2008 – The Linguistics Journal https://www.linguistics-journal.com TESOL Linguistics Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:43:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Foreword – August 2008 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/foreword-august-2008/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 07:51:04 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/foreword-august-2008/ Foreword. August 2008. Volume 3 Issue 2.

It is my pleasure to present the Summer edition of the Linguistics Journal. The purpose of the journal is to provide a medium for the dissemination of original and high quality research in theoretical as well as applied Linguistics. I believe the journal has been very successful in meeting this aim and it is gratifying to see how much we have grown in recent times both in terms of readership and of the quality of publications. The high quality of the articles is the main reason why the journal is attracting a bigger readership and why it is gaining wider recognition as an international scholarly journal of Linguistics. An indication of this wider recognition is in our recent inclusion in the Blackwell Publishing Linguistics index. These high standards have been possible due to the many authors who submit their research to us, and to our great team of editors and proofreaders who make sure all published articles are of the high standards our readers expect.

This year we are also proud to announce the launch of a special edition of our journal. Due to be published in the Summer of 2009, this edition will focus on the sociolinguistic exploration of Asian languages, cultures and identities. For those interested in submitting an article to this edition, please see our home page for more information and the submission criteria.

In this Summer edition of the Linguistics Journal we are pleased to present five articles which are further evidence of the continued progress our journal has made in recent times. Two articles focus on two important issues in English teaching: Focus on Form Episodes and English pragmatics. The next two articles are fascinating explorations of Swedish compound words and Malay prosody. The former through a detailed semantic analysis of Swedish compounds that contain the term huvud (Eng. ‘head’) and the second breaks new ground in the phonological analysis of Malay syllables and stress. The last paper is a very exciting experimental study on whether word perception in auditory or visual modalities is influenced by the degree of exposure to each modality.

The first article by Farahman Farrokhi, Ali Akbar Ansarin and Zhila Mohammadnia investigates the type and frequency of teacher-initiated preemptive Focus on Form Episodes (FFEs) in ten EFL classes and of two different levels of proficiency. The spontaneity of the FFEs initiation was also explored. The authors found that the proficiency of the learners did not affect the type or quantity of FFEs produced by their teachers. They also found that between vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, vocabulary had the highest rate of preemptive FFES in both proficiency levels and grammar and pronunciation had higher reactive FFEs. Their findings seem to agree with research that says that learners at lower proficiency levels do not focus on form frequently as at their early stages of acquisition their attention is directed in processing meaning. Learners can only begin to pay attention to form when they become more proficient. It may also imply that focus on form is not adequate in drawing learners’ attention to grammar and pronunciation as it is for vocabulary. The authors suggest that deliberately focusing on grammar and pronunciation could be a fruitful thing to do in EFL classes.

The next article on EFL is by Caroline C. Hwang. In this study, the author recalls the tragic death of a young Japanese man in the USA due to the misunderstanding caused by his lack of pragmatic knowledge of the English language. Hwang stresses the fact that there is a real gap between what is taught in classrooms and the real-world English. Through the discussion of several types of pragmatic conventions and their use in socio-cultural contexts the author argues that learners of English need to be exposed to more authentic texts and speakers so as to develop more native-like linguistic awareness.

Ylva Olausson has contributed our third article on a semantic analysis of Swedish compound nouns. The main focus of her paper is to describe how the Swedish simplex word huvud (Eng. ‘head’) is used in its different meanings in 223 compound words. The author succinctly eases the readers through her discussion by comparing Spanish and English. Her analysis shows that there is a difference when huvud is used as the first or last element in a compound word. When huvud is the last element, the meaning extension is more varied and all subgroups are productive. When huvud is the first element only three of the six subgroups are productive. The most conspicuous difference between Swedish and Spanish and English is when huvud is used in its “prefix function” and means ‘the most important part of something’. Both English and Spanish do not use the corresponding words for ‘head’ in these cases and instead use the word ‘principal’ to express this meaning.

The next article from Zuraidah Mohd Don, Gerry Knowles and Janet Yong focuses on Malay prosody. Their findings are very interesting as they seem to contradict the accepted views of Malay prosody. While their initial work seemed agree with previous research and pointed towards Malay having penultimate stress, their analysis leads them to conclude that Malay does not have any stress at all. The authors state “… in spoken Malay corresponding to what phonologists call stress, and that the whole notion of stress is completely irrelevant in the description of Malay. The pitch may go up and down, loudness and tempo may increase or decrease, and on occasion the effect may be superficially similar to that produced by stress in a language like English; but these phenomena are all accounted for independently of stress.” (Conclusion, para. 1). Their findings indicate that syllables may not be relevant in Malay prosody and according to their data there is no high level prosodic patterns in Malay that require reference to the syllable.

The last article is by Raphiq Ibrahim. The study’s aim was to compare performance differences of Native Arabic speakers in identifying spoken words and written words in the Arabic (L1) and Hebrew (L2) languages, and to examine whether such difference in performance patterns are related to factors like type of language and frequency of exposure to each modality (visual, auditory). Two lexical decision experiments were performed, in which the response times and error rates were compared. The results showed a frequency effect for each language- Arabic and Hebrew and within the presentation form (spoken or written), with longer reaction times in lexical decision tasks when the stimuli was presented orally in comparison to the visual presentation. A significant interaction was found between perceptual modalities and the language in which the stimuli were presented. Reaction times to Hebrew words were faster when the words were presented visually, while reaction time times for the Literary Arabic words were faster when they were presented orally. The results of the language exposure questionnaire revealed that in both languages, students whose exposure to a particular modality was greater performed faster and more accurate in that modality.

Finally I would like to thank the authors, the editors and the proofreaders for their efforts in putting this Summer edition of the Linguistics Journal together. I hope you enjoy reading these articles and I look forward to your continued support.

Francesco Cavallaro, Ph.D.
Associate Editor
The Linguistics Journal


 Volume 3. Issue 2. August 2008

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Table of Contents:

Foreword by Francesco Cavallaro

1. Farahman Farrokhi, Ali Akbar Ansarin and Zhila Mohammadnia. . Preemptive Focus on Form: Teachers’ Practices across Proficiencies

2. Caroline C. Hwang. Pragmatic Conventions and Intercultural Competence

3. Ylva Olausson. The Head as an Element in Swedish Compound Words

4. Zuraidah Mohd Don, Gerry Knowles and Janet Yong. How Words can be Misleading: A Study of Syllable Timing and ‘Stress’ in Malay

5. Raphiq Ibrahim. Does Visual and Auditory Word Perceptions have a Language-Selective Input? Evidence from Word Processing in Semitic Languages.

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Tagset Design, Inflected Languages, and N-gram Tagging https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/tagset-design-inflected-languages-and-n-gram-tagging/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:27:05 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/tagset-design-inflected-languages-and-n-gram-tagging/ April 2008. Volume 3 Issue 1

Title
Tagset Design, Inflected Languages, and N-gram Tagging

Author
Anna Feldman

Bio-Data
Anna Feldman is and assistant professor of linguistics and computer science. Here interests are corpus linguistics and computational linguistics

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A Corpus-Based Study of Subjunctive Mood Patterns: Implications for EFL Instruction https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/a-corpus-based-study-of-subjunctive-mood-patterns-implications-for-efl-instruction/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:26:10 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/a-corpus-based-study-of-subjunctive-mood-patterns-implications-for-efl-instruction/ April 2008. Volume 3 Issue 1

Title
A Corpus-Based Study of Subjunctive Mood Patterns: Implications
for EFL Instruction

Authors

Weimin Zhang
Tsinghua University, China/ Georgia State University, USA

Guiling Hu
Georgia State University, USA

Bio-Data
Weimin Zhang is associate professor of Applied Linguistics at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He also is a PhD candidate in applied linguistics at Georgia State University. He has taught English in China and the USA. He has an MA in TEFL from the University of Nottingham. His research interests include corpus linguistics & language pedagogy, language attitudes & sociolinguistics, second language teacher education, and genre theory.

Guiling (Gloria) Hu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Applied Linguistics & ESL at Georgia State University. She has taught English in China and the USA. Her research interests include second language teaching, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and second language teacher education.

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Abstract:
This corpus-based study investigated three patterns of the subjunctive mood (SM) frequently taught in an English as a foreign language (EFL) setting (i.e., would rather, had hoped, and it’s time), involving their frequency and occurrences in the English language and the distribution of the SM syntactic structure in the patterns. The study shows that: a) The SM patterns tend to occur with low frequencies in the corpora; and b) The SM syntactic structure is not the only structure in the patterns and tends to occur less frequently than other syntactic structures in the patterns.

The findings suggest that a discrepancy exists between what is taught about SM in the EFL setting and what is found through corpus-based grammatical descriptions. This study highlights the pedagogical issue that the core grammatical constructions EFL learners should master are not always the ones that have been traditionally emphasized in pedagogic grammars and that EFL learners may spend ample time and effort in what will be of little use to them. Based on the findings, implications for SM teaching are also discussed.

Key words: subjunctive mood; EFL teaching; corpora; grammar teaching

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Testing the Cognitive Categorisations of at in Native and Non-Native English Speakers. Evidence from a Corpus Study https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/testing-the-cognitive-categorisations-of-at-in-native-and-non-native-english-speakers-evidence-from-a-corpus-study/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:25:03 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/testing-the-cognitive-categorisations-of-at-in-native-and-non-native-english-speakers-evidence-from-a-corpus-study/ April 2008. Volume 3 Issue 1

Title
Testing the Cognitive Categorization of at in Native and Non-Native English Speakers. Evidence from a Corpus Study1

Authors
Elsa Gonzalez-Álvarez
University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Susana M. Doval-Suárez
University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Bio-Data
Elsa González-Alvarez is a Lecturer in English at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Her research interests are in the area of second language acquisition. Her early work concentrated on the lexical solutions provided by L2 learners to overcome deficits in written production. This work is reflected in Adquisición y aprendizaje del léxico de una L2 (1999). She then moved on to consider the use of problem solving strategies to overcome lexical problems in L2 oral communication, in particular on the use of morphological creativity and word coinage, as reflected in her PhD dissertation (Lexical Innovation in the Oral Production of English by Spanish Learners), or in Interlanguage Lexical Innovation (2004), among others. Lately, she has focused on the acquisition of L2 prepositions from a cognitive perspective as well as on the effect the manipulation of task complexity has on L2 acquisition (in Investigating Tasks in Formal Language Learning, P. García-Mayo (ed.) 2007).

Susana Doval-Suárez is a Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics in the Department of English, University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), where she received her PhD (awarded the 2003 PhD Extraordinary Prize of the Faculty of Philology, University of Santiago de Compostela). Her research interests include English orthography (both from a diachronic and a synchronic perspective), Contrastive Linguistics, and Second Language Acquisition, with particular reference to the acquisition of a second orthographic system. In this connection, she has described the orthographic interlanguage of L2-English learners following the theoretical framework set by Luelsdorff (1986), as is reflected in The Acquisition of L2-English Spelling (LINCOM Studies in Language Acquisition 10. Lincom Europa, 2004). She is co-author of Análisis de los errores del examen de inglés en las pruebas de acceso a la universidad en el distrito universitario de Galicia (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela: Instituto de Ciencias de la Educación, 1999) and co-editor of Studies in Contrastive Linguistics (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 2002) and of The Dynamics of Language Use: Functional and Contrastive Perspectives (John Benjamins, 2005). She has actively participated in the organisation of the last two editions of the International Contrastive Linguistic Conference (ICLC-2 and ICLC-3) held in Santiago de Compostela in October 2001 and September 2003 respectively.

