Linguistics - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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The syntax of Korean anaphora: An experimental investigation

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-07-15
Abstract: 

This dissertation investigates the syntactic and interpretative properties of three Korean anaphora, third-person pronouns, VP anaphors (VPAs), and null objects (NOs), using experimental methodologies. There is no general consensus among previous studies regarding whether Korean third-person pronoun ku ‘he’ can be construed as a bound variable. Three interconnected experiments were conducted to explore this issue, and the findings demonstrated that some Korean speakers consistently accepted the quantificational binding of ku, while others consistently did not. This result is highly suggestive of inter-speaker variation in the bound variable construal for ku. Taking into consideration the historical background of ku and its present status, I conclude that child learners of Korean may not receive sufficient evidence regarding ku from the primary language input data. Given this, adopting Han et al.’s (2007) two-grammar hypothesis and Déchaine and Wiltschko’s (2002) pronominal typology, I propose that some speakers randomly acquire ϕP ku, which complies with the “pronominal grammar”, while others randomly acquire DP ku, which complies with the “demonstrative grammar”. On the basis of the finding that there is inter-speaker variation in the bound variable construal for ku, the present study investigates the syntax of Korean VPAs and NOs. The existing proposals on their syntactic identities can be grouped into ellipsis and pro-form approaches. In two independent experiments designed to diagnose the presence of “hidden” structure within VPAs and NOs, I examined the (un)availability of sloppy readings for VPAs and NOs with antecedents containing ku. Given the standard view that the sloppy reading in ellipsis is due to a pronoun in the ellipsis site being bound, if VPAs or NOs have elided structure that hosts ku, the distribution of sloppy readings for them should correlate with that of quantificational binding of ku. Such a correlation, however, is not expected if they are pro-forms that do not host elided material (and thus not ku). The correlation was found in the experiment for NOs, but not in the experiment for VPAs. Based on these findings, I claim that VPAs are uniform, un-analyzable pro-forms, while NOs are derived from ellipsis, anaphora that have a fully-fledged structure.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Chung-hye Han
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

xwixwi’em’: My Hul’q’umi’num’ story-telling journey

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-01
Abstract: 

Storytelling is an important tool for sharing knowledge across generations for Hul’q’umi’num’ people. Stories teach us about our way of life and our perspectives on how to be as First Nations peoples. In this project, I share two stories of the creature world that were told to me when I was still a boy. With the help of Elders, I brought to life versions in the Hul’q’umi’num’ language, a Coast Salish language of British Columbia. I discuss my journey to learn how to tell them in Hul’q’umi’num’. I give advice on structuring a story in terms of its organizational schema. I give examples of interesting ways to start a sentence in a story, avoiding the pitfall of English influence. Storytelling has proven to be an interesting path toward fluency. Stories are also an important way of documenting our language and providing resources for language teachers and learners.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Donna Gerdts
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Acoustic cues used by learners of English

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-03
Abstract: 

Second language learners must acquire the ability to use word boundary cues to segment continuous speech into meaningful words. Previous studies have used two types of s+stop clusters to test second language English speakers on their ability to segment fluent English speech: cross-boundary clusters (this table) where allophonic aspiration is present and word-initial clusters (this stable) where allophonic aspiration is absent. These studies suggested that first language segmentation strategies influence second language segmentation. The goal of this study was to test real-time processing of these cluster types by second language learners from one language where cue adaptation was possible (Mandarin Chinese) and one where a new cue would have to be learned (French). Results did not support the idea that first language segmentation strategies influence second language segmentation, but found that both language groups had high accuracy of identification despite showing uncertainty in real-time processing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ashley Farris-Trimble
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

MisInfoWars: A linguistic analysis of deceptive and credible news

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-07-31
Abstract: 

