doctorate prepares you for one thing: being a professor. At least in an academic field like Linguistics. There are few jobs out there in the "industry". And the jobs in academia are very competitive. If you are certain you want to pursue that path, then I'm not saying you shouldn't. But it's not the easiest or most certain way to a career. That's where I am now, looking for a job as I finish my PhD. A much more direct way to a job is to get a Master's in Speech Pathology, ESL, translation, or computational linguistics. You can still do some Linguistics on the way, but you'll be prepared for a job out there in the world. At best, a PhD would give you the same qualifications as a Master's (and often not!) if you end up looking for a job outside academia.
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Sure, you can do that (or become an Indo-Europeanist still). Typically these specialties allow a little flexibility-- teaching Russian language classes while doing Slavic linguistics research for publication, etc. But it would also limit the topics for your research in a way--  if you work in a Slavic department you would end up mostly doing research on Slavic. Which might be fine for you. You should look at researchers today to see what career path you'd like to do. Then the big question is just whether you can get one of those jobs-- always a trade off-- narrow specialization means you're an expert in a narrow field if that job becomes available but not qualified for a slightly different job. Getting a job these days requires some luck.
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Morphosyntax / Re: Echo Questions
« Last post by Daniel on January 07, 2018, 06:04:01 PM »
I'm still not sure I understand. Echo questions are Wh-questions that function like yes/no questions, true. But I'm not sure where there's room for a third type. Feel free to give some examples (minimal pairs style would help).
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English / Re: please look at this sentence
« Last post by Daniel on January 07, 2018, 06:01:41 PM »
"Used to" highlights a sense of contrast. Both are fine, and the simple past would be the default.

Note: "the Second World War" vs. (no "the") "World War II".
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English / Re: please look at this sentence
« Last post by binumal on January 07, 2018, 01:05:55 PM »
If it is in the past,for example - a)During the World War Two, He woke up at 5.am every day or  b)During the World War Two, He used to  wake up at 5.am every day - which would be preferable?
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Morphosyntax / Re: Echo Questions
« Last post by binumal on January 07, 2018, 12:55:56 PM »
Does it differentiate them semantically as well as syntactically? I'm not sure what that would look like.
Imagine a language which has a question particle that mark interrogatives in addition to an in situ Wh-phrase.What reading would we get if we skip the question particle? Wouldn' t it sound like an echo question? It happens in  some (if not all)spoken varieties of  Malayalam,many spoken varieties in the language  use a particle (e(e)) attatched to the main verb, if this question particle is not pronounced the utterance get an echo-question (like) interpretation....... Not requesting for information,but seeking confirmation of an information- isnt that the property of  an echo-question?
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Thank you for answer! So, now I have no doubt. But how about becoming, for example, Slavic linguist, Germanic linguist, Baltic linguist? Some people say that it would be better to be researcher with something more specific
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Morphosyntax / Re: Syntactic Trees in your posts! [instructions]
« Last post by Daniel on January 06, 2018, 10:13:29 PM »
That's a good question. Unfortunately the linguistics notation conflicts with a programming issue: apostrophes are automatically "escaped" with slashes by the server in order to prevent any attacks with malicious code.

There is probably a way around this, but I've looked into it just briefly, and I think it would require modifying PHP Syntax Tree's code directly (rather than how I've integrated it), and I don't have the time to work that out at the moment (and I prefer to leave third-party plugins alone if possible). I may look into it again later-- it's a good question. Feel free to remind me if it keeps bugging you. If I get some time or want a project to take a break from other things, I might try it. It could be as simple as manually filtering out "\'" from the text that goes into the trees (very surface level, on the PHP Syntax Tree side of things), but the trick there would be finding the right line of code to do that, which is often the tricky part (finding, not fixing). This is actually a bug that should be fixed by PHP Syntax Tree in general (it's an unfortunate coincidence!). Could also try asking the developers about that if they are still working on the project.

Thanks for the feedback.