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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to explore the acquisition of the semantic categories of at by Spanish advanced learners of English. Following the framework of Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (CIA) (Granger et al., 2001) and using a cognitive model of categorisation (Dirven, 1993), we have studied the learner’s linguistic behaviour from the perspective of which semantic functions the learner uses significantly more or significantly less than a native speaker. The data were drawn from two corpora: the Spanish subsection of the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE) and the Louvain Corpus of Native Speaker Essays (LOCNESS). The independent samples T-test revealed that the different semantic categories of at occur with similar frequencies in both groups. Nevertheless, NNS significantly overused the category Time as compared with NS, while underusing Space. The results obtained seem to indicate that Spanish advanced EFL learners have mastered the semantic functions of at in a way that comes quite close to the NS use.

Keywords: cognitive linguistics, semantic categorisation, contrastive interlanguage analysis, polysemy, metaphor

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The Role of Initial English as Foreign Language Proficiency in Lexical Attrition/Retention of Iranian Learners: Is Productive or the Receptive Word Knowledge of Learned Nouns More Likely to be Lost? https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/the-role-of-initial-english-as-foreign-language-proficiency-in-lexical-attrition-retention-of-iranian-learners-is-productive-or-the-receptive-word-knowledge-of-learned-nouns-more-likely-to-be-lost/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:22:55 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/the-role-of-initial-english-as-foreign-language-proficiency-in-lexical-attrition-retention-of-iranian-learners-is-productive-or-the-receptive-word-knowledge-of-learned-nouns-more-likely-to-be-lost/ April 2008. Volume 3 Issue 1

Title
The Role of Initial English as Foreign Language Proficiency in Lexical Attrition/Retention of Iranian Learners:
Is Productive or the Receptive Word Knowledge
of Learned Nouns More Likely to Be Lost?

Author
Mahboobeh Morshedian
Allame Tabatabai University, Iran

Bio-Data
Mahmoobeh Morshedian has over five years of experience in translation from English into Persian and vice versa and over five years of EFL teaching experience in English institutes and universities in Iran. He received an M.A. in TEFL from Allama Tabataba’i University.

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Abstract
In the process of L2/FL learning, learners encounter the serious problem of attrition of learned linguistic knowledge. When formal instruction is over and after a period of L2/FL disuse, learners forget learned materials. This is mostly the case with L2/FL vocabulary (Weltens, 1987); particularly, it is claimed that productive vocabulary rather than receptive is more likely to undergo attrition (Murtagh, 2003). It is also believed that initial level of proficiency before the onset of attrition prevents attrition (Schmid, 2005). This paper investigates lexical attrition/retention among Iranian EFL learners after three months of disuse, with a particular emphasis on the impact of initial proficiency level on the attrition/retention of productive vs. receptive word knowledge of learned nouns.

To this end, the learners’ initial level of proficiency as well as their learning of nouns, which were covered in their reading comprehension course they had just taken, were assessed. Both receptive and productive word knowledge of these nouns were tested through a receptive/productive test. After a three-month interval, the summer break, and at the beginning of the fall semester, this test was administered to them again to measure their retention/attrition of learned nouns over this interval.

It was found that, on the whole, receptive word knowledge is more resistant to loss than productive word knowledge in all proficiency groups. It was also revealed that, irrespective of the productive/ receptive dichotomy, those learners with higher levels of proficiency retained learned nouns more than the others did. However, no significant effect for the initial proficiency level on the attrition/retention of receptive vs. productive word knowledge was observed.

Keywords: Language proficiency, productive vocabulary, receptive vocabulary, language attrition, language retention

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The Asymmetrical Relationship Between the Active and Passive Voice: Implications for Teaching Japanese-to-English Translation of Specialized Scientific Texts https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/the-asymmetrical-relationship-between-the-active-and-passive-voice-implications-for-teaching-japanese-to-english-translation-of-specialized-scientific-texts/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:21:54 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/the-asymmetrical-relationship-between-the-active-and-passive-voice-implications-for-teaching-japanese-to-english-translation-of-specialized-scientific-texts/ April 2008. Volume 3 Issue 1

Title
The Asymmetrical Relationship Between the
Active and Passive Voice: Implications for Teaching Japanese-to-English Translation of Specialized Scientific Texts

Author
Yasunari Fujii
Tokyo Denki University, Japan

Bio-Data
Yasunari Fujii has taught at universities in both Australia and Japan, including the University of Canberra and Tokyo Denki University. He holds an MA in linguistics from Sophia University and a PhD in linguistics from the Australian National University. His major research areas include conversation analysis, sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, and translation theory.

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Abstract:

In scientific writing, the validity of using the passive voice has been firmly established. Use of the passive voice is often preferred and frequently necessary to accurately report scientific research results. In Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translations, however, the issue becomes complex. Often, when the passive voice is used in a Japanese source text, the English translation will read better if the translation uses the active voice, and vice versa. To date, little research into this asymmetrical relationship between the syntactic voice in Japanese to English translations of scientific material has been conducted. This article reports on a quantitative and qualitative study of the translation of a set of specific scientific texts completed by Japanese university students pursuing science and engineering degrees. An analysis of the research results identified specific problem areas, such as complex passive constructions and prepositional phrases, that hinder learners’ success. This study concludes by describing pedagogical considerations to help learners acquire a higher level of competence in this particular aspect of language use.

Keywords: active and passive voice, scientific text, L1-L2 translation

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Downgrading the Importance of What Is Said via Prosodic Cues:A Comparative Perspective on the Use of Stylised Intonation Contours in French and in Finnish https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/downgrading-the-importance-of-what-is-said-via-prosodic-cues-a-comparative-perspective-on-the-use-of-stylised-intonation-contours-in-french-and-in-finnish/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:19:41 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/downgrading-the-importance-of-what-is-said-via-prosodic-cues-a-comparative-perspective-on-the-use-of-stylised-intonation-contours-in-french-and-in-finnish/ April 2008. Volume 3 Issue 1

Title
Downgrading the Importance of What Is Said via Prosodic Cues:A Comparative Perspective on the Use
of Stylised Intonation Contours in French and in Finnish

Author
Mari Lehtinen
University of Helsinki, Finland

Bio-Data
Mari Lehtinen currently works as a researcher and an instructor at the Department of Romance Languages of the University of Helsinki (Finland). So far, she has published eight scientific articles and presented 15 conference papers. She is also one of the five editors of SKY Journal of Linguistics, a refereed general linguistic journal published by The Linguistic Association of Finland. Originally a teacher of French and Philosophy, she used to work as a schoolteacher before entering the academic world.

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Abstract:
The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the results of a comparative study concerning the use of certain intonation contours in French and in Finnish. More precisely, I point out that certain prosodic features are used to convey similar kinds of modal implications in these two fundamentally different languages. Acoustically, the contours under consideration consist of one or several pitch rises. Concerning their uses, the most essential feature is that they are both typically used to index a poor information value. Methodologically, the work falls within the scope of conversation analysis (CA).

Keywords: Prosody, Intonation, Intonation patterns, Conversation Analysis, Pitch rises

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Foreword – Spring 2008 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/foreword-spring-2008/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:17:04 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/foreword-spring-2008/ Foreword to Spring 2008, Volume 3 Issue 1

For the first edition of the Linguistics Journal for 2008 we are pleased to present six articles. Congratulations to all the authors whose papers have been accepted. Two additional Associate Editors, Katalin Egri Ku-Mesu and Jeanette Sakel, have been appointed to supervise submissions. The number of editors reviewing papers has been increasing as well. We would like to thank all reviewers, editors, proofreaders and authors for their valuable contributions. A special thank goes to the Associate Editor Steve Walsh who is moving on. We wish him all the best.

The first contribution comes from Mari Lehtinen, University of Helsinki (Finland).The study shows that similar kinds of modal implications are conveyed both in French and in Finnish via stylised intonation contours consisting of pitch rises. The author presents the so-called figure of familiarity of Finnish, including only one pitch rise, and the French undulating figure, consisting of several pitch rises, and points out how different the shapes of the phenomena are. This investigation falls within the scope of conversation analysis, and makes use of an interaction-based perspective. The author regards Gumperz’s contextualisation theory as central for this paper, as, according to Gumperz (Gumperz 1982, 1992), speakers construct a context for their utterances with the help of different contextualisation cues, such as prosodic cues, gaze direction, gestures, mimics, and postures. The author draws on Finnish data that comes from large collections of everyday and institutional interaction consisting of both phone calls and face-to-face interaction. The French data, in turn, comes from six radio broadcasts transmitted by different French radio stations. Finally, the author raises the question of the universality of the functions of certain melodic features as the similarities concerning the uses of certain pitch contours in these two unrelated languages, French and Finnish, cannot be explained by their common origins.

Yasunari Fujii from Tokyo Denki University (Japan), investigates the passive voice in scientific writing in Japanese-to-English translations in the second paper of this volume. This paper is in line with English grammarians, such as Maimon et al. (1981, p. 219) who suggest that science writing should convey factual information in an objective tone without heavy reliance on the passive voice, but the author argues that the passive voice does have its specific uses in science writing, such as in experiments. The author looked at the writing of 207 Japanese undergraduate students, all science or engineering majors. He points out that English speakers might choose the passive voice for stylistic reasons to call attention to an action or resulting actions rather than an agent. In Japanese, the passive is not as widely used for these reasons as the subject is often omitted unless the agent needs to be explicitly identified in the context. This study confirms that language teachers are not translators and that language teaching and translation are vastly different professions. Based on an exploration of the frequency and types of potential problems involving active/passive voice constructions in Japanese-English translation of a set of specialised scientific texts, the article discusses pedagogical strategies designed to enhance translation training.

The third paper comes from Mahboobeh Morshedian, Allamah Tabataba’i University (Iran). The author looks at lexical attrition/retention among Iranian EFL learners who haven’t been using English for three months. The particular emphasis is here on the impact of initial proficiency level on the attrition/retention of productive vs. receptive word knowledge of learned nouns. He compares the results of the receptive/productive test, modelled on The Vocabulary Levels Tests (Nation 1983, 1990; Laufer & Nation 1995), taken by the learners at the end of their reading comprehension course, with the results of the same test taken by the same participants after the summer break. In this study, the role of proficiency level was reaffirmed about the EFL lexical (noun) attrition, and the author argues that the difference in proficiency levels must be remarkable to have an effect on the L2 lexical retention. This finding is presented in contrast with the results of some other studies (Weltens, 1989, cited in Weltens & Grendel, 1993, p. 139), which show that the amount of lost knowledge seems to be independent of the original level of proficiency. According to the author, in most of these studies, the level of proficiency is described in terms of years of studying the attrition language, which is, at best, a crude means of operationalizing the construct. The author comes to the conclusion that all participants – irrespective of their initial proficiency level – retained more receptive word knowledge than productive word knowledge after the summer vacation.

The fourth paper comes from Elsa Gonzalez-Álvarez, University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), and from Susana M. Doval-Suárez, University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). In this paper the authors explore the acquisition of the semantic categories of at by Spanish advanced learners of English. The study follows the framework of Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (CIA) (Granger et al. 2001), and investigates the learner’s linguistic behaviour from the perspective of what semantic functions the learner uses significantly more or significantly less than a native speaker. The authors use a Corpus Linguistics methodology and investigate the data from two comparable corpora. The first corpus used, is the Spanish component of the International Corpus of Learner English (SPICLE), and the second corpus used, the control corpus, is the LOCNESS (the Louvain Corpus of Native English Essays). In summary, the study aims to show the usefulness of applying a cognitive model of categorisation to the description of the learner’s use of prepositions. Finally, the authors ask for more research to investigate the importance of the learners’ L1 in the process of acquisition of the semantics of at.

