[Lingtyp] spectrograms in linguistic description and for language comparison
mithun at linguistics.ucsb.edu
Sat Dec 10 19:21:37 UTC 2022
Yes, Christian, speakers certainly do have clear judgments about some
things, often like allomorphy. The trick is teasing out the differences.
On Sat, Dec 10, 2022 at 10:40 AM Randy J. LaPolla <randy.lapolla at gmail.com>
> Dear Lidia,
> balancing of elicitation Vs natural discourse data (especially in terms of
> negative evidence), is not as straightforward as I may have thought before.
> If I may, I’d like to suggest not using negative evidence at all. Here is
> the reasoning I presented in a recent post on Martin’s blog (
> https://dlc.hypotheses.org/) called “Non-Structuralist Linguistics”. I
> also question the whole idea of “grammaticality”, which I think is a
> prescriptivist notion. Here is the relevant passage:
> . . . because of a written bias in the history of linguistics (Linell
> 2005), and later the influence of Rationalism in the late 20th century,
> the use of natural language data is not common, and often either a
> context-less elicitation method and “grammaticality” judgements are used,
> or sentences are made up by the linguist. No other science allows the
> scientist to make up his or her own data, and so this is something
> linguists should give up. Asking for “grammaticality” judgements,
> particularly negative ones, is problematic, because you are not testing
> grammaticality, but testing the person’s ability to imagine a context in
> which the sentence makes sense. This might tell us something about the
> frequency of a form, but not its grammaticality. As Chao Yuen Ren (赵元任)
> commented on Wang Li’s (王⼒) MA thesis "⾔有易，⾔⽆难” (‘It is easy to say what
> does exist, (but) it is difficult to say what does not exist’).
> In fact the whole concept of grammaticality is a prescriptivist notion,
> not a descriptivist notion, established by language teachers based on some
> abstract ideal and influenced by the written bias. What we think of as
> grammaticality is just our sensibilities, which reflect our own habits,
> and whether we can make sense of something by creating a context in which
> it makes sense. There are no fixed rules.
> In writing papers using a usage-based approach, there will be no
> “ungrammatical” examples. All generalizations are made on the basis of
> actual language use. One works inductively.
> All the best,
> PS: This paper was originally published in Chinese, hence the Chinese
> Professor Randy J. LaPolla（罗仁地), PhD FAHA
> Center for Language Sciences
> Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences
> Beijing Normal University at Zhuhai
> A302, Muduo Building, #18 Jinfeng Road, Zhuhai City, Guangdong, China
> ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6100-6196
> On 7 Dec 2022, at 7:50 PM, Lidia Federica Mazzitelli <
> lfmazzitelli at gmail.com> wrote:
> I also think that the discussion is really interesting, and have read (and
> wish to read more) everything with great interest!
> I am also working on the grammar of a previously undescribed and
> relatively endangered language, and the selection of examples from the
> corpus, as well as the balancing of elicitation Vs natural discourse data
> (especially in terms of negative evidence), is not as straightforward as I
> may have thought before.
> Thank you!
> Best, Lidia
> Il mer 7 dic 2022, 22:39 Cat Butz <Cat.Butz at hhu.de> ha scritto:
>> Am 2022-12-05 09:48, schrieb Christian Lehmann:
>> > I am not sure how many members of this list would wish to continue
>> > this discussion.
>> I, for one, am currently writing a grammar for my dissertation and am
>> reading everything in this discussion with great interest. Thanks to
>> everyone participating in this discussion for pointing out all those
>> Cat Butz (she)
>> HHU Düsseldorf, general linguistics
>> Cat Butz (sie)
>> HHU Düsseldorf, allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
>> > For something to count as proof in a science means that it corresponds
>> > to a certain pattern of argumentation by the methodological standards
>> > on which scientists have agreed. These patterns are different for
>> > logical and for empirical sciences. I feel reminded of
>> > Kamlah, Wilhelm & Lorenzen, Paul 1967, _Logische Propädeutik.
>> > Vorschule des vernünftigen Redens._ Mannheim: Bibliographisches
>> > Institut (B.I.-Hochschultaschenbücher).
>> > translated as:
>> > _Logical Propaedeutic: Pre-school of Reasonable Discourse._ Lanham,
>> > Maryland: University Press of America, 1984.
>> > It is true that things are more complicated in empirical disciplines
>> > because we have indeed to agree upon standards of validity. And to the
>> > extent that it is impractical to counter-check everything that a
>> > proponent assures his audience of, there is a portion of trust
>> > involved in scientific discourse of an empirical discipline.
>> > Things work the Kamlah-Lorenzen way if a scientific claim is a simple
>> > general statement of the kind 'in German, the definite article
>> > precedes (rather than follows) the nominal group'. To prove it,
>> > according to established standards of our discipline, it suffices for
>> > me to produce a (probatory) example of a certain kind. If you do not
>> > accept it, you may either operationalize my claim in such a way that
>> > what I produced does not count as an example or to produce a
>> > counter-example (of a postnominal definite article).
