The Odd Yearbook

undergraduate papers in theoretical linguistics

Volume 9

This is the ninth volume in the ODD Yearbook series, which is the collection of undergraduate and graduate papers in linguistics at the School of English and American Studies of the Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. As all possible layers of interpretation of the title have already been aptly explored in the forewords of previous volumes, without much ado, we would like to present the volume of 2014.

Following the Odd Yearbook's tradition, the ninth volume covers a wide variety of topics in linguistics. The first four papers by Fodor, Pándi, Szalay, and Florina Szabó cover phonology, and deal with several phenomena from vowel length to rhoticity and with several varieties of English. Besides providing an ample amount of data, these papers also contribute to the theoretical analysis of the issues they present. The fifth paper, by Lilla Szabó, has a special role within the volume, as it is not only the sole representative of analyses on English morphology, but is also exceptional as an example of linguistic research not applying formal underlying representations but being instead based exclusively on massive amounts of data gathered from corpora. The sixth and seventh papers, by Kiss and Biczók, cover semantics, with the first focusing on semantics and pragmatics, and the second on semantics and syntax. Last, but definitely not least, the volume ends with two papers on syntax: one on small clauses written by Tomacsek, and the other on relative clauses written by Kucsera.

The authors also come from different backgrounds, as there are students of BA and MA level, and students from the School of English and American Studies, and the Research Institute for Linguistics.

Many thanks are due to the faculty of the Department of English Linguistics of the School of English and American Studies, without whose help and encouragement this volume could not have been made.

The editors,

Márton Kucsera, Péter Őri, Ildikó Emese Szabó, Tünde Szalay, Csilla Tatár

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Brigitta Fodor: Scottish Vowel Length

Regular Vowel Length Alternations and the Raising of /ae/ in Scottish Standard English

In her paper, Brigitta Fodor presents a sound analysis of the vowel system of the dialect in question and treats one of its most characteristic phonological rules. First, she discusses the history and the status of Scottish Standard English. Following that, she gives a detailed overview of the vowels of the dialect from both a phonetic and a phonological point of view. The next section introduces the Scottish Vowel Length Rule, which governs the length of certain monophthongs and also triggers a qualitative change in the case of the diphthong /ae/, which is therefore raised to /ʌɪ/. Then, the author gives examples of English dialects, such as Canadian English, in which raising also occurs and provides a potential explanation for the phenomenon. Finally, she discusses two possibilities for the diachronic development of the /ae/~/ʌɪ/ alternation. As for the concluding section of the paper, it points to some unanswered questions, which can give basis for further investigations.

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Julianna Sarolta Pándi: Flapping in American English: A Theoretical Approach

Intervocalic Flapping of Alveolar Plosives

Julianna Pándi’s paper is a detailed descriptive study on one of the most typical characteristics of American English. Having introduced the flapping rule and described the relationship between flapping and tapping, the author examines the input of the rule, the phonetic and phonological status of its output and the environment in which it might operate. Then, she discusses the effect of the input on the length of the preceding vowel and examines the quantitative differences from the point of view of articulation as well as of perception. Furthermore, she addresses the issue of Canadian Raising, a rule responsible for changing the quality of the vowel as well, and the way it is applied together with the flapping rule. In the subsequent section, she presents cases when flapping fails to take place in spite of the fact that the rule is applicable to them, too. In order to account for the occurrence of these exceptions, the author introduces the concept of Paradigm Uniformity and, finally, presents Steriade’s explanation (1999) as well as its critique by Riehl (2003). The conclusion of the paper mentions some topics which might be worth carrying out further research on.

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Tünde Szalay: L Vocalization in Three English Dialects

The next paper describes a contemporary dialectal puzzle of English. Different dialects allow us an insight into processes and to see changes happen stage by stage. L-vocalisation in English seems to be an excellent example and the present study gives a thorough description of the situation in three dialects and provides a traditional generative analysis for the problems it poses. Namely, can vocalised-L be a new phoneme we can see in development? The author argues that this is, in fact, the case: London dialect (Estuary English and Cockney), Cambridge English and Pennsylvania English represent different stages of this phonemicisation process. The paper presents these dialects as examples of variations of English in which vocalised-L is closer and closer to acquiring the status of a phonemic vowel. The discussion in L Vocalisation in Three English Dialects has a firm grounding in phonetic data collected and described in the literature and also poses topics for further research and experimentation.