Weimin Zhang from Tsinghua University (China)/ Georgia State University (USA), and Guiling Hu from Georgia State University, present a study drawing on a quantitative analysis of the Collins WordBanksOnline English corpus. They investigate three patterns of the subjunctive mood (SM) patterns in an English as a foreign language (EFL) setting (i.e., would rather, had hoped, and it’s time). The authors show that the occurrences and frequency of the three patterns are not very high in the corpora, but some sub-patterns even have a very low frequency in the corpora—for example, it’s about time (2.2 per million), would sooner (0.7 per million), and would just as soon (0.4 per million). The authors argue that whatever should be tested also needs to be based on corpora of authentic language, as it may otherwise mislead EFL teaching and learning. In summary, this study implies that it is time for Chinese EFL educators and material developers to reconsider grammar instruction from a corpus-based perspective. In line with other corpus researchers (Owen, 1993; Sinclair, 1997), the authors agree that language teaching needs to focus on the core grammatical constructions that are frequently used and are based on authentic language.

The final paper is written by Anna Feldman from Montclair State University (USA). This paper explores the relationship between the tagset design and linguistic properties of inflected languages for the task of morphosyntactic tagging. Her study investigates a number of properties of Slavic (in this paper Russian, Polish, and Czech) and Romance languages (in this paper Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan) quantitatively. She presents the problem of tagset design as particularly important for highly inflected languages, such as Russian, Czech, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish. One of the questions presented in this paper is whether all syntactic variations, realized in theses languages by means of morphological affixes, should be represented in the tagset. The author points out that an interesting result of the investigation supports the existence of a relatively fixed order of syntactic constituents in so-called“free word order” languages and provides an additional argument in favour of using the n-gram techniques for tagging theses languages.

Andrea Milde, PhD
Associate Editor
The Linguistics Journal


 Table of Contents:

Foreword by Andrea Milde

1. Mari Lehtinen. Downgrading the Importance of What Is Said via Prosodic Cues:A Comparative Perspective on the Use of Stylised Intonation Contours in French and in Finnish

2. Yasunari Fujii. The Asymmetrical Relationship Between the Active and Passive Voice: Implications for Teaching Japanese-to-English Translation of Specialized Scientific Texts

3. Mahboobeh Morshedian. The Role of Initial English as Foreign Language Proficiency in Lexical Attrition/Retention of Iranian Learners: Is Productive or the Receptive Word Knowledge of Learned Nouns More Likely to be Lost?

4. Elsa Gonzalez-Álvarez & Susana M. Doval-Suárez. Testing the Cognitive Categorisations of at in Native and Non-Native English Speakers. Evidence from a Corpus Study

5. Weimin Zhang & Guiling Hu. A Corpus-Based Study of Subjunctive Mood Patterns: Implications for EFL Instruction

6. Anna Feldman. Tagset Design, Inflected Languages, and N-gram Tagging

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Does Visual and Auditory Word Perceptions have a Language-Selective Input? Evidence from Word Processing in Semitic Languages. https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/does-visual-and-auditory-word-perceptions-have-a-language-selective-input-evidence-from-word-processing-in-semitic-languages/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:16:01 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/does-visual-and-auditory-word-perceptions-have-a-language-selective-input-evidence-from-word-processing-in-semitic-languages/ August 2008. Volume 3 Issue 2

Title
Does Visual and Auditory Word Perception have a Language-Selective Input? Evidence from Word Processing in Semitic languages

Author
Raphiq Ibrahim
University of Haifa,
Israel

Bio-Data
Raphiq Ibrahim is a lecturer at the learning disabilities department of Haifa University and neuropsychologist in the cognitive neurology department at Ramba Medical Center in Haifa. His research is in psycholinguistics (including visual and auditory word perception and bilingualism) and the organization of higher cognitive functions in the cerebral hemispheres of the brain.

Abstract
The goal of this study was to compare performance differences of Native Arabic speakers in identifying spoken words and written words in the Arabic (L1) and Hebrew (L2) languages, and to examine whether such difference in performance patterns are related to the factors like; type of language and frequency of exposure to each modality (visual, auditory). Two lexical decision experiments were performed, in which the response times (reaction time- RT) and error rates were compared. In addition, each subject completed a structured questionnaire that examined the level of exposure to speech and reading in each language. The results showed a frequency effect within the language (for each language- Arabic and Hebrew) and within the presentation form (spoken or written), with longer reaction times in lexical decision tasks when the stimuli was presented orally in comparison to the visual presentation. A significant interaction was found between perceptual modalities and the language in which the stimuli were presented. Reaction times to Hebrew words were faster when the words were presented visually, while reaction time times for the Literary Arabic words were faster when they were presented orally. The results of the language exposure questionnaire revealed that in both languages, students whose exposure to a particular modality was greater performed faster and more accurate in that modality. These findings can be explained with the fact that mature Arab students read more in Hebrew at schools and hear more in Literary Arabic Consequently, Arab linguistic experience in a second language (L2) relies more on visual modality, and that affects significantly the language processing of this modality.

Keywords bilingualism, auditory, visual, word identification, Arabic, Hebrew

Introduction
The research on bilingualism has focused on two views. The first view was the lexical organization of the two languages in the cognitive system of bilinguals (see Kroll & de Groot, 1997) and the relationship between semantically related words and translation equivalents across languages (e.g., de Groot, 1995; Grainger & Frenck-Mestre, 1998). A second view in this area of research focused on the difficulties that second language learners encounter on both the visual and auditory perception (see Piske et al., 2001 for review). Of particular interest were questions addressing spoken (Flege et al., 1999) and written words in native and in second language (Johnson & Newport, 1989). In this work I am interested in investigating issues related to the second view (differences between visual and auditory perception). I asked whether the two forms of word (visual and auditory) identification systems are independent and have a language-selective input. Specifically, I am interested to know how specific information provided by printed or spoken words interacts during word perception (e.g., Taraban & McClelland, 1987) and whether word perception in different modalities are differentially influenced by the degree of exposure to these modalities. The mechanism by which the experience of these modalities affects second language processing is unclear (e.g., Best & Strange, 1992). Such a mechanism might involve phonetic (segmental and supra-segmental), phonological, lexical, and/or other linguistic and extra-linguistic processes (Guiora, 1994).
The language situation in Israel represents a fully complicated case that includes the coexistence of two official state languages (Hebrew and Arabic). This leads to situation in which the majority of Arab students in Israel are bilinguals. Operationally, I tried to examine whether word perception in auditory or visual modalities are differentially influenced by degree of exposure to these modalities in L1 and L2. To achieve this aim, lexical decision paradigm and accuracy measures were used, in which participants were presented to Arabic and Hebrew words auditorally and visually, and were asked to identify the stimuli. The target population was adult Arabic Learning experience of Hebrew. The question I asked in this study is: how does the degree of exposure to different modalities affect the cognitive system? Given that Learning experience in the two languages differ in both modalities, the question is how this affects the performance pattern in word perception.

Bilingualism
For a long time, bilingualism was believed to require two separate word processing systems that function independently, and that can be accessed selectively. These assumptions are both intuitively appealing and have guided empirical research on multiple language proficiency for decades. Kroll and colleagues (Kroll & Stewart, 1994) proposed a model called the “Revised Hierarchical Model” which assumes separate lexicons postulated for L1 and L2. These two lexicons are connected to one another and to a common semantic system where word meanings are stored. The model is asymmetric, because for unbalanced bilinguals the connections from L2 word forms to their L1 translations are stronger than the other way around, because L2 words are often learned by associating them with their L1 translation. Other researchers assumed that even if L1 and L2 are activated simultaneously, at the functional level they can still be considered as two independent language systems, at least as far as word form identification is concerned (Paradis, 1997). Paradis put a three-store hypothesis of word perception, in which a distinction is made between word forms (orthographic and phonological forms with their syntactic properties), word meanings (which are often language-dependent), and conceptual features (the nonlinguistic mental representations underlying human thoughts). In Paradis’ model, the first two types of representations are language-specific, whereas the last is shared by the two languages.

Spoken word perception
In spoken word perception, the input reaches the listener sequentially over time. Many words take a few hundred milliseconds to pronounce, and very often these words are recognized before the complete signal has been presented. The “Cohort Model” of spoken word perception assumes that the selection of a lexical candidate would depend on a process of mutual differentiation between the activation levels of the target word and its competitors (Marlsen-Wilson, 1987). This assumption predicts that a word with competitors of higher usage frequency should be recognized more slowly than a word matched on frequency but with lower frequency competitors. However, there is no consensus regarding the nature of the competitor set for a spoken word. The competitors are defined as consisting of all the words that may be generated by the addition, deletion or substitution of a single segment, and competition between candidates can potentially start at different points of time. In the first stage, implemented as a simple recurrent network, all potential lexical candidates beginning at every phoneme in the input are activated in a strictly bottom-up fashion. Another important characteristic of the Cohort Model is that the activation of neighbors takes place in parallel, at no cost. As a consequence, there should be no effect of the number of neighbors with which the target word has to compete. Elman and McClelland (1984) developed a TRACE Model of speech perception that depicts speech as a process in which speech units are arranged into levels and interact with each other. The three levels are: features, phonemes, and words. The levels are comprised of processing units, or nodes; for example, within the feature level, there are individual nodes that detect voicing. To perceive speech, the feature nodes are activated initially, followed in time by the phoneme and then word nodes. Thus, activation is bottom-up. Activation can also spread top-down, however, and the TRACE Model describes how context can influence the perception of individual phonemes.

Visual word perception
In several models of visual word perception, researchers have proposed that fluent readers do not use the phonological information conveyed by printed words until after their meaning has been identified (e.g. Jared & Seidenberg, 1991). In their extreme forms, such models assume that, although orthographic units may automatically activate phonological units in parallel with the activation of meaning, lexical access and the identification of printed words may be mediated exclusively by orthographic word-unit attractors in a parallel distributed network (if one takes a connectionist approach, e.g., Hinton & Shallice, 1991) or by a visual logogen system (if one prefers a more traditional view, e.g., Morton & Patterson, 1980). Much of the empirical evidence supporting the orthographic-semantic models of word perception comes from the neuropsychological laboratory. For example, patients with an acquired alexia labeled deep dyslexia apparently cannot use grapheme-to-phoneme translation, yet they are able to identify printed high-frequency words (Patterson, 1981).

Furthermore, the reading errors made by such patients are predominantly semantic paralexias and visual confusions (for a review, see Coltheart, 1980). These data were therefore interpreted as reflecting identification of printed words by their whole-word visual-orthographic (rather than phonological) structure. The propriety of generalizing these data to normal reading is questionable, but additional support for the orthographic-semantic view can also be found in studies of normal word perception. For example, in Hebrew (as in Arabic), letters represent mostly consonants, whereas vowels may be represented in print by a set of diacritical marks (points). These points are frequently not printed, and under these circumstances, isolated words are phonologically and semantically ambiguous. Nevertheless, it has been found that in both Hebrew (Bentin, Bargai, & Katz, 1984) and Arabic (Roman & Pavard, 1987, Bentin & Ibrahim, 1996) the addition of phonological disambiguating vowel points inhibits (rather than facilitates) lexical decision . On the basis of such results, it has been suggested that, at least in Hebrew, correct lexical decisions may be initiated on the basis of orthographic codes, before a particular phonological unit has been accessed (Bentin & Frost, 1987). In English, a distinction has been made between frequent and infrequent words.

