Displaying 1 - 40 of 40
  • Bergmann, C., Boves, L., & Ten Bosch, L. (2012). A model of the Headturn Preference Procedure: Linking cognitive processes to overt behaviour. In Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE Conference on Development and Learning and Epigenetic Robotics (IEEE ICDL-EpiRob 2012), San Diego, CA.

    Abstract

    The study of first language acquisition still strongly relies on behavioural methods to measure underlying linguistic abilities. In the present paper, we closely examine and model one such method, the headturn preference procedure (HPP), which is widely used to measure infant speech segmentation and word recognition abilities Our model takes real speech as input, and only uses basic sensory processing and cognitive capabilities to simulate observable behaviour.We show that the familiarity effect found in many HPP experiments can be simulated without using the phonetic and phonological skills necessary for segmenting test sentences into words. The explicit modelling of the process that converts the result of the cognitive processing of the test sentences into observable behaviour uncovered two issues that can lead to null-results in HPP studies. Our simulations show that caution is needed in making inferences about underlying language skills from behaviour in HPP experiments. The simulations also generated questions that must be addressed in future HPP studies.
  • Bergmann, C., Paulus, M., & Fikkert, P. (2012). Preschoolers’ comprehension of pronouns and reflexives: The impact of the task. Journal of Child Language, 39, 777-803. doi:10.1017/S0305000911000298.

    Abstract

    Pronouns seem to be acquired in an asymmetrical way, where children confuse the meaning of pronouns with reflexives up to the age of six, but not vice versa. Children’s production of the same referential expressions is appropriate at the age of four. However, response-based tasks, the usual means to investigate child language comprehension, are very demanding given children’s limited cognitive resources. Therefore, they might affect performance. To assess the impact of the task, we investigated learners of Dutch (three- and four-year-olds) using both eye-tracking, a non-demanding on-line method, and a typical response-based task. Eye-tracking results show an emerging ability to correctly comprehend pronouns at the age of four. A response-based task fails to indicate this ability across age groups, replicating results of earlier studies. Additionally, biases seem to influence the outcome of the response-based task. These results add new evidence to the ongoing debate of the asymmetrical acquisition of pronouns and reflexives and suggest that there is less of an asymmetry than previously assumed.
  • Defina, R., & Majid, A. (2012). Conceptual event units of putting and taking in two unrelated languages. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 1470-1475). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    People automatically chunk ongoing dynamic events into discrete units. This paper investigates whether linguistic structure is a factor in this process. We test the claim that describing an event with a serial verb construction will influence a speaker’s conceptual event structure. The grammar of Avatime (a Kwa language spoken in Ghana)requires its speakers to describe some, but not all, placement events using a serial verb construction which also encodes the preceding taking event. We tested Avatime and English speakers’ recognition memory for putting and taking events. Avatime speakers were more likely to falsely recognize putting and taking events from episodes associated with takeput serial verb constructions than from episodes associated with other constructions. English speakers showed no difference in false recognitions between episode types. This demonstrates that memory for episodes is related to the type of language used; and, moreover, across languages different conceptual representations are formed for the same physical episode, paralleling habitual linguistic practices
  • Dingemanse, M., Hammond, J., Stehouwer, H., Somasundaram, A., & Drude, S. (2012). A high speed transcription interface for annotating primary linguistic data. In Proceedings of 6th Workshop on Language Technology for Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences, and Humanities (pp. 7-12). Stroudsburg, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics.

    Abstract

    We present a new transcription mode for the annotation tool ELAN. This mode is designed to speed up the process of creating transcriptions of primary linguistic data (video and/or audio recordings of linguistic behaviour). We survey the basic transcription workflow of some commonly used tools (Transcriber, BlitzScribe, and ELAN) and describe how the new transcription interface improves on these existing implementations. We describe the design of the transcription interface and explore some further possibilities for improvement in the areas of segmentation and computational enrichment of annotations.
  • Dolscheid, S., Hunnius, S., Casasanto, D., & Majid, A. (2012). The sound of thickness: Prelinguistic infants' associations of space and pitch. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 306-311). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    People often talk about musical pitch in terms of spatial metaphors. In English, for instance, pitches can be high or low, whereas in other languages pitches are described as thick or thin. According to psychophysical studies, metaphors in language can also shape people’s nonlinguistic space-pitch representations. But does language establish mappings between space and pitch in the first place or does it modify preexisting associations? Here we tested 4-month-old Dutch infants’ sensitivity to height-pitch and thickness-pitch mappings in two preferential looking tasks. Dutch infants looked significantly longer at cross-modally congruent stimuli in both experiments, indicating that infants are sensitive to space-pitch associations prior to language. This early presence of space-pitch mappings suggests that these associations do not originate from language. Rather, language may build upon pre-existing mappings and change them gradually via some form of competitive associative learning.
  • Eerland, A., Guadalupe, T., & Zwaan, R. A. (2012). Posture as index for approach-avoidance behavior. PLoS One, 7(2), e31291. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031291.