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Petra Florina Szabó: Social and regional variation and intrusive /r/

Petra Florina Szabó's paper argues that intrusive /r/ is not only subject to phonological and regional factors, but to social factors as well. The paper first introduces the concepts of rhotic and non-rhotic dialects as well as Linking- and Intrusive R. The main part of the paper examines how sociolinguistic factors influence the occurrence of Intrusive R in three dialects, namely in New Zealand English, in the dialect of Newcastle upon Tyne and Derby, and in Received Pronunciation or BBC English. The last part presents a detailed list of English accents and dialects, ranging from different British dialects to North America, Trinidadian, Singaporean, South African and other varieties of English.

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Lilla Petronella Szabó: You're a good friend, bro!

A Corpus-based Investigation of the Meanings of ‘bro’

This corpus-based investigation of the meanings of ‘bro’ has a special role within the volume. The paper itself is a study of the lexical entry 'bro' from a functional and cognitive perspective. This study is not only the sole representative here of analyses on English morphology but is also exceptional as an example of linguistic research not applying formal underlying representations but being instead based exclusively on massive amounts of data gathered from corpora. “You're a good friend, bro” presents a case of clipping in the aforementioned word. As opposed to concatenative derivation, instances of morphological derivation where the root word is reduced in order to derive a new lexical entity are much harder to find and also have to be proven more firmly. This paper provides statistical evidence for a semantically distinct use of bro ('friend') and brother which validates the lexeme status of this more and more frequently occurring reduced form.

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Angelika Kiss: A Remark on the Individual/Stage-Level Predicate Distinction in English

As the title suggests, the paper examines the division of individual-level and stage-level predication, posing the question of whether the two kinds of predicates are rendered distinct based on semantic or pragmatic considerations. Section one ("Two kinds of predicates") clarifies the basis of this distinction by providing a review of diagnostic tests and frameworks offering representations of the two different types of predication. Section two ("Problems and shortcomings") discusses the lack of clarity of the ILP/SLP distinction by highlighting some difficulties. Section three ("Unacceptable sentences") deals with ungrammatical and semantically anomalous sentences, unfurling the problem of heterogeneity caused by discrepancy in the individual/stage-level distinction of predicates. In this last section, the author elaborates on the difficulties of basing the distinction on semantics or pragmatics.

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Bálint Biczók: Approaches to Antecedent-Contained Deletion

Bálint Biczók's paper focuses on the interaction between syntax and semantics and on how an interface between the system can account for ACD phenomena. He discusses a number of accounts on this construction. First, it is discussed whether ACD can be viewed as an instance of VP-deletion. Then, the notions of Logical Form (LF) and Quantifier Raising are introduced as they can offer an alternative explanation of ACD. After that, a number of other Minimalist accounts are presented that are able address the issue without making use of Quantifier Raising. Finally, an LF-driven theory is reviewed that alters the Minimalist framework itself. Concluding his paper, Biczók contrasts these explanations in terms of their semantic and psychological relevance.

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Vivien Tomacsek: Approaches to the Structure of English Small Clauses

Vivien Tomacsek addresses the question of English small clauses. Her paper discusses a number of the different proposals that have been put forward to explain structure of post-verbal small clauses. An in-depth presentation is given to their Government and Binding Theoretic analysis. There, two different hypotheses are contrasted: Small Clause Theory and Predication Theory. After considering the arguments for and against both approaches, the paper examines the claims of Small Clause Theory more in detail. In other words, the author accepts the assumption that small clauses form a single constituent. Then, in the second part of the paper, she examines what possible categorial status this constituent might have by comparing a wide range of propositions made not only in the Government and Binding, but also in the Minimalist framework.

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Márton Kucsera: Restrictive Relative Clauses in Alignment Syntax

The paper discusses the treatment of restrictive relatives within the framework of Syntax First Alignment (SFA). The analysis offered provides an alternative account for the phenomena formerly explained by the Doubly Filled COMP Filter, and for the lack of zero relatives relating to the subject. Section one ("Relative Clauses in standard Optimality Theory") deals with the standard treatment of restrictive relative clauses in the OT framework and in what ways it differs from an SFA analysis. Section two ("The input for relative clauses in Alignment Syntax") considers the nature of input in SFA, operating with the notion of functional conceptual units. Section three ("The relevant constraints for English restrictive relatives") argues for the proposition of a number of constraints claimed to be relevant in the case of relative clauses. Section four ("Conflicting constraints and resolution strategies") discusses the interaction between the constraints proposed in the previous section and provides a demonstration with cross-linguistic (Hungarian, Japanese, Mandarin, Tagalog) data in support of the analysis. Section five ("An alignment based analysis of English restrictive relatives") proposes three rankings of the relevant constraints, delivering restrictive relatives as winning candidates.

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last touched 04-02-2015 16:40:00 CEST