Whereas it is usually accepted that phonological processing is required to identify infrequent words, frequent words are presumed to be identified on the basis of their familiar orthographic pattern (Seidenberg, 1995). Advocates of phonological mediation, on the other hand, claim that access to semantic memory is necessarily mediated by phonology (e.g., Frost, 1995). In a “weaker” form of the phonological- mediation view, it is suggested that although the phonologic structure may not necessarily be a vehicle for semantic access, it is automatically activated and integrated in the process of word perception (Van Orden et al, 1988). Such models assume that phonological entries in the lexicon can be either accessed by assembling the phonological structures at a prelexical level or addressed directly from print, using whole-word orthographic patterns. The problem of orthographic-phonemic irregularity is thus solved by acceptance of the concept of addressed phonology. Indeed, cross-language comparisons indicate that addressed phonology is the preferred strategy for naming printed words in deep orthographies (Frost, Katz, & Bentin, 1987; but see Frost, 1995). The assumption that words can be represented by orthographic, phonological, and semantic components is not new. Distributed representation triangle models (Plaut et.al, 1996) explicitly represent these three levels without having a level of lexical representation. Symbolic dual-route models (Coltheart et al., 2001) also represent these components. Although the constituency framework is theoretically neutral among various possible implementations, our description of it relies on a symbolic system. Thus, we emphasize that word representations comprise constituent identities. We also emphasize that the constituency framework is universal, not language or writing-system dependent.

In any writing system, it is the representation of the word that is at issue, and the specification of a value on each of the variables (the constituents) provides the identity of the word as it is represented in an idealized mental lexicon. The process of identification becomes one of specifying constituents. In processing terms, written word perception entails the retrieval of a phonological form and meaning information from a graphic form. Given that all of the above strategies are in principle possible, the focus of most contemporary studies of word perception has shifted from attempting to determine which of the above theories is better supported by empirical evidence, to understanding how the different kinds of information provided by printed or spoken words interact during word perception (e.g., Taraban & McClelland, 1987). To achieve this aim, we took advantage of a specific property found in both Arabic language and Hebrew language in which they related in the spoken form but unrelated in the printed form.

Arabic and Hebrew- Background and Characteristics
As Semitic languages, words in Arabic and Hebrew have similar morphological structures. Regardless if these words based on inflectional or derivational forms, the morpheme-based lexicon of these families implies the existence of roots and templates. Previous studies such as Harris (1951) recognized roots as autonomous morphemes expressing the basic meaning of the word. Roots are abstract entities that are separated by vowels adding morphological information (e.g., in Arabic, the perfective /a-a/ in daraba ‘hit’, or the passive /u-i/ in duriba ‘was hitten’. In Hebrew for example, the perfective /a-a/ in lakah ‘took’, or the passive /ni-a/ in nilkah ‘was taken’). Other researchers defined both Semitic languages as non-concatenate, highly productive derivational morphology (Berman, 1978). According to this approach, most words are derived by embedding a root (generally trilateral) into a morpho-phonological word pattern when various derivatives are formed by the addition of affixes and vowels. Also, in Arabic and Hebrew, there are four letters which also specify long vowels, in addition to their role in signifying specific consonants (in Arabic there are only three – a, u, y ا و ي). However, in some cases it is difficult for the reader to determine whether these dual-function letters represent a vowel or a consonant. When vowels do appear (in poetry, children’s books and liturgical texts), they are signified by diacritical marks above, below or within the body of the word. Inclusion of these marks specifies the phonological form of the orthographic string, making it completely transparent in terms of orthographic/phonological relations.
In regard to semantics, the root conveys the core meaning, while the phonological pattern conveys word class information. For example, in Arabic the word (TAKREEM) consists of the root (KRM, whose semantic space includes things having to do with respect) and the phonological pattern TA—I. The combination results in the word ‘honor’. In Hebrew, the word (SIFRA) consists of the root (SFR- whose semantic space includes things having to do with counting) and the phonological pattern –I—A, which tends to occur in words denoting singular feminine nouns, resulting in the word ‘numeral’. As the majority of written materials do not include the diacritical marks, a single printed word is often not only ambiguous between different lexical items (this ambiguity is normally solved by semantic and syntactic processes in text comprehension), but also does not specify the phonological form of the letter string. Thus in their unpointed form, Hebrew and Arabic orthographies contain a limited amount of vowel information and include a large number of homographs. Comparing to Hebrew, Arabic includes much larger number of homographs thus, it is much more complicated than Hebrew.
Despite the similarity between these languages, there are major differences between Arabic and Hebrew. First, Arabic has special case of diglossia that does not exist in Hebrew. Literary Arabic is universally used in the Arab world for formal communication and is known as “written Arabic” called also “Modern Standard Arabic” (MSA) and Spoken Arabic appears partly or entirely in colloquial dialect and it is the language of everyday communication and has no written form. Although sharing a limited subgroup of words, the two forms of Arabic are phonologically, morphologically, and syntactically different. This added complexity is found in several characteristics that occur in both orthographies, but to a much larger extent in Arabic than in Hebrew. The latter has to do with orthography that includes letters, diacritics and dots. In the two orthographies some letters are represented by different shapes, depending on their placement in the word. Again, this is much less extensive in Hebrew than in Arabic. In Hebrew, there are five letters that change shape when they are word final: ( מ-ם , כ -ך ,פ-ף,צ-ץ ,נ- ן ). In Arabic, 22 of the 28 letters in the alphabet have four shapes each (for example, the phoneme /h/ is represented as:ه٬ ـه٬ ﻬ ﻪ ).

Thus, the grapheme-phoneme relations are quite complex in Arabic, with similar graphemes representing quite different phonemes, and different graphemes representing the same phoneme. Concerning dots in Hebrew, they occur only as diacritics to mark vowels and as a stress-marking device (dagesh). In the case of three letters, this stress-marking device (which does not appear in voweless scripts) changes the phonemic representation of the letters from fricatives (v, x, f) to stops (b, k, p for the letters ב ק פ respectively). In the voweless form of the script, these letters can be disambiguated by their place in the word, as only word or syllable initial placement indicates the stop consonant. In Arabic, the use of dots is more extensive: many letters have a similar or even identical structure and are distinguished only on the basis of the existence, location and number of dots (e.g., the Arabic letters representing /t/ and /n/ ن , ت) become the graphemes representing /th/ and /b/ ( ب , ث) by adding or changing the number or location of dots.
Many studies have demonstrated bilinguals do not recognize written words exactly the same as monolinguals. For example, it was proven that visual word perception in L2 is affected by the native language of the reader (e.g., Wang, Koda, & Perfetti, 2003). However, the opposite is true as well: knowledge of L2 may have impact on the identification of printed L1 words was published by Bijeljac-Babic, Biardeau, and Grainger (1997). In comparative studies of different languages, there are two points of comparison: The speech and the writing system. Thus, in comparing Arabic and Hebrew reading, we compare examples of two related language families (Semetic languages) that are similar in their morphological structure but radically differ in their orthographic and phonetic systems. Recent studies on Hebrew (Frost, Deutsch & Forster, 1997) and Arabic (Mahadin, 1982.) support the assumption that roots can be accessed as independent morphological units. Recent research in the area of speech perception has suggested that there are differences in the phonetic perception of the speech signal between native and nonnative speakers (for reviews see Flege, 1992). These findings suggest that adult second language learners perform an assimilation process by which they perceive and produce L2 sounds via their L1 phonological system, at least at some stage of L2 acquisition (e.g., Major, 1999). It must be noted, however, that adaptation of phonetic features (categories) of L2 is a necessary component of second language (speech) acquisition, and, consequently, bilinguals who attain a high level of proficiency in their L2 are able to exploit the phonetic categories of that language in speech production and perception (Goetry & Kolinsky, 2000). Further evidence for assimilation process comes from a case study we described (Eviatar, Leikin, & Ibrahim, 1999) in which a Russian-Hebrew bilingual aphasic woman showed a dissociation between her ability to perceive her second language (learned in adulthood) when it was spoken by a native speaker versus when it was spoken by a speaker with an accent like her own. We interpret this as supporting the hypothesis that perception of second language (L2) sounds is affected by phonological categories of their native language (L1), and that this assimilation procedure can be differentially damaged, such that L2 speech that conforms to L1 phonology (accented speech) is better perceived than phonemically correct L2 speech. This interpretation is supported also by an interesting dissociation in the writing abilities of the patient.

Method
Participants
The participants were 48 high school seniors (24 boys and 24 girls). Half of them were instructed to make lexical decisions for visual stimuli, and the other half were instructed to make lexical decisions for the same stimuli presented orally. In addition, the participants were asked to fill out a 12 item questionnaire in an attempt to assess the learning experience and degree of exposure to Arabic and Hebrew in both modalities. The responses were on a Likert scale with in general (a) being maximum exposure to a one language, (e) being maximum exposure to the other and (b c d) in moderate level of both. The questionnaire is presented in the Appendix. No subjects with neurological deficits or learning disabilities were chosen to participate in the study.

Stimuli
Ninety-six Arabic stimuli were used: 48 frequent words and 48 non-frequent words. The words were from among the subset used in both spoken and literary Arabic. Among them, 24 were high frequency, and 24 were low frequency. Ninety-six Hebrew stimuli were used: 48 frequent words and 48 non frequent words. All pseudowords (96 in Arabic and 96 in Hebrew) were built on the basis of real words by replacing on or two letters keeping the pronunciation of the stimuli acceptable.
The stimuli were recorded in a male voice, native speaker of the local dialect, and were presented to the participants orally, through earphones. The words underwent computer processing, designed to equalize their volume, and their length, as much as possible (700 ms duration time, on the average). A computer was used to present the stimuli.

Procedure
The participants were requested to perform a lexical decision task. The stimuli were presented at a steady rate, and the SOA (Stimulus Onset Asynchrony) was 2000 milliseconds. In this task, participants pressed one key with their dominant-hand index finger for positive answers and pressed another key with their non dominant hand index finger for negative answers. In Arabic, because of the poor quality of computer fonts, calligraphic-written stimuli were used. In the visual test, the stimuli remained on the screen until a response had been given. Because the same stimuli were used for both auditory and visual task, different participants were tested for each task. Half of the participants began the session with Arabic, and the other half began with the session with Hebrew.
In the auditory test, it was explained to the participants that they were about to hear words and pseudowords in different languages, and they were to indicate, by pressing a button, whether the phonological string presented was a word. The dominant hand was used for the affirmative detection of a word and the other hand for the negative detection of a pseudo-word. Accuracy and speed were equally stressed. The experiments were conducted at the school in a relatively quiet classroom. Experimental instructions were given in Spoken Arabic at the beginning of the session. After this session, the participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire assessing the learning experience and degree of exposure to Arabic and Hebrew in both modalities.

Results
Mean RTs for correct responses and percentage of errors were calculated separately for each participant for high- and low-frequency words and for pseudowords. RTs that were above or below two standard deviations from the participants’ mean in each condition were excluded, and the mean was recalculated. About 2% of the trials were excluded by this procedure. The data presented in Table 1 show mean responses (RTs) and percentage of errors of 12 categories. All analysis were conducted twice, one when the pseudowords were part of stimuli and one for words only. For each task, we have analyzed the stimulus-type effect within subjects (FI) and between stimulus types (F2).

Table 1: Lexical decision performance for written and spoken words in literary Arabic and Hebrew. The order of the parameters is as follows:
Reaction times (in millisecond); Standard Errors (..); Error rates (%).

