Stephen C. Levinson

Publications

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17
  • Byun, K.-S., De Vos, C., Roberts, S. G., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Interactive sequences modulate the selection of expressive forms in cross-signing. In C. Cuskley, M. Flaherty, H. Little, L. McCrohon, A. Ravignani, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG XII) (pp. 67-69). Toruń, Poland: NCU Press. doi:10.12775/3991-1.012.
  • Casillas, M., De Vos, C., Crasborn, O., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). The perception of stroke-to-stroke turn boundaries in signed conversation. In D. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, & P. R. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2015) (pp. 315-320). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    Speaker transitions in conversation are often brief, with minimal vocal overlap. Signed languages appear to defy this pattern with frequent, long spans of simultaneous signing. But recent evidence suggests that turn boundaries in signed language may only include the content-bearing parts of the turn (from the first stroke to the last), and not all turn-related movement (from first preparation to final retraction). We tested whether signers were able to anticipate “stroke-to-stroke” turn boundaries with only minimal conversational context. We found that, indeed, signers anticipated turn boundaries at the ends of turn-final strokes. Signers often responded early, especially when the turn was long or contained multiple possible end points. Early responses for long turns were especially apparent for interrogatives—long interrogative turns showed much greater anticipation compared to short ones.
  • Dediu, D., & Levinson, S. C. (2014). Language and speech are old: A review of the evidence and consequences for modern linguistic diversity. In E. A. Cartmill, S. G. Roberts, H. Lyn, & H. Cornish (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (pp. 421-422). Singapore: World Scientific.
  • Roberts, S. G., Dediu, D., & Levinson, S. C. (2014). Detecting differences between the languages of Neandertals and modern humans. In E. A. Cartmill, S. G. Roberts, H. Lyn, & H. Cornish (Eds.), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference (pp. 501-502). Singapore: World Scientific.

    Abstract

    Dediu and Levinson (2013) argue that Neandertals had essentially modern language and speech, and that they were in genetic contact with the ancestors of modern humans during our dispersal out of Africa. This raises the possibility of cultural and linguistic contact between the two human lineages. If such contact did occur, then it might have influenced the cultural evolution of the languages. Since the genetic traces of contact with Neandertals are limited to the populations outside of Africa, Dediu & Levinson predict that there may be structural differences between the present-day languages derived from languages in contact with Neanderthals, and those derived from languages that were not influenced by such contact. Since the signature of such deep contact might reside in patterns of features, they suggested that machine learning methods may be able to detect these differences. This paper attempts to test this hypothesis and to estimate particular linguistic features that are potential candidates for carrying a signature of Neandertal languages.
  • Sauppe, S., Norcliffe, E., Konopka, A. E., Van Valin Jr., R. D., & Levinson, S. C. (2013). Dependencies first: Eye tracking evidence from sentence production in Tagalog. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 1265-1270). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    We investigated the time course of sentence formulation in Tagalog, a verb-initial language in which the verb obligatorily agrees with one of its arguments. Eye-tracked participants described pictures of transitive events. Fixations to the two characters in the events were compared across sentences differing in agreement marking and post-verbal word order. Fixation patterns show evidence for two temporally dissociated phases in Tagalog sentence production. The first, driven by verb agreement, involves early linking of concepts to syntactic functions; the second, driven by word order, involves incremental lexical encoding of these concepts. These results suggest that even the earliest stages of sentence formulation may be guided by a language's grammatical structure.
  • 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.
  • Majid, A., & Levinson, S. C. (2011). The language of perception across cultures [Abstract]. Abstracts of the XXth Congress of European Chemoreception Research Organization, ECRO-2010. Publ. in Chemical Senses, 36(1), E7-E8.

