ERIC Number: ED024920
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Feb-1
Reference Count: 0
The Measurement of Cross-Language Communication.
Ladefoged, Peter; And Others
Of the approximately 40 languages in Uganda, some are very similar to one another and may be to some extent mutually intelligible. Because no one knows how to measure degrees of mutual intelligibility, the authors are attempting to establish reliable techniques which would be not only of practical value for the study of language problems in Uganda, but also theoretically interesting for sociolinguistics. Discussed in this paper are possible techniques for testing mutual intelligibility--asking a number of informants to assess the extent to which they can understand and follow instructions in the other languages; assessing linguistic similarities. The authors also propose using a system of comparison of lexical items which include common cultural phenomena (avoiding words which may produce a number of equivalent forms). A new approach to the finding of cognate words in related languages entails eliciting two kinds of word lists from each informant--(1) The informant is asked to give common equivalents for each word. (2) The informant, given the word in the neighboring languages, is asked if there is a similar sounding word with the same or a related meaning in his own language. Also described is a proposal for computing the degree of similarity between each pair of words; the distinctive features will be encoded in binary terms. The authors hope that this data will be processed at the Kampala Computer Centre. (AMM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Survey of Language Use and Language Teaching in Eastern Africa, Nairobi (Kenya).
Identifiers: Cognates; Uganda
Note: Uganda Language Survey Working Paper.