Stimulus type

Auditory presentation

Visual Presentation

 

Hebrew

Literary Arabic

Hebrew

Literary Arabic

High-frequency

1027 (18)     3.0%    

1053 (19)   3.9%

753 (18)        2.9%    

784 (19)   
    5%

Low-frequency

1452 (33)     20.7%    

1354 (31)     17.2%    

1007 (33)     20.2%    

1100 (31)    19.8%    

Nonwords

1432  (27)  11.0%

1352 (29)  8.5%

1053 (27)  12.1%

1096 (29) 8.9%

A 4-way ANOVA with a 2 (Modality: visual and auditory) x 2 (Language type: Arabic and Hebrew) x 3 (Lexicality: high- and low-frequency words and pseudowords) x 24 subjects was conducted for the 6 means for every subject when the effects of type of language and lexicality was tested within subject and the modality effect was tested between subjects. This analysis showed that lexical-decisions for all stimuli (words and pseudowords) were faster when they presented visually than when they presented orally (F1(1,46) = 96.08, MSe=73264, p < 0.001; F2 (1,756) = 1376.7, MSe=13150, p < 0.001). The difference between the modalities was found significant in the analysis of words only (F1 (1,46)=99.97, MSe = 46264, p < 0.001). In contrast, the language of the stimuli did not influence significantly the lexical decisions either when the analysis include pseudowords (F1 (1,46) < 1; F2 (1,756) < 1 ( and when the analysis include words only (F1 (1,46) = 1.061, MSe = 7919, p = 0.308) .
In addition, decisions were significantly faster for high-frequency words than for low-frequency words either when the analysis include pseudowords (F1 (1,46)=466, MSe = 7328, p < 0.001; F2 (2,756) = 609, MSe = 13150, p < 0.001 (, and when the analysis for words only )F1 (1,46)=544.5, MSe = 9251, p < 0.001). The interaction between the frequency variable and language variable differ in the visual modality than in the auditory modality. It was shown that the frequency effect in Hebrew is significantly larger in the auditory modality (171 ms) than in the visual modality while in Arabic the frequency effect is equal (14 ms). The 4-way ANOVA revealed a significant three way interaction (F1(1,46) = 42.759, MSe=2403, p < 0.001 ; F2(1,756) = 8.6, MSe = 13150, p < 0.001). This interaction was further elaborated by checking the one-way interaction analysis.
As can be noticed, the reaction times were faster for Hebrew than for Arabic when words were presented visually and little slower for Hebrew than for Arabic when the words were presented orally (F1(1,46) = 14.7, MSe = 7920, p < 0.001 ; F2(1,756) = 40.4, MSe = 13150, p < 0.001)]. Post-hoc comparisons (t-test) for these differences revealed that within each modality a significant effect was found in the visual modality [t(23) = 2.91, p < 0.01] and in the auditory modality [t(23)=2.543, P<0.025]. A second interaction was found to be significant for subject analysis between frequency effect and language (F(1,46) = 5.04, MSe = 2403, p < 0.05) but this interaction was not significant for the stimuli analysis (F(1,756) = 1.84, MSe = 13150, p = 0.158). A third interaction that was significant is between frequency effect and modality (F1(1,46) = 8.09, MSe = 9252, p < 0.01; F2(1,756) = 8.6, MSe = 13150, p < 0.001). This interaction effect is due to that the frequency effect was larger in the auditory modality than in the visual modality.
A different pattern was gained in the error rate analysis. A three-way interaction between Language, Lexicality and Modality was found to be non-significant (F1(1,46) < 1 ; F2(2,754) < 1). The main effects of Language and Modality are not significant [F1(1,46)<1 ; F2(1,754) = 1.1, MSe = 105, p = 0.294 and F1(1,46) < 1; F2(1,754) = 2.74, MSe=105, p = 0.098 respectively] but a simple main effect of Lexicality was significant [F1(1,46) = 89.34, MSe = 134, p < 0.001 ; F2(1,754) = 117.7, MSe = 105, p < 0.001]. The interaction between language and modality was also not significant [F1(1,46)=2.377, MSe = 22.4, p = 0.13 ;F2(1,754) < 1 ] suggesting that effect of modality was similar in both Arabic and Hebrew. Also, the interaction between Lexicality and Modality was not significant [F1(1,46) < 1 ; F2(2,754) < 1] suggesting that the frequency effect was similar in visual and auditory presentation.
In order to investigate how degree of exposure to both modalities interacts with language (L1, L2), the mean score over the 12 questions in the exposure questionnaire were entered into a correlation analysis with the measure of reaction time for the 48 participants of Arab children. These relationships are illustrated in Table 2.

Table 2: Correlation co-efficients between measures of word perception (RTs) and level of exposure in different modalities. Only significant correlations are shown (p<.05) (n.s-not significant).

language

frequency

X2

X3

X4

X5

X6

X7

X8

X9

X10

X11

X12

Arabic

frequent

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

nonfrequent

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

.50

.01

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

Hebrew

frequent

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

-.60
.001

-.54
.006

-.42
.03

nonfrequent

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

n.s

The analyses of the visual modality revealed a significant positive relationship between exposure to Hebrew and the reaction times of word perception as the correlations were significant in questions 10, 11 and 12. On the other hand, in Arabic such correlation was not found between exposure to language in this modality and speed of word perception. In regard to the auditory modality, an opposite pattern was gained. The correlation analyses between language (L1, L2) and speed of word perception revealed a significant relationship as can be seen in question 7 but no significant effect was found in Arabic.

Discussion
The goal of this study was to examine the level of competence in terms of reaction time and error rates in different languages and the impact of linguistic experience on the level of competence in those languages. In this study, the level of competence of native Arabic speakers in lexical decisions for words presented orally and visually in Literary Arabic and Hebrew was compared. The results showed that the processing of the two languages took on different patterns. Reaction times in lexical decisions to stimuli that were presented orally were longer than when presented visually and there was interaction between this factor and the language of the stimuli. Analysis of the interaction showed that, while the responses were generally faster in Hebrew in the visual forms (62 milliseconds), they were faster in Literary Arabic in the oral forms (36 milliseconds). The implication of this result is that students read more of the Hebrew and hear more of the Literary Arabic
This explanation is supported by the results of the questionnaire distributed to the subjects and by analysis of the degree of exposure to the different languages in the two forms with the speed of identification (reaction time) of the words in the languages and the corresponding forms. These results indicated different patterns of impact for the two languages with respect to the speed of performance. From investigation of the usage of these languages, it becomes clear that the use of Literary Arabic for speaking within the school, and particularly in lessons (as seen in the results of the questionnaire), is more common than Hebrew. In informal discussions, the breadth of usage of the Hebrew language is greater in written literature. In science-based classes, for example (from which most of the study population comes), science lesson books which the teachers use for instruction and students for reading (and as part of their preparation for university) are in Hebrew, although the lessons are given in Arabic. In addition, the students are exposed to written Hebrew media, which is more common than media in the Arabic language. In contrast, the Arabic language is more common in oral form during class hours, as well as in street conversation, at home, and in the primary electronic media (radio and television). Regarding usage habits in the Arabic language, there is a deliberate and established trend in school policy to expand the usage of the literary language in speech to strengthen the roots of the Literary Arabic language amongst the population. This desire is emphasized in light of the continuing threat of the waning usage of the literary language and its decreasing usage among the Arab population, at least in our country. This interaction can be explained by the analysis of the level of exposure and the level of usage in these two languages and the level of competence (reaction times and accuracy measures) in the lexical decisions of the subjects. From the analysis, it appears that students with greater oral and spoken exposure levels and degree of usage in the Hebrew language had better oral competence (in reaction time and precision), while students who use Literary Arabic more in oral and spoken forms had faster and more accurate performance in oral identification. A similar pattern of results was obtained in the visual forms as well.
This result corresponds with previous findings on the acquisition of a second language. These findings show clearly that the usage of visual forms is broader in the second language since this language is learned more on the basis of reading than on the basis of speech. In fact, in the case of acquisition of the Hebrew language by the Arabic speaker, usage of the visual forms is supported by the testimony of the teachers and students of the same population. This finding with respect to the different cognitive performance pattern in the second language is also reflected in the hemispheric performance level. According to the hypothesis of the stages of second language acquisition, the later the second language is learned (as is true for our population), the greater the involvement of the right hemisphere, and only when expertise in this language increases, involvement of the left hemisphere observed (Albert & Olber, 1978). A study that examined children in 7th, 9th and 11th grades, whose mother tongue is Hebrew and who learned English as a second language from grade 5, showed right visual field advantage (RVFA) with respect to Hebrew. With respect to English, there was left visual field advantage (LVFA) principally among 7th grade students, while the advantage completely disappeared by grade 11 (Silverberg, 1979). These findings support the theory of stages but are not sufficient to negate the theory that the right hemisphere is important for the initial learning of a second language.
Another result that sheds light on the impact of the usage of these languages on their cognitive standing relates to the frequency effect. The performance of the current study participants with infrequent words was especially slow, with longer reaction times to infrequent words than to non-words in oral presentation in Hebrew and visual presentation in Literary Arabic. This is an unusual result in lexical studies, which was also found in our previous study (Bentin & Ibrahim, 1996). Furthermore, the error rate was found to be larger with infrequent words than with non-words. A possible explanation for these findings is that participants’ mastery of the languages was not sufficient to recognize the infrequent words in a situation of rapid presentation and time pressure. It is worth noting that judges within the same population were familiar with the infrequent words, which suggests that the problem is with the level of command rather than knowledge itself. In addition, this study did not find an identical frequency effect in the two languages and the different forms. In other words, the pattern of the frequency effect in the visual and oral forms is not similar between the languages. In Hebrew, there is significant disparity between frequency effect in the oral form compared with the visual form, with the oral frequency effect in this language being greater. Activation models in oral word recognition, such as the “Cohort Model” (Marlsen Wilson, 1987), assume that lexical priming increases as increasing parts of the word are sounded. Given that the initial activation level with a frequent word is greater than with an infrequent one and that the activation grows with the passage of time, maximum frequency effects are expected in cases of slower reaction time. Support for this assumption of the model comes from a study by Connine, Titone & Wang (1993), who examined the word frequency effect in the identification of orally presented words. In their study, they showed that in lists where there was a trend toward infrequent words (general reaction times were slow); the influence of the frequency effect was greater than with words that appeared in mixed lists. This evidence supports the fact that the frequency effect occurs in later stages in the identification of the spoken word. However, the fact that the frequency effect was greater in the Hebrew language than in Literary Arabic appears to be related to the initial low level of recognition more than to the oral words in Hebrew. This result of the current study strengthens the conclusion that the study participants were less accustomed to exposure to the Hebrew language in oral form.
From the analysis of error rates, it appears that the language effect is not significant. That is, beyond the presentation form of the language there was no difference in the error rate. Contrary to the significant effect of the form on reaction times, no significant impact was found in error rates. In contrast, as in the analysis of reaction times, a significant effect was found in the frequency factor. Despite these differences, the error analysis does not contradict the direction of reaction times and it supports some of them. Furthermore, the study results as expressed in average reaction time and error rates show that the study participants had similar mastery of Literary Arabic and Hebrew, which strengthens former research results that pointed to Literary Arabic being a second language similar to the Hebrew language (Ibrahim & Aharon-Peretz, 2005). By itself, independence of lexicons for Literary Arabic and Hebrew does not imply language-selective access. It is possible that both lexicons of a bilingual are activated simultaneously to the extent that the input matches representations within each lexicon (Van Heuven, Dijkstra, & Grainger, 1998).
In regard to reading, written symbols perceived during this process and processed by visual system must eventually be translated by the brain into sounds. Thus the auditory system which is responsible for receiving, filtering and storing sounds, becomes a likely contributor to both normal and abnormal reading processes. Due to this contribution, it is possible that deficits in dyslexia and other reading problems (like fluency in reading), are related directly to auditory deficits. There is a large empirical support for this contribution in the literature. An early study that investigated the development of grapheme-phoneme conversion ability in normal and reading-age matched dyslexic readers, postulated that dyslexics have a specific difficulty in grapheme-phoneme conversion (Snowling, 1980). In more recent study, second and sixth grade poor and normal readers attempted to retain orally and visually presented target letters for 0, 4, or 10 seconds while they were shadowing letter names presented orally in rapid succession (Huba, Vellutino & Scanlon, 1990). Target letters sounded either similar or dissimilar to shadowing letters. Since shadowing presumably disrupted phonological encoding of the target stimuli, it was possible to evaluate reader groups’ auditory and visual retention ability when they could not rely on such encoding. Consistent with the phonological coding interpretation of individual differences in reading ability, normal readers were less accurate than poor readers in auditory target letter recall when phonological encoding was disrupted. Normal readers were inferior to poor readers in visual target recall as well. As expected, differences between reader groups in phonological encoding were more strongly indicated in second than sixth grade, suggesting that older poor readers’ sensitivity to phonological information is more like that of normal readers.
In series of studies using behavioral (Reaction Times – RT) and electrophysiological (Evoked Related Potentials – ERP) measures, Breznitz and her colleagues, examined differences between ‘regular’ and dyslexic adult bilingual readers when processing reading and reading related skills in their first (L1 Hebrew) and second (L2 English) languages (i.e. Breznitz & Meyler, 2003; Breznitz 2003a; Oren & Breznitz, 2005) . In first study (Breznitz & Meyler, 2003) they investigated speed of processing (SOP) among college-level adult dyslexic and normal readers in nonlinguistic and sublexical linguistic auditory and visual tasks, and a nonlinguistic cross-modal choice reaction task. The results revealed that RT and ERP latencies were longest in the cross-modal task. In other words, the gap between ERP latencies in the visual versus the auditory modalities for each component was larger among dyslexic as compared to normal readers, and was particularly evident at the linguistic level. These results support the hypothesis that there is an amodal, basic SOP deficit among dyslexic readers. The slower cross-modal SOP is attributed to slower information processing in general and to disproportionate “asynchrony” between SOP in the visual versus the auditory system. It is suggested that excessive asynchrony in the SOP of the two systems may be one of the underlying causes of poor readers and dyslexics’ impaired reading skills. Our data in this study is in line of the data reported by Breznitz and her colleagues and support the ‘script dependent’ hypotheses by demonstrating universal deficits in L1 and L2 among regular and dyslexic readers along with differential manifestations of these deficits as a function of specific orthographic features. According to our results, the automatization deficit that underlies dyslexics and poor readers’ performance in reading is due at least partially, to the unique features of the languages and orthographies (Oren & Breznitz, 2005).