    Abstract

    Approach and avoidance are two behavioral responses that make people tend to approach positive and avoid negative situations. This study examines whether postural behavior is influenced by the affective state of pictures. While standing on the Wii™ Balance Board, participants viewed pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant pictures (passively viewing phase). Then they had to move their body to the left or the right (lateral movement phase) to make the next picture appear. We recorded movements in the anterior-posterior direction to examine approach and avoidant behavior. During passively viewing, people approached pleasant pictures. They avoided unpleasant ones while they made a lateral movement. These findings provide support for the idea that we tend to approach positive and avoid negative situations.
  • Fessler, D. M., Stieger, S., Asaridou, S. S., Bahia, U., Cravalho, M., de Barros, P., Delgado, T., Fisher, M. L., Frederick, D., Perez, P. G., Goetz, C., Haley, K., Jackson, J., Kushnick, G., Lew, K., Pain, E., Florindo, P. P., Pisor, A., Sinaga, E., Sinaga, L. and 3 moreFessler, D. M., Stieger, S., Asaridou, S. S., Bahia, U., Cravalho, M., de Barros, P., Delgado, T., Fisher, M. L., Frederick, D., Perez, P. G., Goetz, C., Haley, K., Jackson, J., Kushnick, G., Lew, K., Pain, E., Florindo, P. P., Pisor, A., Sinaga, E., Sinaga, L., Smolich, L., Sun, D. M., & Voracek, M. (2012). Testing a postulated case of intersexual selection in humans: The role of foot size in judgments of physical attractiveness and age. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 147-164. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.08.002.

    Abstract

    The constituents of attractiveness differ across the sexes. Many relevant traits are dimorphic, suggesting that they are the product of intersexual selection. However, direction of causality is generally difficult to determine, as aesthetic criteria can as readily result from, as cause, dimorphism. Women have proportionately smaller feet than men. Prior work on the role of foot size in attractiveness suggests an asymmetry across the sexes, as small feet enhance female appearance, yet average, rather than large, feet are preferred on men. Previous investigations employed crude stimuli and limited samples. Here, we report on multiple cross-cultural studies designed to overcome these limitations. With the exception of one rural society, we find that small foot size is preferred when judging women, yet no equivalent preference applies to men. Similarly, consonant with the thesis that a preference for youth underlies intersexual selection acting on women, we document an inverse relationship between foot size and perceived age. Examination of preferences regarding, and inferences from, feet viewed in isolation suggests different roles for proportionality and absolute size in judgments of female and male bodies. Although the majority of these results bolster the conclusion that pedal dimorphism is the product of intersexual selection, the picture is complicated by the reversal of the usual preference for small female feet found in one rural society. While possibly explicable in terms of greater emphasis on female economic productivity relative to beauty, the latter finding underscores the importance of employing diverse samples when exploring postulated evolved aesthetic preferences.

    Additional information

    Fessler_2011_Suppl_material.pdf
  • Gialluisi, A., Pippucci, T., Anikster, Y., Ozbek, U., Medlej-Hashim, M., Mégarbané, A., & Romeo, G. (2012). Estimating the allele frequency of autosomal recessive disorders through mutational records and consanguinity: The homozygosity index (HI). Annals of Human Genetics, 76, 159-167. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2011.00693.x.

    Abstract

    In principle mutational records make it possible to estimate frequencies of disease alleles (q) for autosomal recessive disorders using a novel approach based on the calculation of the Homozygosity Index (HI), i.e., the proportion of homozygous patients, which is complementary to the proportion of compound heterozygous patients P(CH). In other words, the rarer the disorder, the higher will be the HI and the lower will be the P(CH). To test this hypothesis we used mutational records of individuals affected with Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) and Phenylketonuria (PKU), born to either consanguineous or apparently unrelated parents from six population samples of the Mediterranean region. Despite the unavailability of precise values of the inbreeding coefficient for the general population, which are needed in the case of apparently unrelated parents, our estimates of q are very similar to those of previous descriptive epidemiological studies. Finally, we inferred from simulation studies that the minimum sample size needed to use this approach is 25 patients either with unrelated or first cousin parents. These results show that the HI can be used to produce a ranking order of allele frequencies of autosomal recessive disorders, especially in populations with high rates of consanguineous marriages.
  • Gisladottir, R. S., Chwilla, D., Schriefers, H., & Levinson, S. C. (2012). Speech act recognition in conversation: Experimental evidence. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 1596-1601). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2012/papers/0282/index.html.

    Abstract

    Recognizing the speech acts in our interlocutors’ utterances is a crucial prerequisite for conversation. However, it is not a trivial task given that the form and content of utterances is frequently underspecified for this level of meaning. In the present study we investigate participants’ competence in categorizing speech acts in such action-underspecific sentences and explore the time-course of speech act inferencing using a self-paced reading paradigm. The results demonstrate that participants are able to categorize the speech acts with very high accuracy, based on limited context and without any prosodic information. Furthermore, the results show that the exact same sentence is processed differently depending on the speech act it performs, with reading times starting to differ already at the first word. These results indicate that participants are very good at “getting” the speech acts, opening up a new arena for experimental research on action recognition in conversation.
  • Haderlein, T., Moers, C., Möbius, B., & Nöth, E. (2012). Automatic rating of hoarseness by text-based cepstral and prosodic evaluation. In P. Sojka, A. Horák, I. Kopecek, & K. Pala (Eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Text, Speech and Dialogue (TSD 2012) (pp. 573-580). Heidelberg: Springer.

