MAIN: Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives
Natalʹja Vladimirovna Gagarina
- The Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives (MAIN) was designed in order to assess narrative skills in children who acquire one or more languages from birth or from early age. MAIN is suitable for children from 3 to 10 years and evaluates both comprehension and production of narratives. Its design allows for the assessment of several languages in the same child, as well as for different elicitation modes: Model Story, Retelling, and Telling.
MAIN contains four parallel stories, each with a carefully designed six-picture sequence. The stories are controlled for cognitive and linguistic complexity, parallelism in macrostructure and microstructure, as well as for cultural appropriateness and robustness.
The instrument has been developed on the basis of extensive piloting with more than 550 monolingual and bilingual children aged 3 to 10, for 15 different languages and language combinations.
Even though MAIN has not been norm-referenced yet, its standardized procedures can be used for evaluation, intervention and research purposes. MAIN is currently available in the following languages: English, Afrikaans, Albanian, Basque, Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot Greek, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Standard Arabic, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese, and Welsh.
The dynamics of crises and the equity premium
- There has been a considerable debate about whether disaster models can rationalize the equity premium puzzle. This is because empirically disasters are not single extreme events, but long-lasting periods in which moderate negative consumption growth realizations cluster. Our paper proposes a novel way to explain this stylized fact. By allowing for consumption drops that can spark an economic crisis, we introduce a new economic channel that combines long-run and short-run risk. First, we document that our model can match consumption data of several countries. Second, it generates a large equity risk premium even if consumption drops are of moderate size.
Sprachstandstest Russisch für mehrsprachige Kinder = Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children
Natalʹja Vladimirovna Gagarina
- The 'Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children' is a linguistically and psycholinguistically-grounded test for L1-Russian bilingual children of pre-school and elementary school age. It allows the evaluation of language proficiency in Russian for scientific, therapeutic, and pedagogical purposes. The test is based on preliminary norms: data of 167 German-Russian bilingual children between the ages of 3 years and 6 years 11 months were evaluated.
Bilingual children's proficiency is examined in the following language domains:
- productive and receptive lexicon for verbs and nouns
- production of morphological marking on verbs (first and second-person singular present verbal inflection) and nouns (accusative and dative case singular)
- comprehension of grammatical constructions on the sentence level
The test should be administered by a competent – ideally native – speaker of Russian, and takes approximately 60 minutes to administer.
In addition to the test itself, the 'Russian language proficiency test for multilingual children' contains a questionnaire for gathering detailed information on the input situation as well as the child's previous linguistic and extra-linguistic development. The questionnaire is written in English and Russian and is intended to be filled out by the parents.
Equilibrium asset pricing in networks with mutually exciting jumps
- We analyze the implications of the structure of a network for asset prices in a general equilibrium model. Networks are represented via self- and mutually exciting jump processes, and the representative agent has Epstein-Zin preferences. Our approach provides a exible and tractable unifying foundation for asset pricing in networks. The model endogenously generates results in accordance with, e.g., the robust-yetfragile feature of financial networks shown in Acemoglu, Ozdaglar, and Tahbaz-Salehi (2014) and the positive centrality premium documented in Ahern (2013). We also show that models with simpler preference assumptions cannot generate all these findings simultaneously.
The impact of health insurance on stockholding: a regression discontinuity approach
- Using data from the US Health and Retirement Study, we study the causal effect of increased health insurance coverage through Medicare and the associated reduction in health-related background risk on financial risk-taking. Given the onset of Medicare at age 65, we identify our effect of interest using a regression discontinuity approach. We find that getting Medicare coverage induces stockholding for those with at least some college education, but not for their less-educated counterparts. Hence, our results indicate that a reduction in background risk induces financial risk-taking in individuals for whom informational and pecuniary stock market participation costs are relatively low.
Phytosociological study of arable weed communities in Slovakia
- A phytosociological survey of weed (segetal) vegetation in Slovakia was performed. A total of 508 relevés were sampled in 2002–2008. The aims of this study were to determine the actual distribution of the segetal communities, to analyze their floristic structure, and to evaluate their relationships to selected environmental factors. Thirteen plant communities of the class Stellarietea mediae were distinguished by cluster analysis; 11 communities were included in the subclass Violenea arvensis (Lathyro tuberosi-Adonidetum aestivalis, Consolido-Anthemidetum austriacae, Euphorbio exiguae-Melandrietum noctiflori, Veronicetum trilobae-triphyllidi, Lamio amplexicauli-Thlaspietum arvensis, Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia community, Spergulo arvensis-Scleranthetum annui, Myosotido-Sonchetum arvensis, Echinochloo-Setarietum pumilae, Galinsogo-Setarietum, and Stachyo annui-Setarietum pumilae) and two in the subclass Sisymbrienea (Portulacetum oleraceae and Setario viridis-Erigeronetum canadensis). Communities were characterized by diagnostic, constant, and dominant species and their structure, ecology, and distribution were estimated. The species composition of these communities was documented in synoptic and association tables. DCA ordination and analysis of variance was used to determine the main environmental factors of floristic differentiation and to determine ecological and structural differences among the communities. The analyses showed that the most important factors affecting floristic composition and classification of the weed communities are their time of development (agroecophase), the type of crops and altitude.
