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Volume 48, Issue 1, 2015
Author Ian BekkerSource: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp i –ii (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5842/47-0-694More Less
It is with great satisfaction that I write this editorial for the second special issue of SPIL Plus (and third special issue overall) dedicated to the Southern African Microlinguistics Workshop series, which began at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University in 2012. At the time of writing this editorial, SAMWOP-4 has already been held from 27-29 November 2015 at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, while SAMWOP-5 will be held in late 2016 at either the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University or the University of the Free State. From the growing number of participants, both local and international, it appears that the workshop series is filling an important gap on the South(ern) African linguistics "scene".
Kadenge & Simango 2014. Comparing vowel hiatus resolution in ciNsenga and chiShona : An Optimality Theory analysis : open reviewAuthor Galen SibandaSource: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 1 –3 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5842/48-0-680More Less
The article provides a formal comparative analysis of repair strategies used to resolve vowel hiatus in ciNsenga and chiShona within the Optimality Theory framework and shows that while vowel hiatus resolution is categorical in chiShona, it is domain-specific in ciNsenga. The analysis shows that vocalic hiatus is generally dispreferred and the two languages use similar repair strategies in most cases to resolve it. These include glide formation, secondary articulation (labialisation) and deletion. Where the repair strategies differ the variation is attributed to the fact that hiatus resolution is sensitive to phonology and morphosyntax, hiatus resolution strategies applying differently depending on the phonological and morphosyntactic context. In fact ciNsenga permits vowel hiatus in these cases while Shona resolves it through spreading (glide epenthesis).
Comparing vowel hiatus resolution in ciNsenga and chiShona : an optimality theory analysis: a reply to Galen SibandaSource: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 5 –7 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5774/48-0-695More Less
In our article (Kadenge and Simango 2014), we set out to present an Optimality Theory (henceforth OT) analysis of intralinguistic and interlinguistic variation of vowel hiatus resolution in ciNsenga and chiShona. We note the variation between ciNsenga and chiShona with respect to how vowel hiatus is resolved in the verbal domain - specifically when the verb stem is V-initial: ciNsenga tolerates hiatus in those contexts whereas chiShona repairs the hiatus through the insertion of a glide (spreading). We account for these facts by proposing that ALIGN (ROOTVERB, L,ó,L) outranks both ONSET and ALIGNL-PSTEM in ciNsenga whereas in chiShona ONSET and ALIGNL-PSTEM outrank ALIGN (ROOTVERB, L,ó,L). We argue that it is the difference in the ranking of these constraints that gives rise to this interlinguistic variation.
Another perspective on Bennett's (2014) 'Agreement, dependencies, and Surface Correspondence in Obolo and beyond' : open reviewAuthor Bruce ConnellSource: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 9 –12 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5842/48-0-679More Less
Bennett (2014) presents an analysis of phonotactic restrictions on nasal consonants in Obolo [ann] within the confines of Optimality Theory (OT) and Surface Correspondence (SC). My intention here is not to challenge Bennett's OT/SC view of nasal consonants as being somehow wrong, though I think such accounts are not very satisfactory in understanding why a language is the way it is. Different theories may describe different aspects of the synchronic behaviour of a language reasonably well, though none perhaps entirely adequately. Rather, given that languages are shaped by a variety of influences, including their history, I look at the comparative and diachronic side of the Obolo data to provide what is both a complementary and alternative view to why the restrictions on nasal Cs in Obolo are what they are.
Author Wm. G. BennettSource: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 13 –15 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5774/48-0-687More Less
Connell's (2015, this volume) reply to Bennett (2014) raises interesting points on a number of counts. The aim of this short paper is to explore how these points relate to facets of a bigger picture, both of how Obolo came to have its nasal agreement pattern, and how such long-distance agreements can arise in general.
Author Mark De VosSource: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 17 –40 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5842/48-0-689More Less
I will outline the so-called "nativist position" as it relates to language. While this debate has a long history, the data on which we can now draw is much richer and more varied than that available when the issues were first articulated and debated in the "60s and "70s. Similarly, the research context is radically different: behaviourism is no longer as dominant as it once was; Linguistics and Cognitive Science are much more theoretically mature and diverse, sporting a rich array of sub-disciplines and perspectives. Along the way, some arguments have proved richer and more sustainable than others and indeed, in my opinion, the nativist position has shifted over the years. In some sense, it might be fair to ask whether the field has outgrown the debate and whether it is still as polarising as it once was. This article attempts to outline a nativist position by looking at the fundamental research questions that define it. Nativism is one possible coherent way of navigating through these questions, though other routes may also be possible. Consequently, there may be new spaces for rapprochement between different linguistic disciplines, which are often concealed by our scientific discourses.
