Linguist, lexicographer, writer, editor, broadcaster

Free linguistic articles from Cambridge Extra at Linguist List

I’m not sure how I missed this, but Cambridge University Press and Linguist List have teamed up to create a new, free online publication called Cambridge Extra. You do have to register to read it.

The debut issue is visually quite ugly and seems to be merely a repackaging of linguistic content from various Cambridge publications, mostly in PDF form.

Still, the articles are interesting, not least because in this issue they deal with children’s language acquisition. That topic is of increasing interest to me as my son is almost seventh months old and seems to be on the cusp of speaking. I know, I know, it’s too early. But when you talk to him, his eyes dart between your eyes and your mouth, and, if you’re moving them, your hands. He also seems to already understand that conversation is when one person makes a sound and then another person makes a sound in return. And he regularly runs through his phonetic inventory as he tries out new syllables. He also likes to watch me whistle and then he sometimes seems to imitate me by blowing air through pursed lips and then making a high-pitched squealing sound. Very close. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear his first word before before January, at nine months of age, but maybe that’s just papa pride.

Some of the articles:

How children learn language—what every parent should know by William O’Grady, author of How Children Learn Language .

Do parents lead their children by the hand? by Seyda Özçaliskan and Susan Goldin-Meadow, who write about the role of gestures in language-learning.

Temporal markers of prosodic boundaries in children’s speech production by Jana Dankovicová, Kathryn Pigott, Bill Wells and Sue Peppé, writing about how children learn to use spacing and timing of language to inform their understanding of spoken language. “This paper investigates (i) whether, by the age of eight, children use temporal boundary features in their speech in a systematic way, and (ii) to what extent adult listeners are able to interpret their production accurately and unambiguously. The material consists of minimal pairs of utterances: one utterance includes a compound noun, in which there is no prosodic boundary after the first noun, e.g. ‘coffee-cake and tea’, while the other utterance includes simple nouns, separated by a prosodic boundary, e.g. ‘coffee, cake and tea.’”

Full disclosure: I currently undertake freelance lexicography projects for Cambridge University Press. I don’t know anybody connected with this particular project or any of the article authors.

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Grant Barrett