River corridor plants in North-western Germany are threatened by small population size and short-term environmental events
- River corridor plants in Central Europe account for an above-average proportion of endangered species. The main objective of this study was to examine the effects of habitat fragmentation and abiotic conditions on the survival and changes in population size of four endangered, long-lived river corridor plant species (Euphorbia palustris, Pseudolysimachion longifolium, Sanguisorba officinalis, and Senecio paludosus) over the course of at least ten years. We sampled altogether 138 populations in the Weser and Elbe river systems in Northwestern Germany. Overall, 33% of the populations went extinct during the study period. Extinction rates and changes in population size were related to initial population sizes, but not to population isolation and only marginally so to habitat quality. Large populations (> 100 individuals) had a much higher probability to survive or increase in size (to > 1000 individuals) than smaller populations. There was no general decline in population size in surviving populations, and extinction rates and changes in population size were independent of time. We therefore conclude that the high extinction rates in small populations are best explained by sudden short-term environmental events, such as changes in land use, rather than by long-term negative effects of, for example, genetic deterioration. A projection matrix for the next 117 years, however, predicted that 85% of the surveyed populations will have gone extinct. Since any establishment of new populations in the study area is unlikely owing to the lack of potential habitats and dispersal limitation, river corridor plants will probably continue to decline. Apart from preventing further habitat deterioration it will be crucial to maintain or establish an appropriate management, and to avoid sudden and adverse changes in land use.
Distribution and identification of Rhodothemis in the eastern part of the Indo-Australian Archipelago (Odonata: Libellulidae)
Vincent J. Kalkman
Albert George Orr
- The small libellulid genus Rhodothemis is restricted to Asia and Australia. Two of the four included species were described relatively recently by Lohmann (1984) but much previously documented material was never re-identified and the distribution of species in the Indospecies in the Indo-Australian Archipelago remained poorly known. All material available in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center (RMNH) from the eastern part of the Indo-Australian Archipelago was studied and is here brought on record. Key characters are illustrated and SEM images of the genital ligula are presented.
Papers on pragmasemantics
- Optimality theory as used in linguistics (Prince & Smolensky, 1993/2004; Smolensky & Legendre, 2006) and cognitive psychology (Gigerenzer & Selten, 2001) is a theoretical framework that aims to integrate constraint based knowledge representation systems, generative grammar, cognitive skills, and aspects of neural network processing. In the last years considerable progress was made to overcome the artificial separation between the disciplines of linguistic on the one hand which are mainly concerned with the description of natural language competences and the psychological disciplines on the other hand which are interested in real language performance.
The semantics and pragmatics of natural language is a research topic that is asking for an integration of philosophical, linguistic, psycholinguistic aspects, including its neural underpinning. Especially recent work on experimental pragmatics (e.g. Noveck & Sperber, 2005; Garrett & Harnish, 2007) has shown that real progress in the area of pragmatics isn’t possible without using data from all available domains including data from language acquisition and actual language generation and comprehension performance. It is a conceivable research programme to use the optimality theoretic framework in order to realize the integration.
Game theoretic pragmatics is a relatively young development in pragmatics. The idea to view communication as a strategic interaction between speaker and hearer is not new. It is already present in Grice' (1975) classical paper on conversational implicatures. What game theory offers is a mathematical framework in which strategic interaction can be precisely described. It is a leading paradigm in economics as witnessed by a series of Nobel prizes in the field. It is also of growing importance to other disciplines of the social sciences. In linguistics, its main applications have been so far pragmatics and theoretical typology. For pragmatics, game theory promises a firm foundation, and a rigor which hopefully will allow studying pragmatic phenomena with the same precision as that achieved in formal semantics.
The development of game theoretic pragmatics is closely connected to the development of bidirectional optimality theory (Blutner, 2000). It can be easily seen that the game theoretic notion of a Nash equilibrium and the optimality theoretic notion of a strongly optimal form-meaning pair are closely related to each other. The main impulse that bidirectional optimality theory gave to research on game theoretic pragmatics stemmed from serious empirical problems that resulted from interpreting the principle of weak optimality as a synchronic interpretation principle.
In this volume, we have collected papers that are concerned with several aspects of game and optimality theoretic approaches to pragmatics.
Opacity is a matter of representation : Shimakonde vowel harmony and vowel reduction
Laura J. Downing
- As work like McCarthy (2002: 128) notes, pre-Optimality Theory (OT) phonology was primarily concerned with representations and theories of subsegmental structure. In contrast, the role of representations and choice of structural models has received little attention in OT. Some central representational issues of the pre-OT era have, in fact, become moot in OT (McCarthy 2002: 128). Further, as work like Baković (2007) notes, even for assimilatory processes where representation played a central role in the pre-OT era, constraint interaction now carries the main explanatory burden. Indeed, relatively few studies in OT (e.g., Rose 2000; Hargus & Beavert 2006; Huffmann 2005, 2007; Morén 2006) have argued for the importance of phonological representations. This paper intends to contribute to this work by reanalyzing a set of processes related to vowel harmony in Shimakonde, a Bantu language spoken in Mozambique and Tanzania. These processes are of particular interest, as Liphola’s (2001) study argues that they are derivationally opaque and so not amenable to an OT analysis. I show that the opacity disappears given the proper choice of representations for vowel features and a metrical harmony domain.