For now, I would say just go ahead with it as-is-- odd looking, but readable, not really ambiguous. Or you could use an alternative symbol like `.
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Quote
Do you mean situation in USA or all over the world?
Probably especially in the US, but elsewhere as well. Less so in some places with a strong tradition like Germany, but in decline even there. Historical Linguistics (and originally work on Indo-European of course) is really the origin of modern Linguistics in general-- from William Jones's initial popularization of comparative studies to research by Rask, Grimm, etc., and up until the 1900s, the main questions and methodologies in Linguistics were motivated by historical (usually Indo-European) questions. From there, synchronic theoretical approaches took off-- things like figuring out how phonology works in the mind of a speaker, with phonemes, etc., rather than how sounds change over time. And then Generativism with syntax trees and so forth, and then now the turn toward experimental work. Historical Linguistics has, in that sense, been becoming less central for over 100 years, but for most of that time in parallel to the new(er) research rather than being replaced by it. But today, there are fewer and fewer historical linguists, and fewer experts in the field (most today are older professors, not so many new grad students, etc., though there are still a few). I'd say that biggest factor today is the turn toward experimental/laboratory research. An oversimplified explanation would be that if the research involves statistics, it's becoming more popular, and if it doesn't, it's becoming less popular (not only, but especially, Historical Linguistics). In fact, we see that trend with some of the sometimes-nonsensical "big data" publications in Historical Linguistics today, making far-fetched claims that just don't line up with what historical linguists have known for over a century. (E.g., 'big data' research making 'innovative' claims about the Indo-European homeland. I'll add just that I don't think the methodology is "bad" per se, but that it needs to be done as an extension of, rather than alternative to, serious, well-informed Historical Linguistics, which is why I mentioned getting a background in computer science above.)

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Does it mean that there's nothing to research in Indo-European linguistics?
Well, that's part of it too. If you go into Historical Linguistics, there is certainly more to be done in other parts of the world. Overall, most of the big (and "answerable") questions about Indo-European (and some other families) have already been answered. It's unclear whether we'll ever really identify the homeland or be able to decide between hypotheses for earlier relationships (Nostratic, Eurasiatic, Indo-Ugric, etc.). There is still of course a lot of research to be done on individual languages, and it continues to be published. The field is far from dead, but it's less popular now.
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Do you want to say it is dead field? Sounds sad..
No, not dead. But in decline (or declined). Some of it makes sense: a lot of good research has already bee done, and now there are other questions we can ask. But the almost abandonment of Historical Linguistics is sad. I've worked with a well known Indo-Europeanist and he has talked several times (often informally, at department seminars, etc., but also at conferences) about how Historical Linguistics is now being neglected, and sometimes this allows for bad research to surface in its place (e.g., odd claims about homelands, etc.).

I won't forget my first week of grad school when I was walking with a group of classmates and one complained to the rest of us about our Historical Linguistics class. She was apparently indignant that she had to take one class in grad school. Odd, too, because her concentration was in phonetics, which traditionally comes out of historical research. But to me, that was very telling: at the very least, Historical Linguistics is "half" of the research that can be done (every synchronic question can be asked diachronically!-- in fact, it's even more than that-- there are about 6,000 languages around now, and there have been many, many more historically, although of course we don't have access to most of the data, but we can look at languages as they change now, and dialects, etc.). So in the end, there is a general lack of interest, some of the "big" questions have been answered, and other methodologies/subfields are becoming more popular (experimental work, etc.).

Personally, I would also comment that there is a push these days for grad students to become experts in methodologies and become very specialized, rather than learning languages first. It's simply not the case that most students start off with a strong background in Latin and Greek. That used to be the case, so it was easier to become an "Indo-Europeanist". Today, most of the research, I think, is done by narrower experts on specific (sub)families, tied into what has been done in earlier research.
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Morphosyntax / Re: Generative Grammar
« Last post by Daniel on January 06, 2018, 06:29:13 PM »
You called this thread "generative grammar" but that broadly refers to dozens of theories (actually many more) over the last 70+ years. So it's hard to answer your question specifically and the best answer would be found in a textbook or article with a specific analysis of a specific sentence/construction using one iteration of a particular theory.

In general, yes, other parts of speech can select for complements but they are not part of the verbal spine of the clause where the core cases are assigned. Prepositions are similar. You might get dative or genitive but nominative is unlikely. Accusative might be found with some prepositions (but is that a default or actually assigned accusative?). In general in those situations, especially beyond prepositions (and verbs), it's more likely that you get semantic cars than the core grammatical cases. But as I said it depends on the particular analysis. In the most recent iterations of generativism (minimalism, etc.), case is treated not as a property of individual words (and word classes are not even distinguished that much) but as a property of the clause. So in some cases you might get another part of speech functioning as a predicate and have no issues with it also assigning or checking case. But not because of the part of speech. Because of the function in the clause.
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