Jan 23, 2012
San Duanmu was invited to give a conference talk in November at the National Central University in Taiwan. He also stopped over at the National Chung Cheng University and National Chengchi University and gave talks there. In December Duanmu was invited to give a talk, entitled 'Understanding age-graded dialectal competence', at Xuzhou Normal University in China. He also stopped over at Nanjing University and gave a talk there on feature theory. On January 12, San Duanmu gave a talk entitled 'Segments and features' at the CUNY Conference on the Segment.
Also, a new article by San Duanmu, entitled 'Word-length preferences in Chinese: a corpus study', has been accepted by the Journal of East Asian Linguistics and will come out in the 21.1 issue in 2012. The article now appears in the "Online First" section of the Journal website.
Abstract (of the article)
Are there preferred word-length combinations in Chinese? If there are, are they motivated by semantics, syntax, prosody, or a combination of these? While the issue has been discussed for some time, opinions remain divided. This study offers a quantitative analysis of word-length patterns in Chinese [N N] and [V O] sequences, using the Lancaster Corpus of Mandarin Chinese. It is found that 1+2 is overwhelmingly disfavored in [N N] and 2+1 is overwhelmingly disfavored in [V O]. In addition, it is found that apparent exceptions, ranging between 1 and 2%, are limited to certain specific structures, and when these are factored out, both 1+2 [N N] and 2+1 [V O] are well below 1% in either token count or type count. The result bears on several theoretical debates, such as the validity of word-length preferences in Chinese, the motivation of the preferences, the extent and the nature of exceptions, and the interaction among syntax, semantics, and phonology.