Conclusions
The whole findings of this study related to Arabic language in addition to findings from our recent studies (see. Eviatar, Leiken & Ibrahim, 1999; Ibrahim, Eviatar & Aharon Peretz, 2002; Eviatar, Ibrahim & Ganayim, 2004), support the notion that Arabic has unique features that contribute to the inhibition and slowness of the reading process. In that regard, the findings do not allow us to ignore the fact that a normal Arab child (and for a further extent dyslexic child), who encounters special difficulties in reading acquisition needs special pedagogical methods and systematical professional intervention to overcome these difficulties that the Arabic language imposes.
In addition, this study could shed light on the relationship between visual and auditory language mechanisms during reading of regular readers, and offer also new psycholinguistic evidence to understand the dynamics of processing two languages in bilingual. Specifically, it adds an important contribution to our understanding the role of aspects like modality, status of language (L1, L2) and characteristics of language in processing a specific language. Although our focus was on children with normal abilities (or poor readers) and not on children with abnormal abilities (dyslexics), the pattern of results obtained could consider applicable in some limited aspects to dyslexic populations since verbal information mechanisms are universal, but this awaits further clarification in future studies.

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Appendix

Language questionnaire

1. What is the official language at school?
a. literary Arabic b. spoken Arabic c. Hebrew
Answer question number 2 only if your answer to question 1 is a. or b.
2. What is the language that is spoken in lessons that are not language lessons?
a. only spoken Arabic b. mainly spoken Arabic c. both spoken Arabic and literary Arabic at the same rate d. mainly literary Arabic
e. only literary Arabic
3. In which rate do teachers speak the Hebrew language in lessons that are not Hebrew lessons?
a. not at all b. very little c. moderately so d. very much so e. extremely much
4. To which extent do teachers demand speaking literary Arabic during lessons?
a. not at all b. very little c. moderately so d. very much so e. extremely much
5. To which extent do you use Hebrew in your speech?
a. not at all b. very little c. moderately so d. very much so e. extremely much
6. To which extent do you use literary Arabic in your speech?
a. not at all b. very little c. moderately so d. very much so e. extremely much
7. In which language do you usually watch TV programs (entertainment, news etc.)
a. spoken Arabic b. literary Arabic c. both forms of Arabic d. only Hebrew
e. both Hebrew and Arabic
8. In which language are the teaching books (which are not languages teaching books) written (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology etc.)?
a. only in literary Arabic b. mainly in literary Arabic c. in Hebrew and Arabic at the same extent d. mainly in Hebrew e. only in Hebrew
9. In which language do you read academic material?
a. only in literary Arabic b. mainly in literary Arabic c. in Hebrew and Arabic at the same extent d. mainly in Hebrew e. only in Hebrew
10. In which language do you read un academic materials (newspaper, magazines, reading books)?
a. only in literary Arabic b. mainly in literary Arabic c. in Hebrew and Arabic at the same extent d. mainly in Hebrew e. only in Hebrew
11. In which language do you write letters to friends or messages and notes in the diary?
a. only in literary Arabic b. mainly in literary Arabic c. in Hebrew and Arabic at the same extent d. mainly in Hebrew e. only in Hebrew
12. In which language do you read the subtitles that are shown in foreign movies in the Israeli broadcast stations?
a. only in literary Arabic b. mainly in literary Arabic c. in Hebrew and Arabic at the same extent d. mainly in Hebrew e. only in Hebrew

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How Words can be Misleading: A Study of Syllable Timing and ‘Stress’ in Malay https://www.linguistics-journal.com/2014/01/08/how-words-can-be-misleading-a-study-of-syllable-timing-and-stress-in-malay/ Wed, 08 Jan 2014 02:10:40 +0000 https://www.linguistics-journal.com/www2/2014/01/08/how-words-can-be-misleading-a-study-of-syllable-timing-and-stress-in-malay/ August 2008. Volume 3 Issue 2

Title
How Words can be Misleading:
A Study of Syllable Timing and “Stress” in Malay

Authors
Zuraidah Mohd Don, Gerry Knowles & Janet Yong
University of Malaya, Malaysia

Bio-Data
Zuraidah Mohd Don is Professor at the Department of English Language, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya. Her research interests include English Language Teaching, pragmatics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Corpus Linguistics and prosody. She has published in international refereed journals and her most recent publications include two co-authored books entitled Malay Word Class: A corpus-based Approach and Malay Adverbs: Problems and Solutions

Gerry Knowles worked for many years in the Linguistics Department at Lancaster University in the UK, where he published in English linguistics, and developed interests in corpus linguistics and speech and language technology. More recently, he has worked in Malay linguistics, and developed the MALEX system, which provides precise linguistic information for applications in technology. He has co-authored two books on Malay, one on word class, and the other on adverbs and adverbials. He is now executive director of Miquest, a company based in Kuala Lumpur and specialising in the applications of technology in the teaching of English in Asia.

Janet Yong has worked as an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Languages & Lingusitics in University Malaya where she taught and researched in phonetics and phonology, sociolinguistics, research methodology and TESL/TEFL. Currently, she is a visiting lecturer in the School of Accounting & Finance in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; she designs, teaches and does research in business communication.

Abstract
Duration and F0 were studied in a set of 111 Malay words produced by two female native speakers of Malay in order to identify the citation pattern. This preliminary study seemed to provide strong evidence for penultimate stress. Seen in a wider context, the evidence collapsed, and it became clear that Malay does not have word stress at all. The search for syllable timing led to doubts whether the syllable is a relevant unit in Malay prosody. The conclusion is that in view of the lack of complicating factors, Malay is an appropriate language to adopt for the study of prosodic structure, and for the development of automatic techniques for the analysis of spoken corpora.

Keywords Prosody, Malay, word-stress, syllable timing, spoken corpora, automatic annotation

1. Introduction
The longer-term aim of the work reported here is to produce a prosodic annotation system for a corpus of Malay, building on the analysis of an informal corpus of Malay (Zuraidah Mohd Don, 1996), and the prosodic annotation of the Lancaster / IBM Spoken English Corpus (Knowles, Williams & Taylor, 1996). The system has to be designed for the Malay language, and mark patterns which are readily identifiable in the data. In order to make possible the annotation of large amounts of natural data, the system needs to be robust, and as far as possible it should lend itself to automatic processing. In view of the known problems involved in annotating natural conversational data, we have restricted this preliminary investigation to simplified types, namely one-word utterances produced in citation form.
Malay belongs to a group of languages which are among the most widely spoken (there are about 159 million Malay-Indonesian speakers) and least studied. These languages are generally considered to have a very simple phonology in that the vowel and consonant systems are simple, syllables are simple, and words appear to have a simple prosodic structure. What is not clear is whether an annotation system has to take into account anything in the Malay phonological system corresponding to English word stress. To an English ear it appears almost self-evident that Malay words have stress on the penult, and in some cases such as kenapa [kənapə] ‘why’ the pattern approaches the English prototype. On the other hand, this pattern is not at all clear to Malay speakers, who often find it difficult to say whether their language has word stress or not, and if so what its nature might be. There is also a widespread belief that Malay is a syllable timed language, and while this description seems to be meaningful to native speakers, it is not clear exactly what it means. Understanding patterns at word level is of course the prerequisite for work on the prosody of Malay texts, and here we are confronted with a pattern which is both confusing and elusive.
When the project began we were not in a position to design formal tests or set up formal hypotheses about word stress, and the aim was to find out enough to enable us to do this. The Malay word has two important properties perceived by native speakers which could be associated with stress. First, the final syllable appears to be lengthened, and secondly there is a high pitch towards the end of the word. There are no obvious variations in vowel and consonant quality which could be attributed to stress, and while central vowels certainly do occur, the central quality is part of the normal realisation of the vowel and has nothing to do with stress. In this respect Malay patterns like some North Indian languages. In the case of word citation forms, loudness would appear to vary with pitch, but in view of the complex role of loudness in texts (Zuraidah Mohd Don, 1996) where the correlation is not so close, it would be unwise to push the evidence of individual word forms too far. Another (but less clearly perceived) pattern is that the initial syllable seems to be given some kind of prominence.

