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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate the discriminability of two different assimilation types, the Uncategorized-Categorized (UC) and the Uncategorized-Uncategorized assimilation (UU) (Best and Tyler, 2007), as reflected in the discrimination accuracy and reaction times towards non-native contrasts by Russian speakers. The discriminability of these assimilation types varies in the literature. To this purpose, the same Russian speakers who evaluated Greek consonantal contrasts as UC and UU types in an assimilation test of a previous study completed an AXB discrimination test in this study to detect the discriminability of these assimilation types. The findings demonstrated that most of the UU non-overlapping (UU-N) types, and specifically those with focalized-focalized responses, were more accurately discriminated and had faster RTs than the UC non-overlapping (UC-N) type. However, one UU-N type with clustered-clustered responses did not differ in terms of discrimination accuracy and reaction times with the UC-N type. It is suggested that despite having the same overlapping parameters (non-overlapping), UU types might be more discriminable than UC types with respect to consonants. Also, similarity of uncategorized phones with other assimilated phones (e.g., focalized, clustered, dispersed) might shape the UC-UU type relationship. Finally, it is assumed that the discriminability of UC-UU types might be consonant-specific.

Abstract

This paper offers an argument to analyse the Spanish form /a/ as a syncretic case marker for accusative differential object marking (dom) and dative. The literature on free relative clauses has established that syncretism allows the repair of feature mismatches arising from contradictory selectional requirements between the matrix and the embedded predicates. By combining clitic left dislocation constructions (CLLD) and free relatives, it is shown here that dom and dative grant the same repairing effect in Spanish, so it follows that they must be syncretic categories. The same type of configuration distinguishes the directional preposition a and the dative case marker, which is taken to indicate that these elements are mere homophones in the language. Furthermore, an analysis of the repairing effect of syncretism is offered.

Abstract

This paper is aimed at testing the Pseudo Relative-First Hypothesis in Spanish, a proposal that may settle the long-standing question of cross-linguistic variation in attachment preferences. This hypothesis predicts that whenever a Pseudo Relative (PR) is obtainable, it will be preferred for parsing over a genuine relative clause (RC). Assuming that PRs only allow for high attachment (HA), it follows that HA will be obtained when a PR is possible. To test this hypothesis, two experiments previously conducted in Italian will be replicated in Spanish with sentences containing PR-ambiguous and unambiguous RCs. In experiment 1 PR-availability is manipulated by modifying structural conditions, while in experiment 2 the PRs are only manipulated through semantic conditions. The results obtained show that PR-possible contexts do not yield the predicted HA. It will be argued that this finding, together with the data provided by the Italian experiments, only partially support the PR-First Hypothesis.

Abstract

This study aims to examine the comprehension of L2 metonymies by Arabic-speaking EFL learners and to investigate the extent to which the participants’ L1 conceptual and linguistic knowledge of metonymies can affect the processing of L2 metonymies. A comprehension task was administered to elicit data, and the results showed that the participants encountered various degrees of difficulty comprehending different types of metonymies. Though metonymy has been regarded as a universal cognitive device, numerous factors can collaborate to hinder its comprehension process. The researchers argued that the non-conventionality of conceptual metonymies, the non-compositional nature of metonymy processing, the lack of direct exposure to metonymy as a cognitive referential device in L2, and the differences between L1 and L2 possibly contributed to the participants’ faulty answers on the administered test. The study concluded with a set of pedagogical implications and recommendations for further research studies.

Abstract

This paper examines the contributions of lexical context and prosody on the perception of the Slovak particle ‘no’, [nɔ] in IPA. The functional meanings of this discourse marker are similar to those of ‘okay’ in English. Based on a literature review, we expected that the presence of the prosodic cues is not sufficient for decoding the functional meanings. We also explored how biological sex and age affected the perception of ‘no’. We found that both - context and prosody - to a great extent influence the disambiguation of ‘no’, but context provides better information about the function of Slovak ‘no’. Additionally, females and younger adults, compared with males and middle-aged adults, were more sensitive to the cues provided by context than by prosody alone.