    Abstract

    The standard for the analysis of distorted voices is perceptual rating of read-out texts or spontaneous speech. Automatic voice evaluation, however, is usually done on stable sections of sustained vowels. In this paper, text-based and established vowel-based analysis are compared with respect to their ability to measure hoarseness and its subclasses. 73 hoarse patients (48.3±16.8 years) uttered the vowel /e/ and read the German version of the text “The North Wind and the Sun”. Five speech therapists and physicians rated roughness, breathiness, and hoarseness according to the German RBH evaluation scheme. The best human-machine correlations were obtained for measures based on the Cepstral Peak Prominence (CPP; up to |r | = 0.73). Support Vector Regression (SVR) on CPP-based measures and prosodic features improved the results further to r ≈0.8 and confirmed that automatic voice evaluation should be performed on a text recording.
  • Irizarri van Suchtelen, P. (2012). Dative constructions in the Spanish of heritage speakers in the Netherlands. In Z. Wąsik, & P. P. Chruszczewski (Eds.), Languages in contact 2011 (pp. 103-118). Wrocław: Philological School of Higher Education in Wrocław Publishing.

    Abstract

    Spanish can use dative as well as non-dative strategies to encode Possessors, Human Sources, Interestees (datives of interest) and Experiencers. In Dutch this optionality is virtually absent, restricting dative encoding mainly to the Recipient of a ditransitive. The present study examines whether this may lead to instability of the non-prototypical dative constructions in the Spanish of Dutch-Spanish bilinguals. Elicited data of 12 Chilean heritage informants from the Netherlands were analyzed. Whereas the evidence on the stability of dative Experiencers was not conclusive, the results indicate that the use of prototypical datives, dative External Possessors, dative Human Sources and datives of interest is fairly stable in bilinguals, except for those with limited childhood exposure to Spanish. It is argued that the consistent preference for non-dative strategies of this group was primarily attributable to instability of the dative clitic, which affected all constructions, even the encoding of prototypical indirect objects
  • Jaeger, E., Leedham, S., Lewis, A., Segditsas, S., Becker, M., Rodenas-Cuadrado, P., Davis, H., Kaur, K., Heinimann, K., Howarth, K., East, J., Taylor, J., Thomas, H., & Tomlinson, I. (2012). Hereditary mixed polyposis syndrome is caused by a 40-kb upstream duplication that leads to increased and ectopic expression of the BMP antagonist GREM1. Nature Genetics, 44, 699-703. doi:10.1038/ng.2263.

    Abstract

    Hereditary mixed polyposis syndrome (HMPS) is characterized by apparent autosomal dominant inheritance of multiple types of colorectal polyp, with colorectal carcinoma occurring in a high proportion of affected individuals. Here, we use genetic mapping, copy-number analysis, exclusion of mutations by high-throughput sequencing, gene expression analysis and functional assays to show that HMPS is caused by a duplication spanning the 3' end of the SCG5 gene and a region upstream of the GREM1 locus. This unusual mutation is associated with increased allele-specific GREM1 expression. Whereas GREM1 is expressed in intestinal subepithelial myofibroblasts in controls, GREM1 is predominantly expressed in the epithelium of the large bowel in individuals with HMPS. The HMPS duplication contains predicted enhancer elements; some of these interact with the GREM1 promoter and can drive gene expression in vitro. Increased GREM1 expression is predicted to cause reduced bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway activity, a mechanism that also underlies tumorigenesis in juvenile polyposis of the large bowel.
  • Kouwenhoven, H., & Van Mulken, M. (2012). The perception of self in L1 and L2 for Dutch-English compound bilinguals. In N. De Jong, K. Juffermans, M. Keijzer, & L. Rasier (Eds.), Papers of the Anéla 2012 Applied Linguistics Conference (pp. 326-335). Delft: Eburon.
  • Peeters, D., Vanlangendonck, F., & Willems, R. M. (2012). Bestaat er een talenknobbel? Over taal in ons brein. In M. Boogaard, & M. Jansen (Eds.), Alles wat je altijd al had willen weten over taal: De taalcanon (pp. 41-43). Amsterdam: Meulenhoff.

    Abstract

    Wanneer iemand goed is in het spreken van meerdere talen, wordt wel gezegd dat zo iemand een talenknobbel heeft. Iedereen weet dat dat niet letterlijk bedoeld is: iemand met een talenknobbel herkennen we niet aan een grote bult op zijn hoofd. Toch dacht men vroeger wel degelijk dat mensen een letterlijke talenknobbel konden ontwikkelen. Een goed ontwikkeld taalvermogen zou gepaard gaan met het groeien van het hersengebied dat hiervoor verantwoordelijk was. Dit deel van het brein zou zelfs zo groot kunnen worden dat het van binnenuit tegen de schedel drukte, met name rond de ogen. Nu weten we wel beter. Maar waar in het brein bevindt de taal zich dan wel precies?
  • Piai, V., Roelofs, A., & Schriefers, H. (2012). Distractor strength and selective attention in picture-naming performance. Memory and cognition, 40, 614-627. doi:10.3758/s13421-011-0171-3.