2. Interpreting the Results of Previous Works
A problem in working on this paper is that previous work is not self explanatory. Research typically starts off with the assumption that Malay must have word stress like English, and that the task for the researcher is to find it and describe it. Thus it is claimed that word-stress in Malay is weak and so not very prominent (Yunus Maris, 1980), and that it involves length or loudness rather than pitch. Madzhi (1989) claimed to detect four degrees of word-stress, with primary stress falling on the last syllable of isolated and complex words; but this is to impose on to Malay the system put forward by Trager and Smith for English in 1959, and cannot be based on the empirical study of natural Malay data. There is no consistent understanding in the literature of what stress is, and to understand the claims being made it is first necessary to ascertain what notion of stress is being discussed.
In the present situation, instead of building on previous work, we have to explain previous results post hoc. Adam and Butler (1948) claimed that stress falls on the penult in Malay except when its vowel is a schwa, in which case stress falls on the final syllable. They also observed that stress shifts to the new penult when affixes are added to a word. Armijan Pane (1950), with the assistance of an Indonesian musician, developed a notation for stress and intonation using three pitch types: initial high pitch, pitch contour, and final pitch. He distinguished what he called syllable stress, word stress and sentence stress, and confirmed Adam and Butler’s analysis, except that the interrogative enclitic particle -kah had no effect on the position of the stress. This description might sound a little bizarre, but mutatis mutandis it could possibly be reconciled with the findings of our own study; -kah could well be an additional item ignored by the final cadence.
In an instrumental study of 200 disyllabic words, Verguin (1955) found that the first (i.e. penultimate) vowel was longer in duration, higher in pitch and greater in amplitude than the final vowel. (If the measurements of the penultimate vowel are accurate, they indicate a variant of the word citation form which could belong to a different dialect.) Kahler (1956) found the stress fixed on the penult when the root word is followed by an enclitic such as -kah, -lah or -pun. Alisjahbana (1967) distinguished dynamic stress, pitch stress and durational stress, claiming that word stress falls on the final syllable, except when it is a clitic pronoun -ku or -nya. Amran (1984) made a mingographic study of 140 words, and found word stress on the penult in isolated words, and on the final syllable in context. He described a typical stressed syllable as longer and louder than unstressed ones, and having a pitch contour containing a peak of pitch, although the initial pitch could be higher or lower than the final pitch.
Generative accounts (Cohn, 1989; Cohn & McCarthy, 1994; Kenstowitz, 1994; Halle & Idsardi, 1994) place primary stress on the penult, with secondary stress on alternating syllables to the left and on the initial syllable. Suffixes affect stress position, one suffix shifting the stress one syllable to the right; while if there are two suffixes, the first suffix takes the primary stress and a secondary stress falls on the penultimate syllable of the root. It is difficult to assess these claims because they have only a tenuous relationship with what one finds in Malay phonetic data, and in order to understand them one has to be familiar with the history of generative phonology.

3. Methodology
The data consists of a total of 111 Malay content words produced by two female native speakers of Malay. These were recorded, digitised and analysed using MAC Speech Lab 2. The set of words includes both simple and complex words and a few loan words from English, and words were selected to illustrate (a) the various possible occurrences of Malay CV(C) syllable structure, and (b) Malay word structure including simple words (containing from one to four syllables) and complex words encompassing prefix + root (e.g mem+baca ‘read’), prefix + root + root (e.g. ber+bagai+bagai ‘a variety of something’), prefix + root + suffix (e.g. mem+baca+kan ‘read to somebody’) and prefix + prefix + root + suffix (e.g. mem+per+bagai+kan ‘to have variety’). The 111 words were segmented into 422 syllables, each syllable being annotated with its duration and a phonological representation. The data was then organised in the form of a database table.
Malay spelling is almost phonemic, and just some minor adjustments convert it into a phonological representation. The digraphs ng and ny were replaced by symbols for velar and palatal nasals respectively, e.g. orang ® /oraN/ ‘person’. Initial vowels were preceded by a glottal stop symbol, and a glottal stop or glide symbol was inserted between adjacent vowels, e.g. istiadat ® /?isti?adat / ‘ceremony’; buah ® /buwah/ ‘fruit’; sosial ® /sosijal/ ‘social’. The phonological representation was then divided into CV(C) sequences. The outcome of this procedure matched intuitive syllable divisions except in the case of loanwords containing syllables with complex onsets, e.g. /kra/ in /de.mo.kra.si/. A problem also arose regarding the syllable break following prefixes with a final velar nasal, e.g. meng- /məN/. The nasal patterns regularly before a consonant, e.g. meng + hadkan ® /məN.had.kan/ ‘to limit’, but before a vowel it can either complete the first syllable as expected, e.g. /m@N.?is.ti.me.wa/, or begin the second syllable, cf /m@.Nis.ti.me.wa.kan/, in which case the glottal stop is elided. This remains to be investigated in spoken corpus data.
It was already clear from an initial study of the annotated waveforms that matters of prosodic interest cluster at the end of the word, and consequently the syllables were numbered from right to left, so that the final syllable was numbered 0, the penult 1, the antepenult 2, and so on. F0 plots revealed a characteristic pattern at the end of words, in that in typical cases there was a rise to a peak on the penult followed by a complete fall to the bottom of the speaker’s range on the last syllable. These were encoded “RP” and “CF” respectively. There were very few incomplete falls (“IF”) and final rises (“R”), each having only two occurrences.
In most cases the peak coincided with the syllable boundary, but occasionally it was reached earlier or later, and these were marked “-” and “+” respectively. For example, “RP-” marks a case in which the peak is reached before the end of the penult, and “RP+” marks a case in which the peak is reached after the end of the penult. No other pattern has been identified. Syllables before the penult were left unmarked for pitch. Table gives the set of records for three sample words:
TABLE 1. Records for Three Sample Words


ORTHOGRAPHY

SYLLABLE

FORM

DURATION

F0

istimewa
istimewa
istimewa
istimewa
teristimewa
teristimewa
teristimewa
teristimewa
teristimewa
keistimewaan
keistimewaan
keistimewaan
keistimewaan
keistimewaan
keistimewaan

3
2
1
0
4
3
2
1
0
5
4
3
2
1
0

?is
ti
me 
wə 
tər
?is
ti
me
wə 
kə 
?is
ti
me
wa
?an

111
269
143
412
158
175
237
116
454
158
159
253
143
222
348

RP
CF

RP
CF

RP
CF

4. Result

The pitch patterns proved simpler than expected. There were no exceptions to the rule that the pitch rises to a peak on the penult. The pitch fell to low except in the case of the words boikot ‘boycott’ and memboikot ‘to boycott’. (While loanwords can have special segmental properties we have no evidence so far to suggest that they have any prosodic property of their own.) In some cases the fall is incomplete, and the pitch failed to reach the speaker’s bottom pitch; but there were too few cases to indicate a pattern. In 92 of the 111 words the peak coincided with the syllable boundary, and this is clearly the default case. There were too few cases of early peak to give an explanation. The remaining 10 cases of delayed peak suggested an association with (a) foreign words, and (b) final syllables containing nasals, particularly the velar nasal. In the latter case, the syllable is rich in pitch-bearing segments, so that it is physically possible to delay the pitch peak and still hear the fall.
Syllable duration proved more complex, and we begin with the kind of distribution curve we might expect. If there are no other factors involved at all, we would expect a peak corresponding to the dominant CV syllable types, although CV syllables with an initial glide or glottal stop may be shorter. CVC syllables will of course be longer. We would expect a skewed unimodal distribution with a rapid rise to a peak and a slower decay. Strict syllable timing should produce a normal curve with a small standard deviation. A mere tendency to syllable timing should produce a compromise between these two distribution types.

FIGURE 1. HISTOGRAM FOR FIGURE 2. HISTOGRAM FOR
DURATIONS OF SYLLABLES DURATIONS OF SYLLABLES 1..7

The histogram in Figure 1 displays the actual distribution of syllable durations for all positions in the word. It is clearly bimodal, and looks like two separate distributions (one centred at approximately 180ms and the other centred at approximately 420ms) overlapping in the region of 280ms. This suggests that the sample is not homogeneous, and that its elements come from two different populations. The relevant factor proves to be word position, all final syllables except one having a duration greater than 280ms, and nearly all non-final syllables having a duration below 280ms, This was confirmed when the data for final syllables was filtered out, leaving the unimodal histogram displayed in Figure 2. From this initial overview it is immediately clear that final syllables are longer than non-final ones, and the shape of the curve in Figure 2 does not lead to high expectations of syllable timing.
If final position is associated with a special duration, then perhaps other syllable positions are too. Table 2 displays the mean durations (in ms) of syllables in the eight different positions. As expected, the mean of 411ms for final syllables (0) was much greater than the means for non-final syllables (1..7) ranging from 146 to 210.

TABLE 2. Mean Syllable Durations for Differene
POSITIONS IN THE WORD


Syllable

N

Mean

0

111

411.41

1

110

198.15

2

  93

191.05

3

  62

181.37

4

  31

187.35

5

  11

204.82

6

    2

146.00

7

    2

209.50

Total

422

249.40

A one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test the hypothesis that there was a relationship between syllable duration and the position of a syllable in a Malay word. ANOVA was used because more than 2 groups (i.e. 8 groups each representing 8 syllable positions) were being tested. The results of the analysis (displayed in Table 3) reveal that the means for the 8 groups are significantly different from each other (p<0.05; the significant level being set at 0.05). The probability of the F value (F(7, 414)=295.82, p<.05) occurring by chance is .000, thus providing reasonable evidence that the relationship between syllable position and syllable durations does exist.

TABLE 3. The First F-Test of Difference of Group Means

  Sum ofSquares

Df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

Between Groups

3971448.0

     7

567349.708

295.815

.000

Within Groups

794019.56

414

    2175.846

   

Total

4765467.5

421

     

However, since ANOVA only looks for overall difference between groups, these results do not tell us where the differences lie. In order to determine which value groups of the independent variable have the most to do with the relationship, we conducted post-hoc comparison tests that compared each mean to each other mean. Pairwise comparisons between syllable positions and syllable durations through Tukey HSD post-hoc analyses revealed that the mean differences were only significant between pairs containing a word-final syllable (p<0.05; the significance levels for post-hoc analyses being set at 0.05 for all post-hoc analyses). There was no significant difference between pairs which are made up of either both word-initial or word-medial positions or word-initial and word-medial positions. This confirms that the durations of the final syllables are significantly different from those of the non-final syllables.

5. Discussion
The first impression given by these measurements is that they provide overwhelming confirmation of a stress on the penult. The fact that the final syllable and only the final syllable is lengthened suggests further that the overall pattern associated with the stress includes the following long syllable. Patterns of this kind are also found in English, e.g. widow or tissues. While this explanation is consistent with the experimental data available so far, it is actually only one of a set of possible explanations. And since this particular explanation is closely related to what we already know about stress in English and other languages, there is at least a possibility that beliefs about English have been unintentionally transferred to Malay, where they may be less appropriate.
Our data contains different morphological types, but we have assumed that morphology is irrelevant. On the other hand, we have taken for granted that syllables are relevant, and that our syllabification procedure is the right one. Either or both of these assumptions could be false. Moreover, a list of 111 English words stressed on the penult would not prove that penultimate stress is the norm in English. The initial explanation must therefore be regarded as provisional until the necessary checks have been made. A suitable comparator in this connection is found in a study of stressed syllables in Arabic words by de Jong and Zawaydeh (1999). The “words” studied are not lexical items but phrases which happen to be written solid in the Arabic writing system. The phonological representation used is a hybrid of phonemic transcription and a transliteration using the Latin alphabet. Varieties of Arabic are known to vary in the alignment of F0 and in vowel reduction, and yet the data contains a mixture of colloquial and standard forms. The domain of stress is the syllable, but the statistical analysis deals only with the vowels. The conclusion that Arabic is like English in this area is rather surprising for any practical phonetician familiar with both languages, and cannot safely be drawn without further confirmation. In order to avoid comparably contentious conclusions for Malay it is essential to begin with a rigorous organisation of the data, and to put the findings in a wider context.
The measurements of individual words clearly tell us something interesting about the prosody of Malay, but exactly what they tell us is not clear. For that reason, the observed pitch pattern and the final lengthening were used as input to subsequent studies of spoken Malay, but the drawing of any conclusions was delayed pending further investigations. In the following discussion, we supplement the experimental findings with insights gained from more recent work on connected speech, involving in particular speech synthesis and the annotation of waveforms.

