Free Word Order Scrambling Term Paper

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Linguistics Free Word Order, Scrambling

Linguistics: Free Word Order, Scrambling

This work conducts a review of historical and recent literature related to 'free word order' languages, or those, which use 'scrambling' in sentence structure placement of nouns and verbs. The social theory of language acquisition is reviewed as well as cultural influences on language acquisition and specifically related to 'free word order' language structure. Word order in various languages is examined and recent studies reviewed in this subject area.

Linguistics: Free Word Order, Scrambling

The objective of this work is to review both historical and recent literature related to 'free word order' or 'scrambling' in languages such as Japanese and Korean in relation to the effect that this scrambled order of nouns and verbs in the sentence structure has upon the learning of the language by those native to these languages. This work will further research and review the various theories associated with language acquisition in free word order structured languages. This work does not attempt to provide an explanation but only to review the recent work in this subject area


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Free word order' languages are those in which the structure of a sentence is constructed loosely in relation to the placement of nouns and verbs. The writer notes in the research process that there are many and various explanations and theories surrounding the structure or lack of structure in the free word order languages. Grammatical encoding has never been quite as relevant as in the present as computer-generated language translation is in use frequently in the lives of many. Communication barriers presented are evident in the confused communications and specifically between languages such as the English language with its formally structured sentence use of nouns and verbs and the languages of Korean and Japanese both 'free word order' languages..

Term Paper on Free Word Order Scrambling Assignment

Thorne (2000) notes in his work "Second Language Acquisition Theory and the Truths About Relativity" that strong tradition in research exists within anthropology, sociology and linguistics which illustrate the contextual relativity of semantic values. Reappraising these values in relation to second language acquisition from "an understanding of the language learned as context-independent lexical and grammatical meaning (present in formal theories of language and communication), to an acknowledgment of the relative and context contingent nature of language-in-use." (Thorne, 2000)

Thorne remarks that when socio-cultural theory is afforded a serious view from the perspective of: "...linguistics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and communications theory as they pertain to second and foreign language learning" that certain themes unfold. These themes are those as follows:

1) the interdependences between language and conceptual development, 2) Language as the principal sign system carrying socio-historical-cultural presence into the moment, 3) Language as a primary resource through which people interactively construct social reality, and (4) the reproduction of individual and community practices due in part to the inertia of language constructed social worlds." (Thorne, 2000)

I. Socio-Cultural Formation of Speech and Language

Vygotsky believed that the human brain is: "...socially constituted through mediation via semiotic systems" meaning specifically that the different languages are actually...expressions of socio-historical processes" existing in the life of the individual. To Vygotsky speech is first 'social' and then follows internalized or 'inner' speech referred to as 'egocentric' speech. Not only do considerable differences exist between the various languages throughout the world but also existing are "language specific world-framing" differences. (Thorne, 2000; paraphrased) in the attempt to learn a language adults specifically must learn in relation to "reduced syntax and vocabulary, no fixed order of words, with considerable variation from on e speaker to another; and used purely as a language of communication." (Mason, nd)

It was held by Noam Chomsky that children are born with an innate knowledge or set of rules concerning language which he called "Universal Grammar'. Chomsky says that: Children are exposed to very little correctly formed language. When people speak, they constantly interrupt themselves; change their minds, makes slips of the tongue and so on. Yet children manage to learn their language all the same. This claim is usually referred to as the 'Argument from Poverty of the Stimulus'. Children do not simply copy the language that they hear around them. They deduce rules from it, which they can then use to produce sentences that they have never heard before. They do not learn a repertoire of phrases and sayings, as the" l "Table%20of%20Contents" behaviorists believe, but a grammar that generates infinity of new sentences. (Mason, nd) Bailyn (nd) states in the work entitled: "Word Order and Minimalism" that "Scrambling is the cover term of the transformation that derives non-canonical word order patterns in free word order languages such as Japanese, Russian, German, Hindi and others." (Bailyn, nd) in these languages, constituents appear in a variety of surface orders, without changing the core meaning of sentence." (Ibid)