    Abstract

    Whereas it has long been assumed that competition plays a role in lexical selection in word production (e.g., Levelt, Roelofs, & Meyer, 1999), recently Finkbeiner and Caramazza (2006) argued against the competition assumption on the basis of their observation that visible distractors yield semantic interference in picture naming, whereas masked distractors yield semantic facilitation. We examined an alternative account of these findings that preserves the competition assumption. According to this account, the interference and facilitation effects of distractor words reflect whether or not distractors are strong enough to exceed a threshold for entering the competition process. We report two experiments in which distractor strength was manipulated by means of coactivation and visibility. Naming performance was assessed in terms of mean response time (RT) and RT distributions. In Experiment 1, with low coactivation, semantic facilitation was obtained from clearly visible distractors, whereas poorly visible distractors yielded no semantic effect. In Experiment 2, with high coactivation, semantic interference was obtained from both clearly and poorly visible distractors. These findings support the competition threshold account of the polarity of semantic effects in naming.
  • Piai, V., Roelofs, A., & van der Meij, R. (2012). Event-related potentials and oscillatory brain responses associated with semantic and Stroop-like interference effects in overt naming. Brain Research, 1450, 87-101. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2012.02.050.

    Abstract

    Picture–word interference is a widely employed paradigm to investigate lexical access in word production: Speakers name pictures while trying to ignore superimposed distractor words. The distractor can be congruent to the picture (pictured cat, word cat), categorically related (pictured cat, word dog), or unrelated (pictured cat, word pen). Categorically related distractors slow down picture naming relative to unrelated distractors, the so-called semantic interference. Categorically related distractors slow down picture naming relative to congruent distractors, analogous to findings in the colour–word Stroop task. The locus of semantic interference and Stroop-like effects in naming performance has recently become a topic of debate. Whereas some researchers argue for a pre-lexical locus of semantic interference and a lexical locus of Stroop-like effects, others localise both effects at the lexical selection stage. We investigated the time course of semantic and Stroop-like interference effects in overt picture naming by means of event-related potentials (ERP) and time–frequency analyses. Moreover, we employed cluster-based permutation for statistical analyses. Naming latencies showed semantic and Stroop-like interference effects. The ERP waveforms for congruent stimuli started diverging statistically from categorically related stimuli around 250 ms. Deflections for the categorically related condition were more negative-going than for the congruent condition (the Stroop-like effect). The time–frequency analysis revealed a power increase in the beta band (12–30 Hz) for categorically related relative to unrelated stimuli roughly between 250 and 370 ms (the semantic effect). The common time window of these effects suggests that both semantic interference and Stroop-like effects emerged during lexical selection.
  • Poellmann, K., McQueen, J. M., & Mitterer, H. (2012). How talker-adaptation helps listeners recognize reduced word-forms [Abstract]. Program abstracts from the 164th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(3), 2053.

    Abstract

    Two eye-tracking experiments tested whether native listeners can adapt to reductions in casual Dutch speech. Listeners were exposed to segmental ([b] > [m]), syllabic (full-vowel-deletion), or no reductions. In a subsequent test phase, all three listener groups were tested on how efficiently they could recognize both types of reduced words. In the first Experiment’s exposure phase, the (un)reduced target words were predictable. The segmental reductions were completely consistent (i.e., involved the same input sequences). Learning about them was found to be pattern-specific and generalized in the test phase to new reduced /b/-words. The syllabic reductions were not consistent (i.e., involved variable input sequences). Learning about them was weak and not pattern-specific. Experiment 2 examined effects of word repetition and predictability. The (un-)reduced test words appeared in the exposure phase and were not predictable. There was no evidence of learning for the segmental reductions, probably because they were not predictable during exposure. But there was word-specific learning for the vowel-deleted words. The results suggest that learning about reductions is pattern-specific and generalizes to new words if the input is consistent and predictable. With variable input, there is more likely to be adaptation to a general speaking style and word-specific learning.
  • Romeo, G., Gialluisi, A., & Pippucci, T. (2012). Consanguinity studies and genome research in Mediterranean developing countries. Middle East Journal of Medical Genetics, 1(1), 1-4. doi:10.1097/01.MXE.0000407743.00299.0f.

    Abstract

    Purpose: Classical studies of consanguinity have taken advantage of the relationship between the gene frequency for a rare autosomal recessive disorder (q) and the proportion of offspring of consanguineous couples who are affected with the same disorder. The Swedish geneticist Gunnar Dahlberg provided the first theoretical formulation of the inverse correlation between q and the increase in frequency of consanguineous marriages among parents of affected children with respect to marriages of the same degree in the general population. Today it is possible to develop a new approach for estimating q using mutation analysis of affected offspring of consanguineous couples. The rationale of this new approach is based on the possibility that the child born of consanguineous parents carries the same mutation in double copy (true homozygosity) or alternatively carries two different mutations in the same gene (compound heterozygosity). In the latter case the two mutations must have been inherited through two different ancestors of the consanguineous parents (in this case the two mutated alleles are not ‘identical by descent’). Patients and methods: Data from the offspring of consanguineous marriages affected with different autosomal recessive disorders were collected by different molecular diagnostic laboratories in Mediterranean countries and in particular in Arab countries, where the frequencies of consanguineous marriages is high, show the validity of this approach. Results: The proportion of compound heterozygotes among children affected with a given autosomal recessive disorder, born of consanguineous parents, can be taken as an indirect indicator of the frequency of the same disorder in the general population. Identification of the responsible gene (and mutations) is the necessary condition to apply this method. Conclusion: The following paper from our group relevant for the present review is being published: Alessandro Gialluisi, Tommaso Pippucci, Yair Anikster, Ugur Ozbek, Myrna Medlej-Hashim, Andre Megarbane and Giovanni Romeo: Estimating the allele frequency of autosomal recessive disorders through mutational records and consanguinity: the homozygosity index (HI) annals of human genetics (in press; acceptance date 1 November 2011) In addition, our experimental data show that the causative mutation for a rare autosomal recessive disorder can be identified by whole exome sequencing of only two affected children of first cousins parents, as described in the following recent paper: Pippucci T, Benelli M, Magi A, Martelli PL, Magini P, Torricelli F, Casadio R, Seri M, Romeo G EX-HOM (EXome HOMozygosity): A Proof of Principle. Hum Hered 2011; 72:45-53.
  • Rossi, G. (2012). Bilateral and unilateral requests: The use of imperatives and Mi X? interrogatives in Italian. Discourse Processes, 49(5), 426-458. doi:10.1080/0163853X.2012.684136.

