Sounds like Greek to me
haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Dec 12 18:10:38 UTC 2008
There is a whole literature on the "matched guise" technique that
depends on the idea
that speakers have ideas (one might call them prejudices and/or
stereotypes) about other
speakers, based on the way the speak. I have a list on my website of
over 120 matched guise
studies of various sorts, and I think this is the most "objective" way
to approach the subject,
i.e. it asks people to rank speakers in terms of physical and social
traits, e.g. height, educational level, friendliness, and other social
characteristics, based on samples of speech they hear, which are in
by bilingual individuals, e.g. French Canadians and English Canadians.
What the subjects
don't know is that the same person's voice appears twice, so they rank
the two "guises" differently.
I have this list on my website at:
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/bibliogs/MACHGUIS.HTM and there
are of course
other places to find these if one googles "matched guise".
On Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 12:05 PM, Ann Anderson Evans
<annevans123 at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> 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.
>> 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
>> > >
Harold F. Schiffman
Professor Emeritus of
Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Phone: (215) 898-7475
Fax: (215) 573-2138
Email: haroldfs at gmail.com
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