Sounds like Greek to me

Ann Anderson Evans annevans123 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 12 17:05:07 UTC 2008


Since it depends so completely on who is talking, under what circumstances,
I wonder what kinds of studies could be devised to evaluate peoples'
reactions to "a language."  When referring to impressions gleaned from
audible language "a language" is a series of individuals speaking in
different contexts, and the range of beauty and richness would be extremely
wide.

I lived in Greece for 11 years, and I would challenge the author to speak so
glowingly of the tone of mothers screeching "Mi lerothis," (don't get
dirty), at their kids during a Sunday at the beach.

In Israel the Arabic I heard on the streets was not attractive to my ear, to
say the least, rough and guttural.  Then one night I heard Arabic poetry
being read on the radio.  Talk about rich!  It could hardly be identified as
the same language.


On Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 11:43 AM, Miriam E Ebsworth <mee1 at nyu.edu> wrote:

> Dear AJS,
>
> As I understand it the "psychotypology of languages" refers to inferred
> relationships among languages by often naive  individuals. I can see the
> intersection with folk linguistics as such perceptions are based on
> intuition rather than synchronic and diachronic analysis.
>
> In a world where decisions regarding language learning are often made by
> politicians rather than scientists, this is an important discussion.
>
> Best,
> Miriam
>
> Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, Ph.D.
> <MEE1 at nyu.edu>
> Director of Doctoral Programs in Multilingual Multicultural Studies
> New York University,635 East Building
> 239 Greene St., New York, NY 10003
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Al Haraka <alharaka at gmail.com>
> Date: Friday, December 12, 2008 9:45 am
> Subject: Re: Sounds like Greek to me
> To: lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
>
>
> > Damien and Robert,
> >
> >  I am by no means an expert, with my last linguistics courses over a
> > year
> >  ago.
> >
> >  Nonetheless, I thought professors in sociolinguistics referred to
> > this
> >  subset as "linguistic topology."  I am not sure if it is an
> > independent
> >  field of study or a hobby among really esoteric linguists.  However,
> > I
> >  took a class with Arabic professors on Contrastive (Linguistic)
> > Analysis
> >  (or whatever fancy name they had doctored), and the discussion of
> >  people's impressions on different dialects, the difficulty in
> > learning
> >  other languages, was studied under those respective headings.
> >
> >  I am not sure that helps.  Someone can correct me if they wish.
> >
> >  Regards,
> >  _AJS
> >
> >  Damien Hall wrote:
> >  > Robert asked about linguists' work on folk perceptions of foreign
> >  > languages. Miriam said:
> >  >
> >  >> I believe that Dennis Preston has done substantial work on 'folk
> >  >> linguistics.'
> >  >
> >  > He has indeed, but as far as I'm aware all his work under that
> > rubric
> >  > has been on American dialectology: eg the words that people use to
> >
> >  > describe others' dialects ('nasal', 'Southern twang', etc), and the
> > fact
> >  > that listeners are able to place American accents on a North-South
> >
> >  > continuum with a remarkable degree of precision (when played
> > sentences
> >  > spoken by ten speakers, given a map with a North-South line of ten
> >
> >  > places on it, and asked to match speaker with place). I'm not aware
> > of
> >  > any work Dennis has done on folk perceptions of foreign languages,
> >
> >  > though that, of course, doesn't mean to say that he hasn't done any!
> >  >
> >  > Nevertheless, the question sounds like one that people in
> > educational
> >  > linguistics might well have some tips on. There's a list you cuold
> > ask,
> >  > accessible here:
> >  >
> >  > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/archives/edling.html
> >  >
> >  > All the best
> >  >
> >  > Damien
> >  >
> >
> >
>
>
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