    Abstract

    When making requests, speakers need to select from a range of alternative forms available to them. In a corpus of naturally-occurring Italian interaction, the two most common formats chosen are imperatives and an interrogative construction that includes a turn-initial dative pronoun mi “to/for me”, which I refer to as the Mi X? format. In informal contexts, both forms are used to request low-cost actions for here-and-now purposes. Building on this premise, this paper argues for a functional distinction between them. The imperative format is selected to implement bilateral requests, that is, to request actions that are integral to an already established joint project between requester and recipient. On the other hand, the Mi X? format is a vehicle for unilateral requests, which means that it is used for enlisting help in new, self-contained projects that are launched in the interest of the speaker as an individual.
  • Scharenborg, O., Witteman, M. J., & Weber, A. (2012). Computational modelling of the recognition of foreign-accented speech. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2012: 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 882 -885).

    Abstract

    In foreign-accented speech, pronunciation typically deviates from the canonical form to some degree. For native listeners, it has been shown that word recognition is more difficult for strongly-accented words than for less strongly-accented words. Furthermore recognition of strongly-accented words becomes easier with additional exposure to the foreign accent. In this paper, listeners’ behaviour was simulated with Fine-tracker, a computational model of word recognition that uses real speech as input. The simulations showed that, in line with human listeners, 1) Fine-Tracker’s recognition outcome is modulated by the degree of accentedness and 2) it improves slightly after brief exposure with the accent. On the level of individual words, however, Fine-tracker failed to correctly simulate listeners’ behaviour, possibly due to differences in overall familiarity with the chosen accent (German-accented Dutch) between human listeners and Fine-Tracker.
  • Schepens, J., Dijksta, T., & Grootjen, F. (2012). Distributions of cognates in Europe as based on Levenshtein distance. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15(SI ), 157-166. doi:10.1017/S1366728910000623.

    Abstract

    Researchers on bilingual processing can benefit from computational tools developed in artificial intelligence. We show that a normalized Levenshtein distance function can efficiently and reliably simulate bilingual orthographic similarity ratings. Orthographic similarity distributions of cognates and non-cognates were identified across pairs of six European languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch. Semantic equivalence was determined using the conceptual structure of a translation database. By using a similarity threshold, large numbers of cognates could be selected that nearly completely included the stimulus materials of experimental studies. The identified numbers of form-similar and identical cognates correlated highly with branch lengths of phylogenetic language family trees, supporting the usefulness of the new measure for cross-language comparison. The normalized Levenshtein distance function can be considered as a new formal model of cross-language orthographic similarity.
  • Sumer, B., Zwitserlood, I., Perniss, P. M., & Ozyurek, A. (2012). Development of locative expressions by Turkish deaf and hearing children: Are there modality effects? In A. K. Biller, E. Y. Chung, & A. E. Kimball (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 36) (pp. 568-580). Boston: Cascadilla Press.
  • Tsuji, S., Gonzalez Gomez, N., Medina, V., Nazzi, T., & Mazuka, R. (2012). The labial–coronal effect revisited: Japanese adults say pata, but hear tapa. Cognition, 125, 413-428. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2012.07.017.

    Abstract

    The labial–coronal effect has originally been described as a bias to initiate a word with a labial consonant–vowel–coronal consonant (LC) sequence. This bias has been explained with constraints on the human speech production system, and its perceptual correlates have motivated the suggestion of a perception–production link. However, previous studies exclusively considered languages in which LC sequences are globally more frequent than their counterpart. The current study examined the LC bias in speakers of Japanese, a language that has been claimed to possess more CL than LC sequences. We first conducted an analysis of Japanese corpora that qualified this claim, and identified a subgroup of consonants (plosives) exhibiting a CL bias. Second, focusing on this subgroup of consonants, we found diverging results for production and perception such that Japanese speakers exhibited an articulatory LC bias, but a perceptual CL bias. The CL perceptual bias, however, was modulated by language of presentation, and was only present for stimuli recorded by a Japanese, but not a French, speaker. A further experiment with native speakers of French showed the opposite effect, with an LC bias for French stimuli only. Overall, we find support for a universal, articulatory motivated LC bias in production, supporting a motor explanation of the LC effect, while perceptual biases are influenced by distributional frequencies of the native language.
  • Viebahn, M. C., Ernestus, M., & McQueen, J. M. (2012). Co-occurrence of reduced word forms in natural speech. In Proceedings of INTERSPEECH 2012: 13th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (pp. 2019-2022).

