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

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Effect of L2 phonetic learning on L1 vowels

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This research examines the effect of L2 phonetic learning on L1 vowel production. Mandarin-English bilinguals differing in amount of L1 use produced Mandarin and English vowels. An acoustic analysis showed that both the Mandarin-English bilinguals of high L1 use and those of low L1 use deviated from the norm of Mandarin vowel /i/. The Mandarin-English bilinguals of low L1 use who successfully acquired English vowel /aj/ deviated from the norm of Mandarin vowel /aj/, indicating a carry-over effect of L2 vowel on L1 vowel production. In a perception test, Mandarin vowel production by the Mandarin-English bilinguals was presented to Mandarin as well as English listeners for goodness rating. The results showed that both Mandarin-English bilinguals of high L1 use and those of low L1 use differed significantly from Mandarin monolinguals in the production of /y/, a vowel with no counterpart in English. An analysis of inter-speaker variability indicated that some individual Mandarin-English bilinguals, including both speakers of high L1 use and low L1 use, were accented in the production of /y/, /aj/ and /aU/. Possible acoustic properties contributing to their accentedness included lower second formant frequency, larger first or second formant frequency movement, extremely short or long duration, and tone deviation. L2 English learning led to some Mandarin-English bilinguals carrying some English characteristics in their L1 Mandarin vowel production. In a follow-up perception test, the correlation between the ratings assigned to the Mandarin-English bilinguals’ production of Mandarin vowel /y/ and the ratings assigned to their production of English vowel /I/ and /E/ was examined. No inverse correlation was revealed, indicating that good L2 vowel production does not necessarily lead to poor L1 vowel production, and vice versa. This research suggests that the L1 phonetic system established in childhood does not remain static; instead, it may undergo reorganization when the L1 and L2 phonetic systems coexisting in a common phonological space interact.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Z
Department: 
Dept. of Linguistics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

The semantics of vagueness: supertruth, subtruth, and the cooperative principle

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Experimental results are used to assess the predictions of supervaluation, subvaluation, and many-valued logic with regards to the problem of vagueness. Supervaluation predicts a truth-value gap in the borderline range of a predicate, thus assigning the predicate neither true nor false as value, subvaluation predicts a truth-value glut, where the predicate is both true and false, and many-valued logics assign at least three truth-values to propositions in their domain. The results of the experiment are analyzed and shown to oppose each of these frameworks, and instead to favor an approach in which the predicate and its negation are false in the borderline range, but where their conjunction is true.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Francis Jeffry Pelletier
Department: 
Dept. of Linguistics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

An argument for process-based morphology: subtractive morphology in Tohono O’odham (Uto-Aztecan)

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Subtractive morphology (SM) has been an important form of evidence for process-based theories of morphology. The evidence in the literature consists of broad surveys of plausible examples, but lacks either theoretical justification for selected examples or rigorous investigation of SM in the context of grammars of particular languages. Focusing on Tohono O’odham (TO, Uto-Aztecan), the aim is to determine (i) if the native rules alone can account for SM, (ii) if concatenative theories of morphology can account for all the facts without unmotivated assumptions. This study investigates options that make use of TO phonological and morphophonemic processes, as well as a number of approaches to SM intended to avoid process-based morphology. It concludes that all of these concatenative approaches lead to unnecessary stipulations or predictions of TO that are untrue. Finally, this study provides a process-based analysis of TO subtractive morphology in Antifaithfulness Theory to address criticisms to process-based morphology.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
J
Department: 
Dept. of Linguistics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Quantitative authorship attribution: A history and an evaluation of techniques

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

I here present a history of the field of quantitative authorship attribution and an evaluation of its techniques. The basic assumption of quantitative authorship attribution is that the author of a text can be selected from a set of possible authors by comparing the values of textual measurements in that text to their corresponding values in each author's writing sample. Over the centuries, many measurements have been proposed, but never before have the majority of these measurements been tested on the same dataset. Until now investigators of authorship have not known which measurements are the best indicators of authorship. Such information is crucial if our current techniques are to be used effectively and if new more powerhl techniques are to be developed. Based on the results of this study, I propose that the best approach to quantitative authorship attribution involves the analysis of many different types of textual measurements.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Linguistics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The ditransitive construction in Korean