>> > The claim about the affix that you use as an example is more complex
>> > since the issue appears to be what the correct analysis of a certain
>> > occurrence is. This would have to be broken down into a set of simpler
>> > statements in order to be tractable by Kamlah & Lorenzen.
>> > Best,
>> > Christian
>> > Am 04.12.22 um 05:26 schrieb Juergen Bohnemeyer:
>> >> Dear Christian – I stand corrected! Thanks for the link, I think
>> >> it’s great that you’ve looked into this issue. I sincerely wish
>> >> more people had.
>> >> And I think I agree with the policy you propose. But allow me to
>> >> elaborate just a little.
>> >> Now, at the risk of splitting hairs, I’m afraid from where I look
>> >> at things, ‘probatory example’ is an oxymoron.
>> >> There’s nothing an example could prove. In fact, there’s no such
>> >> thing as proof in science. Proof only exists in math, including in
>> >> logic.
>> >> The closest equivalent to proof in science is hypothesis testing.
>> >> Can an example ever be said to serve as a test of a hypothesis?
>> >> Let’s say the author is aiming to adjudicate between two competing
>> >> analyses. One predicts that a certain affix will appear in a certain
>> >> environment, while the competing analysis predicts that it won’t.
>> >> Then the author produces an example that instantiates the relevant
>> >> context, and features or doesn’t feature the affix, thereby
>> >> confirming one prediction or the other.
>> >> Under such conditions, the example in question can assume a role
>> >> similar to that of hypothesis testing in experimental science.
>> >> But then immediately validity concerns analogous to those in
>> >> experimentation will present themselves. Such as:
>> >> * Internal validity: Was the example correctly analyzed and coded?
>> >> Is the occurrence of the affix in question actually conditioned
>> >> solely by the factors the competing hypotheses assume, or could it
>> >> also be conditioned by other factors?
>> >> * External validity: Is the example reproducible with other
>> >> members of the speech community? Assuming there are any left!
>> >> * Ecological validity: Does the example actually reflect the
>> >> everyday linguistic behavior of speakers of the language
>> >> (/doculect)? Assuming there still is everyday use by the members of
>> >> the community!
>> >> As I see it, the recommendations your webpage makes for documenting
>> >> the conditions under which a ‘probatory’ example was recorded go
>> >> some way toward addressing concerns with external and ecological
>> >> validity.
>> >> But the biggest challenge for addressing such concerns is in my view
>> >> that we haven’t developed standards for assessing and reporting
>> >> the empirical basis for our descriptions – the speakers we collect
>> >> the data from, and how well they/it represent(s) the speech
>> >> community, or which speech community it represents.
>> >> Best -- Juergen
>> >> Juergen Bohnemeyer (He/Him)
>> >> Professor, Department of Linguistics
>> >> University at Buffalo
>> >> Office: 642 Baldy Hall, UB North Campus
>> >> Mailing address: 609 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260
>> >> Phone: (716) 645 0127
>> >> Fax: (716) 645 3825
>> >> Email: jb77 at buffalo.edu
>> >> Web: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jb77/ 
>> >> Office hours Tu/Th 3:30-4:30pm in 642 Baldy or via Zoom (Meeting ID
>> >> 585 520 2411; Passcode Hoorheh)
>> >> There’s A Crack In Everything - That’s How The Light Gets In
>> >> (Leonard Cohen)
>> >> --
>> >> From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf
>> >> of Christian Lehmann <christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de>
>> >> Date: Friday, December 2, 2022 at 10:18 AM
>> >> To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>> >> <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
>> >> Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] spectrograms in linguistic description and
>> >> for language comparison
>> >> Dear Jürgen,
>> >> to mitigate a bit your pessimist opinion of the methodological
>> >> situation of our discipline, let me mention, as a contribution to
>> >> the discussion you are requiring, my web page
>> >> 
>> >> which advocates a distinction between
>> >> * a probatory example (which is data used as scientific evidence)
>> >> * and an illustrative example (or pedagogical example, which is
>> >> only meant to render a descriptive statement more concrete and,
>> >> thus, to help understanding).
>> >> Methodological standards for these two kinds of examples are
>> >> completely different. On #1, I may recommend:
>> >> Lehmann, Christian 2004, “Data in linguistics.” _The Linguistic
>> >> Review_ 21(3/4):275-310. 
>> >> Best,
>> >> Christian
>> >> --
>> >> Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
>> >> Rudolfstr. 4
>> >> 99092 Erfurt
>> >> Deutschland
>> >> Tel.:
>> >> +49/361/2113417
>> >> E-Post:
>> >> christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
>> >> Web:
>> >> https://www.christianlehmann.eu 
>> > --
>> > Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
>> > Rudolfstr. 4
>> > 99092 Erfurt
>> > Deutschland
>> > Tel.:
>> > +49/361/2113417
>> > E-Post:
>> > christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
>> > Web:
>> > https://www.christianlehmann.eu
>> > Links:
>> > ------
>> >  http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jb77/
>> > 
>> > 
>> > 
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