    Abstract

    This paper presents a corpus study that investigates the co-occurrence of reduced word forms in natural speech. We extracted Dutch past participles from three different speech registers and investigated the influence of several predictor variables on the presence and duration of schwas in prefixes and /t/s in suffixes. Our results suggest that reduced word forms tend to co-occur even if we partial out the effect of speech rate. The implications of our findings for episodic and abstractionist models of lexical representation are discussed.
  • Wnuk, E., & Majid, A. (2012). Olfaction in a hunter-gatherer society: Insights from language and culture. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 1155-1160). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    According to a widely-held view among various scholars, olfaction is inferior to other human senses. It is also believed by many that languages do not have words for describing smells. Data collected among the Maniq, a small population of nomadic foragers in southern Thailand, challenge the above claims and point to a great linguistic and cultural elaboration of odor. This article presents evidence of the importance of olfaction in indigenous rituals and beliefs, as well as in the lexicon. The results demonstrate the richness and complexity of the domain of smell in Maniq society and thereby challenge the universal paucity of olfactory terms and insignificance of olfaction for humans.
  • Zwaan, R. A., Van der Stoep, N., Guadalupe, T., & Bouwmeester, S. (2012). Language comprehension in the balance: The robustness of the action-compatibility effect (ACE). PLoS One, 7(2), e31204. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031204.

    Abstract

    How does language comprehension interact with motor activity? We investigated the conditions under which comprehending an action sentence affects people's balance. We performed two experiments to assess whether sentences describing forward or backward movement modulate the lateral movements made by subjects who made sensibility judgments about the sentences. In one experiment subjects were standing on a balance board and in the other they were seated on a balance board that was mounted on a chair. This allowed us to investigate whether the action compatibility effect (ACE) is robust and persists in the face of salient incompatibilities between sentence content and subject movement. Growth-curve analysis of the movement trajectories produced by the subjects in response to the sentences suggests that the ACE is indeed robust. Sentence content influenced movement trajectory despite salient inconsistencies between implied and actual movement. These results are interpreted in the context of the current discussion of embodied, or grounded, language comprehension and meaning representation.
  • Berends, S., Veenstra, A., & Van Hout, A. (2010). 'Nee, ze heeft er twee': Acquisition of the Dutch quantitative 'er'. Groninger Arbeiten zur Germanistischen Linguistik, 51, 1-7. Retrieved from http://irs.ub.rug.nl/dbi/4ef4a0b3eafcb.

    Abstract

    We present the first study on the acquisition of the Dutch quantitative pronoun er in sentences such as de vrouw draagt er drie ‘the woman is carrying three.’ There is a large literature on Dutch children’s interpretation of pronouns and a few recent production studies, all specifically looking at 3rd person singular pronouns and the so-called Delay of Principle B effect (Coopmans & Philip, 1996; Koster, 1993; Spenader, Smits and Hendriks, 2009). However, no one has studied children’s use of quantitative er. Dutch is the only Germanic language with such a pronoun.
  • Bergmann, C., Paulus, M., & Fikkert, J. (2010). A closer look at pronoun comprehension: Comparing different methods. In J. Costa, A. Castro, M. Lobo, & F. Pratas (Eds.), Language Acquisition and Development: Proceedings of GALA 2009 (pp. 53-61). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

    Abstract

    1. Introduction External input is necessary to acquire language. Consequently, the comprehension of various constituents of language, such as lexical items or syntactic and semantic structures should emerge at the same time as or even precede their production. However, in the case of pronouns this general assumption does not seem to hold. On the contrary, while children at the age of four use pronouns and reflexives appropriately during production (de Villiers, et al. 2006), a number of comprehension studies across different languages found chance performance in pronoun trials up to the age of seven, which co-occurs with a high level of accuracy in reflexive trials (for an overview see e.g. Conroy, et al. 2009; Elbourne 2005).
  • Bergmann, C., Gubian, M., & Boves, L. (2010). Modelling the effect of speaker familiarity and noise on infant word recognition. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association [Interspeech 2010] (pp. 2910-2913). ISCA.

    Abstract

    In the present paper we show that a general-purpose word learning model can simulate several important findings from recent experiments in language acquisition. Both the addition of background noise and varying the speaker have been found to influence infants’ performance during word recognition experiments. We were able to replicate this behaviour in our artificial word learning agent. We use the results to discuss both advantages and limitations of computational models of language acquisition.
  • Dolscheid, S., Shayan, S., Ozturk, O., Majid, A., & Casasanto, D. (2010). Language shapes mental representations of musical pitch: Implications for metaphorical language processing [Abstract]. In Proceedings of the 16th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing [AMLaP 2010] (pp. 137). York: University of York.

