“Variable or non-standard realizations of inflectional morphology in English” sounds rather dry and academic, but the placement of suffixes within compound words or phrases can sound surprising and even amusing. Arnold Zwicky and Mark Liberman recently noted unusual verb conjugation. Non-standard pronouns can be equally interesting.
I currently have the privilege of TAing Intro to linguistic anthropology at the University of Toronto and in the previous weeks the students read and discussed connections between language and gender. As the course is a very short introduction to core concepts, students read a piece by Deborah Tannen in which the ideas about difference in childhood language socialization practices turn into consequential communicative differences in adulthood. Of course, for graduate students no reading can be complete without a ‘critique’. In Tannen’s successful attempts to bring the linguistic construction difference to popular audiences, some of the nuances and ambiguities in
A piece in Scientific American Mind called “Accents Trump Skin Color” reviews work by Katherine Kinzler and colleagues suggesting that, for young children, accent is as important as visual cues to race, gender, and age in selecting friends. The magazine article was interesting, and led me to look for the research paper it was based on.
An article passed on by Ken Ehrensal from the New York Times on Campbell’s monkeys having grammar. The grammar is pretty simple but looks like it might be more complex than Vervet monkeys’ efforts. [Link to article.] The full length article it is based on can be found here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0007808 and discusses the flexibility of monkey calls and the different kinds of calls including “hok” “hok-oo” and “boom.” Some audio clips accompany the article.