PARLAY Proceedings – Issue 2 (September 2015)

Editors: Veronica Gonzalez Temer, Aiqing Wang, David O'Reilly and Jelena Horvatic
Shift Topic and Topic Continuity in Italian and Modern Hebrew
Ilaria Bacolini
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Following basic assumptions of the Minimalist Program (Chomsky, 1993, 1995), the present contribution aims to analyse the distribution of third null subject pronouns in Modern Hebrew, in comparison with Italian. Based on comparative interface analysis, I argue that a third person singular pronoun in Hebrew, occurring in the same context where in Italian a pro would appear, is a phonologically weak and destressed item. On the other hand, when stressed, it proposes a shift in the conversation to a previously mentioned referent (as argued in Frascarelli & Hinterhölzl, 2007). According to Shlonsky (2009), the pro-drop in Hebrew is closely tied to the phi-features of the verb and third person Null Subjects (NS) are not licensed in the present tense. However, several counterexamples will be discussed and I will claim that the crucial factor that determines where a subject can be omitted is topic continuity in spoken languages. To conclude, evidence is provided that the Topic Criterion hypothesis (Frascarelli, 2007) positively accounts for the distribution of third null pronouns, both in a pro-drop language like Italian and a partial pro-drop language like Modern Hebrew.

The Syntactic Analysis of the Modern Greek Factive pu-Clauses
Catherine Gkritziou
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This paper investigates the internal structure of Modern Greek (MG) Relative Clauses (RCs) and Factive Complement Clauses (FCCs) introduced by the indicative factive complementiser pu, 'that'. Taking as a starting point the assumption that pu is the same lexical item in both embedded constructions, I propose a uniform analysis for pu–clauses. In particular, RCs introduced by pu are analysed on a par with Kayne's (1994, 2008) raising analysis while FCCs introduced by pu require an extra layer in the structure; a null FACT DP adjoins to TP in order to create CP–internal factivity and give rise to a factive interpretation. The resulting structure in FCCs aims to account for the islandhood effects (weak and strong) that pu–clauses essentially create. Uniformity of structure in both clauses is main- tained under the assumption that these clauses are always dominated by a DP node and are headed by a null D which is specified as [Def: ]. The null D head obligatorily selects pu in both clauses given the requirement to value its uninterpretable [def] feature via Agree satisfying locality conditions. Thus, in pu–RCs, the null D gets valued by the [Def:+] fea- ture on the head noun of the RC whereas in pu–FCCs, it gets valued by the [Def:+] on the null FACT DP. This selection comes in a form of Head–Complement relation, i.e. a D–CP complementation analysis for both types of pu–clause.

Phonetic Variation as a Cue to Regional Identity: An Experimental Approach
Daniel Lawrence
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This paper reports on a web-based experiment which investigated British listeners' percep- tual sensitivity to phonetic variation in the vowels of bath, strut, face, and goat. While these vowels are widely reported to be 'shibboleths' of northern/southern regional origin in Britain, perceptual evidence for such a claim has been notably lacking. The present study aimed to address this gap, measuring the extent to which a diverse sample of British listeners could use variation in the target vowels as a perceptual cue to the regional origin of a speaker. A heterogeneous sample of participants from across Britain took part in a web-based regional identification task. Listeners were asked to place recordings of speakers reading isolated words on a clickable map. Among the stimuli were tokens of words containing the target variables, read by four speakers from South Yorkshire. These tokens were digitally manipulated to create two guises: one using vowel variants typical of northern varieties of British English, and one using variants typical of southern varieties. Listeners were more likely to place northern vowel variants in a northern location, with southern variants more likely to be placed in southern locations, confirming the prediction that these vowels function as cues to regional origin among speakers of British English. A comparison of the four vowels using regression analyses and classification methods allows an exploration of quantitative and qualitative differences in the way these variable forms can be used by listeners as socio-perceptual cues.

A Case Study of Diglossia in South Tyrol: German Language Comprehension at Pre-school Age
Mara Maya Victoria Leonardi
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Bavarian is the native language of most South Tyroleans in Italy. Because Bavarian does not have a written form, German is used for reading, writing and formal communication. Few studies have empirically investigated the potential disadvantages posed to Bavarian-speaking children in their early language process. This study addresses language learning at the pre-primary school phase by comparing the German language comprehension of 54 Bavarian-speaking children (mean age=3;8 years) living in northern Italy and 44 native German peers (mean age=4;0 years) from Germany. Since all Bavarian speakers are educated in German, a language structurally distinct from the local form they grow up with, the objective of this research was to examine receptive German language comprehension using the standardized tool TROG-D (Fox, 2013). Preliminary results show that the diglossic context present in South Tyrol interferes with children's performance in German. Native German preschoolers performed significantly better than their Bavarian-speaking age-matched peers.

Neural Substrates of Copredication: When an Unstoppable Scan Meets an Impossible Object
Elliot Murphy
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This paper reviews a number of studies mapping the neural substrates of abstract and concrete word processing, using them as a guide in proposing a project to map the brain regions implicated in copredication. This is the phenomenon of two apparently incompatible properties being attributed to a single object, creating an "impossible" entity. Licencing conditions on copredication are discussed, and the paper concludes by suggesting some new directions for exploring the brain areas implicated in conceptual representations.