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This thesis investigates the Korean dative construction that consists of the Goal (Indirect Object: IO), an NP marked with a dative marker, and the Theme (Direct Object: DO), an NP marked with an accusative marker. I propose that [IO-DO] is the underlying order and [DO-IO] is derived through scrambling. Further, I propose that the underlying order [IO-DO] is an instantiation of a prepositional locative structure in which the Goal c-commands the Theme. As supporting arguments, I point out that Korean has another locative structure in the form of a double subject construction. I show that the syntactic relationship in the double subject locative structure is similar to the syntactic relationship in the dative construction.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
C
Department: 
Dept. of Linguistics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Prosodic profiles: Suspects' speech during police interviews

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This dissertation presents a descriptive study of the prosodic characteristics of suspects' speech during investigative interviews with police. During police interviews, investigators direct conversation by asking suspects questions and making assertions which place the suspect in the position of responding. Based on whether the suspect is a first-time or repeat offender, and the type of information suspects produce, responses are categorized and examined for their properties of pause, tempo, and pitch. Response categories explored in this study are affirmative, in which suspects confirm information in the investigators' questions or assertions; negative, in which asserted information is rejected; relevant and irrelevant, in which suspects offer information pertaining or not pertaining to the investigators' questions; and confessions. Certain pausal features—response latency, pause-to-speech ratio—are found to differ across response types in both groups. In general, for example, first time suspects pause more than repeat offenders, both before and during turns, particularly when offering relevant information. Among the temporal features, first time suspects' speech and articulation rates are lower when producing relevant information than repeat offenders' rates. Furthermore, first-timers' irrelevant temporal rates are higher than relevant temporal rates. Pitch characteristics show less distinction across response types than pause and tempo, although first-time suspects' pitch values cluster somewhat more neatly within response types than repeat offenders', whose pitch values vary more widely.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
N
Department: 
Dept. of Linguistics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Training Spanish Speakers in the Perception and Production of English Vowels

Date created: 
2003
Abstract: 

This thesis investigates the effects of training native speakers of Spanish in the perception and production of the English pairs of vowels /i/-/I/, /u/-/u/, and /a/-/A/ in a regular ESL classroom setting. Thirty-two adult native Spanish speakers, sixteen in the control group and sixteen in the experimental group, participated in the study. The experimental design included a pretest-posttest procedure in order to compare the subject's performance before and after training. Perception was tested using a minimal pair forced choice task including multiple samples of the three pairs of vowels. Production data was provided by reading 15 sentences and a paragraph, all of which contained the target vowel contrasts. Over a three-week training period, the subjects in the experimental group were given instruction on how to identify and produce the English pairs of vowels 111-/I/, /u/- /u/, and /a/-/A/. Their progress was tested through quizzes at the end of each week. No recordings were used during the lessons. The effect of training on perception was demonstrated through a direct comparison between the scores on the pretest and posttest. Analysis reveals a significant improvement (from 60.1% to 83.3%) in the subjects' performance as an effect of training. A mixed design ANOVA with 1 between factor (group) and 2 within factors (vowel and time) shows a significant group x time interaction (p<.05). The effect of training on production was assessed through a category goodness test and a comprehensibility test. Overall, there was no significant improvement as an effect of training. The study provides evidence that Spanish speaking adults who learn ESL can be taught to perceive certain vowels with more accuracy in a regular classroom environment. Accuracy gained for perception in the training was not transferable to production. The study suggest that exposure to the language might have been an important factor affecting these results in production.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Linguistics) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Negation scope and phrase structure in Japanese

Date created: 
2004
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Linguistics) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

A lexical semantic study of four-character Sino-Japanese compounds and its application to machine translation

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Four-Character Sino-Japanese compounds are a productive word formation process in Japanese. There are many morpho-syntactic analyses on these compounds. However, little has been done on their lexical semantic structure. In this thesis I will provide a syntactically motivated classification system for these compounds, and a lexical semantic analysis of their structure. The lexical semantic analysis is extended to a potential application in Japanese-English Machine Translation. A lexical semantic analysis reveals that for compounds with a deverbal head, there is an argument relation between the constituents if the head’s lexical semantic requirement is fulfilled by the non-head constituent, while the relation is adjunct if it is not fulfilled. The constituents of compounds with a regular noun head are in an attributive relation, and the relation cannot seem to be determined by Lexical Semantics. Compounds with a de-adjectival head require more examples to draw firm conclusions because these compounds are rare.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
M
Department: 
Dept. of Linguistics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)