Source: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 41 –67 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5842/48-0-676More Less
This paper sets out an argument in favour of emergentism as an alternative theoretical paradigm to nativism, arguing that it offers a coherent, evidence-based account of language structure, language acquisition, language evolution, and language change. A number of key tenets of the nativist approach are summarised first, including the nature of the presumed complexity of language, the poverty of the input argument against the learnability of language, the assumption of parsimony, the view of language as an innate, biological faculty, and the view of the primary function of language as cognitive representation rather than communication. This is followed by a presentation of the emergentist alternative, which hinges on the notion of the grammatical construction as the central unit in the emergentist approach. The properties of constructions, and how they can come into being with recourse to only domain-general cognitive processes, are presented, before the implications of this view for the structure, acquisition, evolution and change of language are discussed. Additional points of difference with the nativist position are highlighted, including the assumptions of non-parsimonious storage and the centrality of communicative interaction in the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development of language. Throughout the presentation, arguments are illustrated with reference to aspects of complementation in Germanic languages. The article concludes with a detailed case study of the wh-extraction construction, drawing on an analysis of corpus data from Afrikaans, to demonstrate how the construction-based, emergentist approach leads to an insightful analysis of a well-known construction, without having to make extensive assumptions about the underlying linguistic complexity and the need for innate mechanisms to enable the acquisition of such a complex construction.
Author Jochen ZellerSource: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 69 –92 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5842/48-0-682More Less
This paper provides evidence for the view that syntactic movement of an element Y to a position X is not driven by features of the target X, but by features of the moving element Y. The data that constitute evidence for this type of analysis come from A-bar movement constructions (object left and right dislocation; object relativisation) in the Bantu language Zulu. As I show, only object-DPs that move out of the VP in Zulu are active Goals for Agree-relations and can trigger object agreement with the verb. The fact that the functional head responsible for object agreement must be able to identify a DP in its c-command domain as an active Goal entails that the "mobility" of this DP must be encoded as a property of the DP. Based on this conclusion, I also discuss two proposals about the nature of the feature that activates a DP for movement in Zulu and examine the conditions that determine how this feature is checked and deleted through movement.
Author Yolande BothaSource: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 93 –111 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.5842/48-0-690More Less
The determiner some is used primarily as an indication of an unspecified, but particular quantity. The question of whether this core meaning of some is extended in Black South African English (BSAfE) is addressed in this paper. In an intercorpus comparison, it is found (unexpectedly) that the determiner some occurs significantly less frequently in the BSAfE corpus than in the Indian English corpus. However, it is also found that the determiner some precedes plural nouns significantly more frequently in BSAfE than in Indian English. Similar differences are not observed in a comparison of BSAfE with a Kenyan English corpus. In the BSAfE intracorpus investigation, a collexeme analysis indicates a strong collocational attraction between the determiner some and a number of plural nouns. A co-varying collexeme analysis among all possible determiners and five frequently occurring non-singular nouns provides further confirmation of the strong association between some and plural nouns.
Source: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 113 –135 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/http:dx.doi.org/10.5842/48-0-678More Less
In Xitsonga, certain Aspectual Auxiliary verbs (AA verbs) appear with double subject agreement. While these AA verbs have been reported in the description of Xitsonga (Baumbach 1987: 250-252), a systematic morphosyntactic study of these constructions has not been undertaken. This study aims to fill this gap. An AA verb is marked with tense, aspect, mood, negation and relative clause markers and may occur in wh-questions. The lexical verb following the AA verb may be the target of verbal extensions (applicative and reciprocal), reflexive, causative and passive markers.
Source: Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 48, pp 137 –157 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/http:dx.doi.org/10.5842/48-0-688More Less
This article reports on the investigation of the acoustic characteristics of the Afrikaans voiceless alveolar fricative /s/2. As yet, a palatal [Ê?] for /s/ has been reported only in a limited case, namely where /s/ is followed by palatal /j/, for example in the phrase is jy ("are you"), pronounced as [ə-ʃəi]. This seems to be an instance of regressive coarticulation, resulting in coalescence of basic /s/ and /j/. The present study revealed that, especially in the pronunciation of young, white Afrikaans-speakers, /s/ is also palatalised progressively when preceded by /r/ in the coda cluster /rs/, and, to a lesser extent, also in other contexts where /r/ is involved, for example across syllable and word boundaries. Only a slight presence of palatalisation was detected in the production of /s/ in the speech of the white, older speakers of the present study. This finding might be indicative of a definite change in the Afrikaans consonant system. A post hoc reflection is offered here on the possible presence of /s/-fronting, especially in the speech of the younger females. Such pronunciation could very well be a prestige marker for affluent speakers of Afrikaans.