The Transfer of Expressive Meaning in the Translation of Synaesthetic Metaphors from Thai to English
Suparak Techacharoenrungrueang and Sudaporn Luksaneeyanawin
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Synaesthetic metaphor is a conceptual phenomenon in which a linguistic expression (or linguistic metaphor) encodes a primary sense modality through a secondary sense modality to convey emotions or feelings. To illustrate, the cross-modal mapping between the auditory domain and the tactile domain is manifested through such synaesthetic linguistic expressions conveying a sense of anger as /khra?1thxxk2 siiang4/1 'hit-sound', /siiang4 khxng4/ 'sound-hard', and /siiang4 riiap2 jen0/ 'sound-smooth-cold'. Crossing sense modalities in synaesthetic expressions (Ullmann, 1962; Williams, 1976; Day, 1996; Yu, 2003; Shen & Gil, 2008; Takada, 2008) reveals both universality and variation in the ways in which perceptual experiences are conceptualised in different languages. The present study therefore explores Thai synaesthetic metaphors and their equivalent English counterparts to find whether Thai synaesthetic expressions are translated into English with the same senses or not. The data were gathered from five famous Thai novels and their English translations. It was found that, in Thai synaesthetic metaphors, the auditory domain as the primary sense was mostly encoded through the tactile domain as the secondary sense. The co-occurrence pattern supports Ullmann's (1959, 1962) proposal that the auditory domain is the predominant target domain for primary sense and the tactile domain is the predominant source domain for secondary sense. The results also showed that the Thai synaesthetic expressions were similar to the English ones in terms of co-occurrence patterns of senses (Wongthai, 2009; Chancharu, 2012). However, some Thai synaesthetic expressions do not share the same translated English synaesthetic expressions, and some were not translated into English synaesthetic expressions. The data appear to show that some synaesthetic expressions are language specific and are motivated by different conceptualisations of senses.

A Cognitive CDA-Approach to the Arab Revolutions: Construal Operations in International Press Language
Stefanie Ullmann
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This paper investigates how the events of the Arab revolutions have been conceptualised linguistically in the media by applying notions of cognitive grammar in a critical study of press language. The analysis is based on a corpus of online news articles published as immediate responses to the 25 January protests in Egypt in 2011 and representing different regional and political perspectives. Focus is laid on grammatical constructions and how they generate alternative event-construal (Langacker, 2000, 2008, 2013). Recurring strategies in representation can be found vis-à-vis the use of transactive constructions, a schematisation of the events as well as different adjustments of scope. Within the framework of Critical Discourse Analysis, the paper also seeks to identify potential ideological qualities of these conceptualisations with regard to civil unrest.

This Revolutionary Situation Has Been Brewing for a Long Time: Metaphors in the Political Speeches about the Ukranian Crisis
Maria Vasilaki
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This paper addresses the power of metaphor in the description and construction of a critical political situation, by focusing on the use of metaphor in the speeches of politicians on the issue of the 2014 Ukrainian crisis. Through qualitative and quantitative analysis of 16 speeches by four politicians central to the dispute, I find and analyse the most prevalent metaphors in the dataset and the effect of their use. I am also looking at how a leader's political orientation influences their use of metaphor. The analysis confirms that metaphors that are considered typical in political discourse, such as journey, family, construction/destruction and war metaphors are also of critical importance here. Moreover, I concluded that politicians with the same interests in this situation, (Obama, Cameron and Yatsenyk), use metaphors in a similar (although not identical way), while Putin, who has opposing interests, constructs a different reality through the same metaphors.

Out-of-the-ordinary Orthography: THe Use of Textisms in Dutch Youngsters' Written Computer-mediated Communication
Lieke Verheijen
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Recent decades have seen an explosive growth in computer-mediated communication (CMC). Since the language used in CMC can deviate from standard language conventions, concerns have been expressed that CMC may degrade youths' reading, writing, or spelling skills. However, before studying the possible impact of CMC on traditional literacy, the ways in which 'CMC language' differs from the standard language need to be established. This article discusses the first findings of an ongoing large-scale corpus study examining the register of written CMC of Dutch youngsters between the ages of twelve and twenty-three, revealing how their CMC language differs from Standard Dutch in various dimensions of writing. The focus here is on a salient orthographic feature, namely the use of textisms (unconventional spellings). A range of CMC modes was investigated, including instant messages, text messages, and microblogs. It is shown that the extent to which CMC users deviate orthographically from the standard language and the degree to which they use particular textism types depends both on CMC mode and on individual user characteristics such as age.

A Cross-Cultural Pragmatic Study: Complimenting in American English and Thai Contemporary Novels
Sakulrat Worathumrong and Sudaporn Luksaneeyanawin
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This study presents cross-cultural pragmatic research on American and Thai compliments focusing on pragmatic structures and strategies found in novels written by American and Thai novelists. The data were collected from three American English and three Thai contemporary novels ranging from 208 to 607 pages in length. The analysis of the data examined the pragmatic structures and strategies in the two languages. Six pragmatic structures in terms of head acts [H] and supportive moves (S) were found. These were: [H] only, [H]+(S), [H]+(S)+[H], (S)+[H], (S)+[H]+(S), and (S) only. The findings showed that both the American and Thai writers preferred to use S-oriented structures in giving compliments. They tended to employ more implicit strategies than explicit strategies. For both cultures, compliments were found as face-boosting or face-enhancing acts. In conclusion, the findings suggest that pragmatic factors (speaker-hearer relationships) in each culture greatly influenced the similarities and differences in compliment structures and strategies reflecting cultural specific pragmatic repertoires.