A Descriptive and Comparative Account with Analysed Texts
A Neo-Sapirian Theory of Language
Sound and Grammar: A Neo-Sapirian Theory of Language by Susan F. Schmerling offers an original overall linguistic theory based on the work of the early American linguist Edward Sapir, supplemented with ideas from the philosopher-logicians Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz and Richard Montague and the linguist Elisabeth Selkirk. The theory yields an improved understanding of interactions among different aspects of linguistic structure, resolving notorious issues directly inherited by current theory from (post-) Bloomfieldian linguistics. In the theory presented here, syntax is a filter on a phonological algebra, not a linguistic level; linguistic expressions are phonological structures, and syntax is semantically relevant relations among phonological structures. The book shows how Neo-Sapirian grammar sheds new light on syntax-phonology interactions in English, German, French, and Spanish.
Beyond First-Language Transfer
Tones are the most challenging aspect of learning Chinese pronunciation for adult learners and traditional research mostly attributes tonal errors to interference from learners’ native languages. In Second Language Acquisition of Mandarin Chinese Tones, Hang Zhang offers a series of cross-linguistic studies to argue that there are factors influencing tone acquisition that extend beyond the transfer of structures from learners’ first languages, and beyond characteristics extracted from Chinese. These factors include universal phonetic and phonological constraints as well as pedagogical issues. By examining non-native Chinese tone productions made by speakers of non-tonal languages (English, Japanese, and Korean), this book brings together theory and practice and uses the theoretical insights to provide concrete suggestions for teachers and learners of Chinese.