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Holly Branigan, Monday June 15

I said it once, I’ll say it twice: Structural priming effects as evidence for linguistic representation in adults and children


Holly Branigan
University of Edinburgh

For a complete theory of language, we need to understand both the nature of linguistic representations and how those representations are used in processing.  Each of these issues is in principle relevant to both psychologists and linguists.  But in practice, research on syntactic and semantic aspects of language has largely been split: linguists have tended to focus on representational issues, using a single method (grammaticality judgements), whereas psychologists have tended to focus on processing issues, and eschewed representational questions. In this talk, I will suggest that this restriction is unnecessary, and that psychologists can play a role in determining structural linguistic representations. I propose that evidence from structural priming – the tendency to repeat aspects of linguistic structure – provides an implicit means of investigating the nature of linguistic representations that can be applied to both adults and children. I will outline a psychologically motivated account of syntactic and semantic representation that is supported by structural priming evidence, and which suggests striking commonalities between adults’ and children’s representations.


Where and when:
15:45-17:00 Jun 15, 2015
MPI Conference room 163
Julia Udden
Shiri Lev-Ari

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