Misinformation, bias, and deceit, clandestine or not, are a pervasive and continual problem in media. Real-time mass communication through online media such as news outlets, Twitter, and Facebook, has extended the reach of deceptive information, and increased its impact. The concept of fake news has existed since before print, but has acquired renewed attention due to its perceived influence in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Previous studies of fake news have revealed much about why it is produced, how it spreads, and what measures can be taken to combat its rising influence. Despite the continued interest in fake news, current research on the language of deceptive media has been largely superficial. This thesis serves to provide a profound understanding of the stylistic and linguistic features of fake news by comparing it to its credible counterpart. In doing so, it will advocate for differentiation between disingenuous and respectable media based on linguistic variation. With a dataset of approximately 80,000 articles from known fake and legitimate news sources, specific stylistic differences will be examined for saliency and significance. Using multidimensional analysis for discourse variation established by Biber (1988), this thesis will confirm that there exist sufficient textual differences between the articles of fake news and credible news to consider them distinct varieties. Detecting misinformation has not proven to be simple, neither has minimizing its reach. As the ambition of fake news articles is to appear authentic, acquiring knowledge of the subtleties which serve to discriminate realism from fabrication is crucial. A better understanding of the linguistic composition of deception and fabrication in comparison to credibility and veracity will facilitate future attempts at both manual and automatic detection.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Maite Taboada
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A grammar of religion: Metaphorical understanding of religious discourse

Date created: 
2018-04-30
Abstract: 

This thesis addresses the need for a metaphoric understanding of religious language. However, the task to distinguish metaphoric meanings from literal ones is not always easy because all linguistic meaning, metaphoric or not, is expressed through the literal. While there has been some research that has shed light on the problem of metaphoric language and religion, no academic work has been done regarding this problem with respect to the religion of Islam. This thesis is an attempt to fill that gap. Since accounting for the comprehension of meaning is a complex endeavor, the study of metaphor lends itself naturally to philosophy. Therefore, I review two philosophical accounts, those of Paul Grice and Josef Stern before I discuss the two linguistic views of metaphor that I embrace, those being Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT) and Relevance Theory (RT).In adopting Conceptual Metaphor Theory, I build on George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s cognitive linguistics work (1980), which changed what we know about language and cognition. In terms of Relevance Theory, I draw from Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson’s work (1986; 2008) and Carston’s (2002; 2010) to make my argument that relevance is a pre-requisite for metaphorical understanding of religious language. Both theories proved helpful in providing a harmonious analysis. Using both these theories, I analyze an underlying Quranic metaphor, life is a test. I clarify that it is not directly stated in the Qur’an, yet Muslims use it in everyday discourse, and take it as if were literal. I argue that the concept has to be essentially metaphoric for it to be consistent with the Islamic belief of God as All-Knowing and I discuss its inferences and entailments. Since this underlying metaphor reveals the Islamic view of life and its purpose, I further examine the metaphorical nature of religious discourse, by analyzing part of a relevant religious lecture given by the spiritual consultant of Az Zahraa Islamic Centre in Richmond, British Columbia. One of the examples I analyse in this lecture utilizes the Journey domain, while another reveals the Container schema. Although both theories seem to be able to account for this Quranic metaphor, yielding the same cognitive result (CMT through domain mapping and RT through lexical adjustment), Relevance Theory was especially useful in providing the terminology to describe how I arrive at the metaphoric realization, that being “the search for relevance”. This suggests that RT has more explanatory power for understanding problematic concepts which might not seem to make sense, while CMT is well-suited for analyzing non-problematic metaphors. In the life as test metaphor, a conceptual metaphoric analysis was not even possible without the cognitive maximisation of relevance. I agree, therefore, with the scholars who argue that the two theories are not contradictory and hence should be integrated. The thesis also includes a transcription of other excerpts that are rich in poetic metaphors, with a discussion of how religious discourse contains some metaphorical expressions that stem from our embodiment and others that are merely “loosely” used.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nancy Hedberg
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The price of admission: Private English schools at the Inner/Expanding Circle interface

Date created: 
2017-12-18
Abstract: 

Each year multitudes of international students come to Vancouver, Canada from what Kachru (1984) calls the Expanding Circle: countries where English is considered a foreign language. Kobayashi (2006) notes that while English study makes up the majority of study abroad activity, it receives little scholarly attention. Researchers assume language acquisition to be the goal of short-term English programs, and fail to situate observations in a larger context. This macro-sociolinguistic exploration uses Bourdieu's (1977a) social practice framework to navigate the relationship between English, status, and power in short-term English language learning. It provides a thorough description of the socio-historical context, stakeholders and discourse themes involved in the local private English Language Teaching (ELT) sector. In doing so, it addresses a considerable deficiency in the research literature, and offers a foundation for further scholarship on private ELT in Canada. With it I seek to address the misguided avoidance of sociolinguistic factors in language acquisition research and teacher training.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Suzanne Hilgendorf
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The effects of auditory, visual, and gestural information on the perception on Mandarin tones

