On Sat, 2 May 2009, <deinx nxtxr> wrote:

> Paul Bartlett wrote:
>> [...]
>> In any language which relies heavily on compounding, there is always
>> the problem of discriminating word boundaries.  In writing, this is
>> rarely a problem, as discrete words tends to be separated by spaces. But
>> in continuous speech streams, things are less clear.  [...] English, for
>> example, allows complex structures (including one CCCVCCC syllable/word
>> that I can think of), so although the vocabulary learning burden is
>> higher (and pronunciation learning for foreign adult speakers as well),
>> the word boundary parsing issue is lessened.
> In some cases, it's also not easy to determine what a "word" is. 
> This is very apparent in English where compounds are sometimes
> written as two words, sometimes a single words, or two words with a
> hyphen.

English freely allows nouns to modify other nouns attributively, as if
the first nouns are adjectives.  The syntactic rules of some languages
do not allow this usage.  Such a kind of blurriness does not help
things for learners whose natlangs do not allow (or provide for) it.

>          Chinese provides another good example as the written
> language is just a stream of morphemic symbols.  Connected speech
> will be somewhat like this.

However, there is a difference between static morphemic symbols on a
page, in which the eye is allowed to go back at leisure, and a speech
stream, in which the ear cannot.

> Parsing is something that I admit I have trouble with when listening
> to a language for the first time.  POS markers do not seem to aid me,
> though learning to listen for cues from those little words helps
> greatly.

I myself would find explicit POS and syntactic markers, such as in (but
not limited to) Esperanto, helpful for parsing streams (although I have
other problems with E-o).

Paul Bartlett