6. The Citation Pattern
The analysis of word duration failed to confirm the perception of some kind of prominence on the first syllable. However, a closer look at the F0 plots (see the illustration in Figure 3 using the word mendengarkan) revealed a pattern consistently beginning on that syllable. The pitch is set on the first syllable to somewhere in the middle of the speaker’s range, and it then rises to a peak on the penult before falling to low on the long final syllable. This can be thought of as the word citation pattern.

FIGURE 3. The Citation Pattern on the Word
MENDENGARKAN ‘LISTEN TO’

The citation pattern is the pattern that occurs by default, when there is no reason to do anything else, when words are cited out of any communicative context. This is why this pattern was used almost exclusively for the test words uttered in isolation.
If we now examine phrases read aloud, we find that the word citation pattern is in fact made up of two elements, one initial and the other final, as shown in Figure 4. The initial pattern involves a rise in pitch to a peak at the end of the first word (henceforth the onset rise), and the pitch then remains mid until finally falling away at the end (henceforth the final fall). The important point is that the high pitch is not a property of the end of the speech interval (as might be assumed when only individual words are examined), but of the beginning.

FIGURE 4. The Citation Pattern on the Phrase
PETI AIR BATU ‘REFRIGERATOR’

A similar pattern can be seen in sentences read aloud, as illustrated in Figure 5. The middle section here is quite long, and the pitch seems to move up and down in a random fashion; in speech synthesis it has been found that this movement can be successfully emulated using a random function.

FIGURE 5. The Citation Pattern on the Sentences DIA BERSEKOLAH DI BANDAR ‘She goes to school in the city.’

7. Timing In Malay
It is difficult to characterise syllable timing precisely (cf Laver, 1994: 156-7), but it is usually taken to mean that all syllables are subjectively equal in duration. This is clearly not true of Malay. The distribution in Figure 1 does not point to isochronous syllables, and the systematic difference between final and non-final syllables undermines the conventional belief that Malay is a syllable timed language. We could argue for a model with final lengthening imposed on underlying syllable timing. But the syllables are not even equal within the two subgroups. Final syllables vary from 514ms to 261ms, and non-final syllables from 359ms to 106ms, and a range of this kind is far too great for the members of the two sets to be regarded as equal.
Lengthening ratios vary considerably. The syllable /ca/ averages 402ms finally, and the one non-final token measures 262ms, a ratio of 1.53:1, while /gaj/ averages 477ms finally and 229ms non-finally, a ratio of 2.28:1. It might seem that /aj/ lends itself to lengthening in a way that /a/ does not, but this does not explain /da/ which averages 414 and 196, giving a ratio of 2.10:1. These ratios are much higher than found appropriate in speech synthesis where 1.2:1 or 1.3:1 gave realistic results.
The study of speech intervals (i.e. intervals of speech bounded by pauses) in texts read aloud shows that non-final words lack the final lengthening that they have when spoken in isolation. This suggests (as might be expected) that the lengthening is a property of the speech interval rather than a property of the word itself. It is the consequence of a reduction in tempo, and as in the case of a rallentando in music, the degree of slowing down is not fixed, so that the durations of final syllables varies in an unpredictable manner.

8. Words, Syllables and Stress
In designing our initial experiment to measure durations in words, we took for granted that the word is a relevant prosodic unit in Malay. We have found evidence that the first word in a speech interval has a corresponding prosodic pattern, as does the word aligned with the final cadence. We have no evidence so far that the word in between the first word and the word with the cadence have any prosodic status at all. For the purposes of speech synthesis, we treat these words as a single string of phones. In this way, the prosody associated with a typical short speech interval has a beginning, a middle and an end, and in the middle the word has at best a doubtful status.
We must also raise the question whether the syllable is a genuine prosodic unit in Malay. The reason we might want syllables at all in our description of Malay is to account for phoneme distributions. As in other languages, consonants typically overlap the beginnings and ends of vowels, and contiguous consonants typically overlap different vowels. The sequence VCCV is accordingly divided VC.CV. In this respect a word like demokrasi is something of an anomaly, since VCCV is here divided V.CCV and the sequence /kr/ is grouped with the following vowel. This is because when /k/ overlaps the preceding vowel it is realised as glottal constriction, and usually described as a glottal stop; but in this word it is a voiceless stop and characteristic of /k/ overlapping the following vowel. The grouping /kra/ at first sight involves a kind of consonant overlap that is alien to the Malay language, except in so far as it has been imported along with English loan words. However, in rapid speech, it is normal for many vowels represented in the writing system (and therefore pronounced in citation forms) to be elided, and this brings together groups of consonants very similar to those which for English are regarded as syllable onset clusters. What is anomalous about the string /kr/ in the word demokrasi is that it has no vowel between the consonants even for the citation form.
The non-significant differences among the means indicate that there are no other factors affecting duration which relate to syllable position (counting right to left). There are other factors, but these are distributed across the positions. The most obvious factor is syllable structure, for CVC is presumably longer on average than CV. Possibly because of inequalities in syllable duration, the duration of the speech interval shows a better correlation with the number of phonemes than with the number of syllables. Durations can in fact be predicted remarkably well by distinguishing long, medium and short phonemes. The syllable has nothing to do with the onset rise, the domain of the final fall can be specified without reference to the syllable, and the syllable seems to have nothing to do with speech timing. This leaves the syllable with at best a marginal role in Malay phonology.

9. The Final Cadence
The slowing down in tempo coincides with the final fall, and together these form a final cadence. The onset rise is spread over the first word of the phrase, but in the case of a one word phrase, it is limited to the first part of the word not taken by the final cadence. The combination of the peak of the onset rise followed by the cadence gives considerable prominence to the end of the word, and since the pitch peak typically coincides with the end of the penult, the penult itself is made to stand out. This combination can give the impression of a word stress almost exactly like that of English, especially when the penult is surrounded by central vowels as in a word like kelapa [kəlapə] ‘coconut’.
In rapid Malay speech, interconsonantal central vowels tend to be elided, and perhaps for that reason do not always take the pitch peak. In words such as sebut [səbut] ‘mention’ and betul [bətul] ‘true’, where the penult contains a central vowel, the pitch peak (and so the prominence) is delayed to the final syllable, which can give the impression that the “stress” has shifted. This impression is confirmed when the central vowel is elided in a word like terus [tərus] ‘continue’, so that [tərus] become [trus], almost exactly as English [pəli:s] ‘police’ can become [pli:s].
Another case that has come to light concerns the diphthong [ai] in a word such as baik ‘good’, when it is the only vowel in the word and is followed by a consonant. In this case the diphthong is fractured, and the two elements in the resulting form [bajik] are linked by a palatal glide, the pitch rising to a peak on the first element, and falling to low over the lengthened second element. This fracture, too, has its counterpart in English stressed syllables, e.g. the Texan [bæjəd] ‘bad’.
The situation is more complicated in interactional data (Zuraidah Mohd Don & Knowles, 2006). Although the cadence is normally delayed until the last word, there are cases in which some final words, including vocatives and the deictic particle ini or ni ‘this’ when used to refer anaphorically, are ignored and treated as a kind of tail. In such cases the cadence begins on the penultimate word, e.g. Macamana, doctor? ‘How, doctor?’ and logam ni ‘this iron ore’. These tails are similar to tails at the ends of tone units in English resulting from the deaccentuation of similar kinds of item.
The final cadence can also be highlighted with high pitch and loudness of its own, creating a wide final fall to low pitch, and this pattern seems to constitute a signal to the listener to take over the turn. The initial pattern can be masked by high pitch and loudness extending over the whole word; this pattern is used by an interrupter seeking to take over the turn. The highlighted cadence can result in a pitch peak on the last syllable, again possibly giving the impression of a “shift of stress”. In the case of a word like kenapa [kənapə] ‘why’, in which the final vowel happens to sound rather like a schwa, the “stress” seems to have shifted on to the wrong syllable.
It is an interesting fact that a carefully selected sample can give the impression that Malay has a stress system rather like English. But a similar argument can prove that English has tones like Mandarin Chinese: tone 1 for many onsets, tone 2 for elliptical questions, tone 3 for ‘non-final’ items, and tone 4 for primary stress. But English prosodic patterns have to be interpreted in the context of the English prosodic system, and the imposition of Chinese categories would lead to gross distortion. We would argue that exactly the same principle applies to Malay.

10. Conclusion
The first conclusion to be drawn is that there are no phenomena in spoken Malay corresponding to what phonologists call stress, and that the whole notion of stress is completely irrelevant in the description of Malay. The pitch may go up and down, loudness and tempo may increase or decrease, and on occasion the effect may be superficially similar to that produced by stress in a language like English; but these phenomena are all accounted for independently of stress.
There is also reason to doubt the need to use syllables in Malay prosody. The evidence of words like demokrasi is weak, and has no consequences beyond the overlapping of consonants on vowels. Syllables are important in the phonology of languages like English and Latin because they account for different patterns at different levels. At this stage we know of no high level prosodic patterns in Malay that require reference to the syllable at all. Unless and until evidence emerges to the contrary, we shall treat the syllable as irrelevant. It is difficult to believe that syllables are the cause of anything in Malay, and they are certainly not responsible for the timing of the spoken language.
It is important to note that these conclusions could not be drawn from our initial experiment. The measurements and other observations have to be interpreted, and it is significant that the simplest interpretation is one that seems to confirm the conventional view that Malay words have stress on the penult. The fact that this does not appear to be the case only emerges when we investigate in detail what happens when words are put together in continuous speech.
We therefore disagree with earlier researchers who have claimed stress on the penult. A methodology which involves the study of individual words is likely to reach this conclusion because the prosody of individual words cannot distinguish the onset rise from the final cadence. The error is therefore one of finding apparent patterns in the data which do not exist in reality. Our approach combines individual words with annotated naturally produced data. If stress and syllables really exist in the data, it is difficult to see how we could have failed to spot them.
The consequences of this finding are potentially disturbing for research in prosody. It seems a matter of common sense that if we want to find out about the prosody of a language we should start with individual words before investigating connected speech. Our evidence suggests that this may not be correct. The problem is that we cannot utter individual words with just their word level properties. When we utter a word we have to treat it as a sentence on its own, or at least as an item in a list, and this means assigning it higher level prosodic patterns. The task for the researcher is to separate out properties of the word from properties of the speech interval, and that cannot be done by examining isolated words alone.
Malay has a reputation as a “simple” language, whatever that means. It certainly does not mean it is an easy language to study, and it does not lend itself to generalisations about human language based on English and the languages of Europe. One of its more interesting properties is that it has no stress or tone or any other intermediate level of prosodic organisation. This makes Malay an ideal language to work on for the investigation of prosodic structure. It is certainly a better language for this purpose than English, in which stress and accentuation obfuscate prosodic patterns at discourse level. The prosodic relationships between words and texts are remarkably clear and simple in Malay; but as we hope we have shown in this paper, taking advantage of the clarity and recognising the simplicity can be exceedingly difficult.
The preliminary findings reported here raise a number of important theoretical issues. The lack of a stress system in Malay raises the question of how prominence should be approached. Work so far indicates that many of the prosodic patterns of Malay are phonetically similar to those of English, the difference being that these patterns are not constrained or motivated by stress. A task for future research is to develop a theoretical framework to account for these prosodic patterns directly. Secondly, if there is no stress in Malay we have to find another explanation for the distribution of schwa and for vowel deletion, both of which seem superficially to constitute evidence for a stress system. Finally, if there is no evidence for the syllable as a relevant unit in Malay phonology, we need an alternative theory to account for the opening and closing of the vocal tract in spoken Malay corresponding to sequences of vowels and consonants. What we need is a more general theory of which the syllable theory is a specific instance.

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