    Abstract

    Speakers often use spatial metaphors to talk about musical pitch (e.g., a low note, a high soprano). Previous experiments suggest that English speakers also think about pitches as high or low in space, even when theyʼre not using language or musical notation (Casasanto, 2010). Do metaphors in language merely reflect pre-existing associations between space and pitch, or might language also shape these non-linguistic metaphorical mappings? To investigate the role of language in pitch tepresentation, we conducted a pair of non-linguistic spacepitch interference experiments in speakers of two languages that use different spatial metaphors. Dutch speakers usually describe pitches as ʻhighʼ (hoog) and ʻlowʼ (laag). Farsi speakers, however, often describe high-frequency pitches as ʻthinʼ (naazok) and low-frequency pitches as ʻthickʼ (koloft). Do Dutch and Farsi speakers mentally represent pitch differently? To find out, we asked participants to reproduce musical pitches that they heard in the presence of irrelevant spatial information (i.e., lines that varied either in height or in thickness). For the Height Interference experiment, horizontal lines bisected a vertical reference line at one of nine different locations. For the Thickness Interference experiment, a vertical line appeared in the middle of the screen in one of nine thicknesses. In each experiment, the nine different lines were crossed with nine different pitches ranging from C4 to G#4 in semitone increments, to produce 81 distinct trials. If Dutch and Farsi speakers mentally represent pitch the way they talk about it, using different kinds of spatial representations, they should show contrasting patterns of cross-dimensional interference: Dutch speakersʼ pitch estimates should be more strongly affected by irrelevant height information, and Farsi speakersʼ by irrelevant thickness information. As predicted, Dutch speakersʼ pitch estimates were significantly modulated by spatial height but not by thickness. Conversely, Farsi speakersʼ pitch estimates were modulated by spatial thickness but not by height (2x2 ANOVA on normalized slopes of the effect of space on pitch: F(1,71)=17,15 p<.001). To determine whether language plays a causal role in shaping pitch representations, we conducted a training experiment. Native Dutch speakers learned to use Farsi-like metaphors, describing pitch relationships in terms of thickness (e.g., a cello sounds ʻthickerʼ than a flute). After training, Dutch speakers showed a significant effect of Thickness interference in the non-linguistic pitch reproduction task, similar to native Farsi speakers: on average, pitches accompanied by thicker lines were reproduced as lower in pitch (effect of thickness on pitch: r=-.22, p=.002). By conducting psychophysical tasks, we tested the ʻWhorfianʼ question without using words. Yet, results also inform theories of metaphorical language processing. According to psycholinguistic theories (e.g., Bowdle & Gentner, 2005), highly conventional metaphors are processed without any active mapping from the source to the target domain (e.g., from space to pitch). Our data, however, suggest that when people use verbal metaphors they activate a corresponding non-linguistic mapping from either height or thickness to pitch, strengthening this association at the expense of competing associations. As a result, people who use different metaphors in their native languages form correspondingly different representations of musical pitch. Casasanto, D. (2010). Space for Thinking. In Language, Cognition and Space: State of the art and new directions. V. Evans & P. Chilton (Eds.), 453-478, London: Equinox Publishing. Bowdle, B. & Gentner, D. (2005). The career of metaphor. Psychological Review, 112, 193-216.
  • Gubian, M., Bergmann, C., & Boves, L. (2010). Investigating word learning processes in an artificial agent. In Proceedings of the IXth IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL). Ann Arbor, MI, 18-21 Aug. 2010 (pp. 178 -184). IEEE.

    Abstract

    Researchers in human language processing and acquisition are making an increasing use of computational models. Computer simulations provide a valuable platform to reproduce hypothesised learning mechanisms that are otherwise very difficult, if not impossible, to verify on human subjects. However, computational models come with problems and risks. It is difficult to (automatically) extract essential information about the developing internal representations from a set of simulation runs, and often researchers limit themselves to analysing learning curves based on empirical recognition accuracy through time. The associated risk is to erroneously deem a specific learning behaviour as generalisable to human learners, while it could also be a mere consequence (artifact) of the implementation of the artificial learner or of the input coding scheme. In this paper a set of simulation runs taken from the ACORNS project is investigated. First a look `inside the box' of the learner is provided by employing novel quantitative methods for analysing changing structures in large data sets. Then, the obtained findings are discussed in the perspective of their ecological validity in the field of child language acquisition.
  • Kung, C., Chwilla, D. J., Gussenhoven, C., Bögels, S., & Schriefers, H. (2010). What did you say just now, bitterness or wife? An ERP study on the interaction between tone, intonation and context in Cantonese Chinese. In Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2010 (pp. 1-4).

    Abstract

    Previous studies on Cantonese Chinese showed that rising question intonation contours on low-toned words lead to frequent misperceptions of the tones. Here we explored the processing consequences of this interaction between tone and intonation by comparing the processing and identification of monosyllabic critical words at the end of questions and statements, using a tone identification task, and ERPs as an online measure of speech comprehension. Experiment 1 yielded higher error rates for the identification of low tones at the end of questions and a larger N400-P600 pattern, reflecting processing difficulty and reanalysis, compared to other conditions. In Experiment 2, we investigated the effect of immediate lexical context on the tone by intonation interaction. Increasing contextual constraints led to a reduction in errors and the disappearance of the P600 effect. These results indicate that there is an immediate interaction between tone, intonation, and context in online speech comprehension. The difference in performance and activation patterns between the two experiments highlights the significance of context in understanding a tone language, like Cantonese-Chinese.
  • Lam, K. J. Y., & Dijkstra, T. (2010). Word repetition, masked orthographic priming, and language switching: Bilingual studies and BIA+ simulations. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13, 487-503. doi:10.1080/13670050.2010.488283.

    Abstract

    Daily conversations contain many repetitions of identical and similar word forms. For bilinguals, the words can even come from the same or different languages. How do such repetitions affect the human word recognition system? The Bilingual Interactive Activation Plus (BIA+) model provides a theoretical and computational framework for understanding word recognition and word repetition in bilinguals. The model assumes that both phenomena involve a language non-selective process that is sensitive to the task context. By means of computer simulations, the model can specify both qualitatively and quantitatively how bilingual lexical processing in one language is affected by the other language. Our review discusses how BIA+ handles cross-linguistic repetition and masked orthographic priming data from two key empirical studies. We show that BIA+ can account for repetition priming effects within- and between-languages through the manipulation of resting-level activations of targets and neighbors (words sharing all but one letter with the target). The model also predicts cross-linguistic performance on within- and between-trial orthographic priming without appealing to conscious strategies or task schema competition as an explanation. At the end of the paper, we briefly evaluate the model and indicate future developments.
  • Veenstra, A., Berends, S., & Van Hout, A. (2010). Acquisition of object and quantitative pronouns in Dutch: Kinderen wassen 'hem' voordat ze 'er' twee meenemen. Groninger Arbeiten zur Germanistischen Linguistik, 51, 9-25.