Date created: 
2017-08-04
Abstract: 

In multimodal speech perception, strategic connections between auditory and visual- spatial events can aid in the disambiguation of speech sounds. This study examines how co-speech hand gestures mimicking pitch contours in space affect non-native Mandarin tone perception. Native English as well as Mandarin perceivers identified tones with either congruent (C) or incongruent (I) Audio+Face (AF) and Audio+Face+Gesture (AFG) input. Mandarin perceivers performed at ceiling rates in the Congruent conditions, but showed a partially gesture-based response in AFG-I, revealing that gestures were perceived as valid cues for tone. The English group’s performance was better in congruent than incongruent AF and AFG conditions. Their identification rates were also highly skewed towards the visual tone when gesture was presented in the AFG compared to AF conditions. These results indicate positive effects of facial and especially gestural input on non-native tone perception, suggesting that crossmodal resources can be recruited to aid auditory perception when phonetic demands are high.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Yue Wang
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Cantonese jihgei: Subject-object asymmetry and non-subject antecedent potential

Date created: 
2017-02-03
Abstract: 

Subject orientation is generally viewed to be a cross-linguistic core property of long distance anaphors (LDAs). This property has an important bearing on theories of Chinese LDA which predict only subject antecedents. However, the claim that LDAs are strictly subject-oriented has been discredited in at least Korean, where recent experimental studies have demonstrated that Korean caki can potentially take an object as antecedent. The current study explores the non-subject antecedent potential of the Cantonese LDA, which has not been experimentally studied in the Chinese literature. Two experiments involving forced-choice tasks were conducted to investigate if jihgei could potentially take a non-subject antecedent. It was found that jihgei indeed has non-subject antecedent potential in certain syntactic and logophoric environments, thus greatly weakening syntactic approaches that cannot predict non-subject antecedent potential. It was also found that some amount of competing subject preference remained in cases where a non-subject antecedent was possible. The study concluded that jihgei's subject preference is not categorical, but is modulated by logophoric factors.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Chung-hye Han
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Canadian Shift among Filipinos in Metro Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-06
Abstract: 

The present study provides preliminary insight into the linguistic patterns of Filipinos in Metro Vancouver, an important ethnic community in the region. Specifically, this thesis sought to explore whether Filipinos are (linguistically) integrated by determining if they participated in the Canadian Shift (CS), an on-going change in Canadian English involving the lowering and/or retracting of the vowels /æ, ɛ, ɪ/. Twelve second-generation Filipinos between the ages of 19 and 30 took part in sociolinguistic interviews, and formant frequency data based on 408 tokens of /æ, ɛ, ɪ/ were constructed from recordings of Boberg’s (2008) word list. The results revealed that CS is robust, with evidence of women in the lead. These indicated that there are no substrate language transfer effects at least concerning this phonetic variable. This study ultimately demonstrates that despite remaining a marginalized demographic, second-generation Filipinos are linguistically integrated and are therefore rightful members of the region’s speech community.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Panayiotis Pappas
Suzanne Hilgendorf
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Including Indigenous languages in education: An analysis of Canadian policy documents

Date created: 
2016-08-05
Abstract: 

Language policy may promote or reduce the use and acquisition of languages. Indigenous languages in Canada are endangered and the number of speakers of these languages is declining. In this thesis, I examine a number of Canadian language policies in order to analyse whether provisions exist for including Indigenous languages within educational programmes. Previous studies of Canadian language policies have often only briefly addressed Indigenous languages. My analysis considers some of the policy documents discussed in earlier studies (e.g. the 1969 Official Languages Act), some recent policy documents (e.g. the 1991 Canadian Heritage Languages Institute Act), as well as proposed legislation that failed to be enacted (e.g. the 2005 Kelowna Accord). Two of the important themes that emerged from this analysis are the general exclusion of Indigenous languages from Canadian language policy and limited local, Indigenous consultation and control within those policies that do include Indigenous languages.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John D. Mellow
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.