    Abstract

    How are the senses structured by the languages we speak, the cultures we inhabit? To what extent is the encoding of perceptual experiences in languages a matter of how the mind/brain is ―wired-up‖ and to what extent is it a question of local cultural preoccupation? The ―Language of Perception‖ project tests the hypothesis that some perceptual domains may be more ―ineffable‖ – i.e. difficult or impossible to put into words – than others. While cognitive scientists have assumed that proximate senses (olfaction, taste, touch) are more ineffable than distal senses (vision, hearing), anthropologists have illustrated the exquisite variation and elaboration the senses achieve in different cultural milieus. The project is designed to test whether the proximate senses are universally ineffable – suggesting an architectural constraint on cognition – or whether they are just accidentally so in Indo-European languages, so expanding the role of cultural interests and preoccupations. To address this question, a standardized set of stimuli of color patches, geometric shapes, simple sounds, tactile textures, smells and tastes have been used to elicit descriptions from speakers of more than twenty languages—including three sign languages. The languages are typologically, genetically and geographically diverse, representing a wide-range of cultures. The communities sampled vary in subsistence modes (hunter-gatherer to industrial), ecological zones (rainforest jungle to desert), dwelling types (rural and urban), and various other parameters. We examine how codable the different sensory modalities are by comparing how consistent speakers are in how they describe the materials in each modality. Our current analyses suggest that taste may, in fact, be the most codable sensorial domain across languages. Moreover, we have identified exquisite elaboration in the olfactory domains in some cultural settings, contrary to some contemporary predictions within the cognitive sciences. These results suggest that differential codability may be at least partly the result of cultural preoccupation. This shows that the senses are not just physiological phenomena but are constructed through linguistic, cultural and social practices.
  • Dimitriadis, A., Kemps-Snijders, M., Wittenburg, P., Everaert, M., & Levinson, S. C. (2006). Towards a linguist's workbench supporting eScience methods. In Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE International Conference on e-Science and Grid Computing.
  • Enfield, N. J., & Levinson, S. C. (2006). Introduction: Human sociality as a new interdisciplinary field. In N. J. Enfield, & S. C. Levinson (Eds.), Roots of human sociality: Culture, cognition and interaction (pp. 1-35). Oxford: Berg.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2006). On the human "interaction engine". In N. J. Enfield, & S. C. Levinson (Eds.), Roots of human sociality: Culture, cognition and interaction (pp. 39-69). Oxford: Berg.
  • Wittenburg, P., Broeder, D., Klein, W., Levinson, S. C., & Romary, L. (2006). Foundations of modern language resource archives. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2006) (pp. 625-628).

    Abstract

    A number of serious reasons will convince an increasing amount of researchers to store their relevant material in centers which we will call "language resource archives". They combine the duty of taking care of long-term preservation as well as the task to give access to their material to different user groups. Access here is meant in the sense that an active interaction with the data will be made possible to support the integration of new data, new versions or commentaries of all sort. Modern Language Resource Archives will have to adhere to a number of basic principles to fulfill all requirements and they will have to be involved in federations to create joint language resource domains making it even more simple for the researchers to access the data. This paper makes an attempt to formulate the essential pillars language resource archives have to adhere to.
  • Brugman, H., Wittenburg, P., Levinson, S. C., & Kita, S. (2002). Multimodal annotations in gesture and sign language studies. In M. Rodriguez González, & C. Paz Suárez Araujo (Eds.), Third international conference on language resources and evaluation (pp. 176-182). Paris: European Language Resources Association.

    Abstract

    For multimodal annotations an exhaustive encoding system for gestures was developed to facilitate research. The structural requirements of multimodal annotations were analyzed to develop an Abstract Corpus Model which is the basis for a powerful annotation and exploitation tool for multimedia recordings and the definition of the XML-based EUDICO Annotation Format. Finally, a metadata-based data management environment has been setup to facilitate resource discovery and especially corpus management. Bt means of an appropriate digitization policy and their online availability researchers have been able to build up a large corpus covering gesture and sign language data.
  • Brugman, H., Levinson, S. C., Skiba, R., & Wittenburg, P. (2002). The DOBES archive: It's purpose and implementation. In P. Austin, H. Dry, & P. Wittenburg (Eds.), Proceedings of the international LREC workshop on resources and tools in field linguistics (pp. 11-11). Paris: European Language Resources Association.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2000). H.P. Grice on location on Rossel Island. In S. S. Chang, L. Liaw, & J. Ruppenhofer (Eds.), Proceedings of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society (pp. 210-224). Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistic Society.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2000). Language as nature and language as art. In J. Mittelstrass, & W. Singer (Eds.), Proceedings of the Symposium on ‘Changing concepts of nature and the turn of the Millennium (pp. 257-287). Vatican City: Pontificae Academiae Scientiarium Scripta Varia.
  • Levinson, S. C. (1987). Minimization and conversational inference. In M. Bertuccelli Papi, & J. Verschueren (Eds.), The pragmatic perspective: Selected papers from the 1985 International Pragmatics Conference (pp. 61-129). Benjamins.
  • Levinson, S. C. (1979). Pragmatics and social deixis: Reclaiming the notion of conventional implicature. In C. Chiarello (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (pp. 206-223).

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