    Abstract

    1. Introduction Despite a large literature on Dutch children’s pronoun interpretation, relatively little is known about their production. In this study we elicited pronouns in two syntactic environments: object pronouns and quantitative er (Q-er). The goal was to see how different types of pronouns develop, in particular, whether acquisition depends on their different syntactic properties. Our Dutch data add another type of language to the acquisition literature on object clitics in the Romance languages. Moreover, we present another angle on this discussion by comparing object pronouns and Q-er.
  • Versteegh, M., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2010). Active word learning under uncertain input conditions. In Proceedings of the 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association (Interspeech 2010), Makuhari, Japan (pp. 2930-2933). ISCA.

    Abstract

    This paper presents an analysis of phoneme durations of emotional speech in two languages: Dutch and Korean. The analyzed corpus of emotional speech has been specifically developed for the purpose of cross-linguistic comparison, and is more balanced than any similar corpus available so far: a) it contains expressions by both Dutch and Korean actors and is based on judgments by both Dutch and Korean listeners; b) the same elicitation technique and recording procedure were used for recordings of both languages; and c) the phonetics of the carrier phrase were constructed to be permissible in both languages. The carefully controlled phonetic content of the carrier phrase allows for analysis of the role of specific phonetic features, such as phoneme duration, in emotional expression in Dutch and Korean. In this study the mutual effect of language and emotion on phoneme duration is presented.
  • Versteegh, M., Ten Bosch, L., & Boves, L. (2010). Dealing with uncertain input in word learning. In Proceedings of the IXth IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL). Ann Arbor, MI, 18-21 Aug. 2010 (pp. 46-51). IEEE.

    Abstract

    In this paper we investigate a computational model of word learning, that is embedded in a cognitively and ecologically plausible framework. Multi-modal stimuli from four different speakers form a varied source of experience. The model incorporates active learning, attention to a communicative setting and clarity of the visual scene. The model's ability to learn associations between speech utterances and visual concepts is evaluated during training to investigate the influence of active learning under conditions of uncertain input. The results show the importance of shared attention in word learning and the model's robustness against noise.
  • Versteegh, M., Sangati, F., & Zuidema, W. (2010). Simulations of socio-linguistic change: Implications for unidirectionality. In A. Smith, M. Schoustra, B. Boer, & K. Smith (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG 8) (pp. 511-512). World Scientific Publishing.
  • Weber, A., & Poellmann, K. (2010). Identifying foreign speakers with an unfamiliar accent or in an unfamiliar language. In New Sounds 2010: Sixth International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech (pp. 536-541). Poznan, Poland: Adam Mickiewicz University.
  • Witteman, M. J., Weber, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2010). Rapid and long-lasting adaptation to foreign-accented speech [Abstract]. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128, 2486.

    Abstract

    In foreign-accented speech, listeners have to handle noticeable deviations from the standard pronunciation of a target language. Three cross-modal priming experiments investigated how short- and long-term experiences with a foreign accent influence word recognition by native listeners. In experiment 1, German-accented words were presented to Dutch listeners who had either extensive or limited prior experience with German-accented Dutch. Accented words either contained a diphthong substitution that deviated acoustically quite largely from the canonical form (huis [hys], "house", pronounced as [hoys]), or that deviated acoustically to a lesser extent (lijst [lst], "list", pronounced as [lst]). The mispronunciations never created lexical ambiguity in Dutch. While long-term experience facilitated word recognition for both types of substitutions, limited experience facilitated recognition only of words with acoustically smaller deviations. In experiment 2, Dutch listeners with limited experience listened to the German speaker for 4 min before participating in the cross-modal priming experiment. The results showed that speaker-specific learning effects for acoustically large deviations can be obtained already after a brief exposure, as long as the exposure contains evidence of the deviations. Experiment 3 investigates whether these short-term adaptation effects for foreign-accented speech are speaker-independent.
  • Witteman, M. J., & Segers, E. (2010). The modality effect tested in children in a user-paced multimedia environment. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26, 132-142. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00335.x.

    Abstract

    The modality learning effect, according to Mayer (2001), proposes that learning is enhanced when information is presented in both the visual and auditory domain (e.g., pictures and spoken information), compared to presenting information solely in the visual channel (e.g., pictures and written text). Most of the evidence for this effect comes from adults in a laboratory setting. Therefore, we tested the modality effect with 80 children in the highest grade of elementary school, in a naturalistic setting. In a between-subjects design children either saw representational pictures with speech or representational pictures with text. Retention and transfer knowledge was tested at three moments: immediately after the intervention, one day after, and after one week. The present study did not find any evidence for a modality effect in children when the lesson is learner-paced. Instead, we found a reversed modality effect directly after the intervention for retention. A reversed modality effect was also found for the transfer questions one day later. This effect was robust, even when controlling for individual differences.

Share this page