II. Previous Study in Language Acquisition

Among the first to study acquisition of language were Gopnik and Choi (1991) followed by Gopnik and Meltzoff (1993). The studies of Gopnik and Choi (1991) demonstrate "specific correspondence between language-culture environment and conceptual development." (Thorne, 2000) Thorne states that 75% of all languages in the world have a SVO structure, which includes English, French, and Vietnamese while others have a SOV structure, which includes Japanese and Korean. Other language structures are VOS and OSV. Children unconsciously recognize different language structures and make adjustments for them. (Thorne, 2000; paraphrased) it was demonstrated in the studies of Gopnik and Choi (1991) and Gopnik and Meltzoff (1993) that the Korean and Japanese language in terms of the language acquisition of children was greatly effected due to the culture-language environment and that specific correlations exist between grammatical characteristics of the languages and in relation to domain specific development progress.

III. Differentiation between 'verb salient' and 'noun salient' Languages

The Japanese and Korean languages are 'verb salient' languages while the English language is a 'noun salient' language. The Japanese and Korean children produced verb morphology earlier than did the children who spoke the English language however, the Korean and Japanese speaking children were "significantly delayed in performance concerning categorization tasks." (Thorne, 2000) the work of Yama*****a and Chang entitled: "Sentence Production in Japanese" states that in order to verbally communicate with one another there is a requirement for the production of a: "...grammatical sequence of words, that is, a sentence that conveys a meaning. The meaning activates syntactic, morphological and lexical representations, which insure the production of a grammatical sentence." (nd)

Yama*****a and Chang state that this process is one that is quite complex due to the fact that the individual speaking must: "select elements that are appropriate for the meaning and find a way to sequence these elements in a language-appropriate way." (nd) in the initiative of providing an explanation of precisely how the individual who is speaking produces sentences then." architecture for sentence production has been proposed (Bock, 1995; Bock & Levelt, 1994; Garrett 1998; Levelt, 1989) the three main points in this work in writing are:

1) the message - represents the "meaning of a sentence, 2) the grammatical component, responsible for the "generation of word sequences"; and 3) the physiological components which retrieves the content of worlds from the lexicon" (Chang and Yama*****a, 2006)

The grammatical characteristics of the Japanese language are reviewed in the work of Chang and Yama*****a (nd). The Japanese language is different from the English language in several "syntactic dimensions." (Chang and Yama*****a, 2006) in fact, the Japanese language is one that utilizes 'scrambling' and is therefore "a relatively 'free word-order' language" the differences noted in the language of Japanese are those as follows:

1) Japanese language uses particles for marking each phrase in terms of its' grammatical function within the sentence. This is an interchange of phrases within the sentence without changing the function of the phrase. The phrases trade places through scrambling or 'word permutation'; (2) the verbs in the Japanese language are found at the clause ending; and (3) Arguments may be omitted within the framework of the Japanese language." (Ibid)

IV. Word Order in the Various Languages

Keller writes that there is a substantial differentiation in the degree of variation of word order in the world's languages as: "On one end of the spectrum, we find languages like English, which exhibit a relatively fixed word order. On the other end, there are languages like Warlpiri which allow a large degree of word order variation." (Keller, nd) Keller further notes that "many languages exhibit a semi-free word order, ie.e the word order is fixed in some respects, but variable in others." (nd) Weighted constraints were modeled by Uszkoreit (1987) who models word order preferences through annotation with numeric weights reflecting the importance toward grammaticality determination. Introduced the work of Keller is the "Optimality Theory" (Prince and Smolensky, 199) which assumes " a binary notion of grammaticality, a linguistic structure is either optimal (and thus grammatical) or suboptimal (and thus ungrammatical) the work of Hawkins (1992) relates an approach to word order preference with a reliance, although under different assumptions in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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