Publications

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  • Behnke, K. (1998). The acquisition of phonetic categories in young infants: A self-organising artificial neural network approach. PhD Thesis, University of Twente, Enschede. doi:10.17617/2.2057688.
  • Broersma, M. (2005). Phonetic and lexical processing in a second language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.58294.

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  • Chen, J. (2008). The acquisition of verb compounding in Mandarin Chinese. PhD Thesis, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam.

    Abstract

    Seeing someone breaking a stick into two, an English speaks typically describes with a verb break, but a Mandarin speaker has to say bai1-duan4 ‘bend-be.broken’, a verb compound composed of two free verbs with each verb encoding one aspect of the breaking event. Verb compounding represents a typical and productive way to describe events of motion (e.g., zou3-chu1 ‘walk-exit’), and state change (e.g., bai1-duan4 ‘bendbe.broken’), the most common types of events that children of all languages are exposed to from an early age. Since languages vary in how events are linguistically encoded and categorized, the development of verb compounding provides a window to investigate the acquisition of form and meaning mapping for highly productive but constrained constructions and the interaction between children’s linguistic development and cognitive development. The theoretical analysis of verb compounds has been one of the central issues in Chinese linguistics, but the acquisition of this grammatical system has never been systematically studied. This dissertation constitutes the first in-depth study of this topic. It analyzes speech data from two longitudinal corpora as well as the data collected from five experiments on production and comprehension of verb compounds from children in P. R. China. It provides a description of the developmental process and unravels the complex learning tasks from the perspective of language production, comprehension, event categorization, and the interface of semantics and syntax. In showing how first-language learners acquire the Mandarin-specific way of representing and encoding causal events and motion events, this study has significance both for studies of language acquisition and for studies of cognition and event construal.
  • Dietrich, C. (2006). The acquisition of phonological structure: Distinguishing contrastive from non-contrastive variation. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57829.
  • Eisner, F. (2006). Lexically-guided perceptual learning in speech processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57407.

    Abstract

    During listening to spoken language, the perceptual system needs to adapt frequently to changes in talkers, and thus to considerable interindividual variability in the articulation of a given speech sound. This thesis investigated a learning process which allows listeners to use stored lexical representations to modify the interpretation of a speech sound when a talker's articulation of that sound is consistently unclear or ambiguous. The questions that were addressed in this research concerned the robustness of such perceptual learning, a potential role for sleep, and whether learning is specific to the speech of one talker or, alternatively, generalises to other talkers. A further study aimed to identify the underlying functional neuroanatomy by using magnetic resonance imaging methods. The picture that emerged for lexically-guided perceptual learning is that learning occurs very rapidly, is highly specific, and remains remarkably robust both over time and under exposure to speech from other talkers.
  • Grabe, E. (1998). Comparative intonational phonology: English and German. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057683.
  • De Jong, N. H. (2002). Morphological families in the mental lexicon. PhD Thesis, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57697.

    Abstract

    Words can occur as constituents of other words. Some words have a high morphological productivity, in that they occur in many complex words, whereas others are morphological islands. Previous studies have found that the size of a word's morphological family can co-determine response latencies in lexical decision tasks. This thesis shows, using lexical decision as well as otherexperimental tasks, that the effect of family size is a semantic effect,reflecting the spreading of activation in the mental lexicon along the lines of morphological and semantic relatedness between words.

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  • Kuperman, V. (2008). Lexical processing of morphologically complex words: An information-theoretical perspective. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lüpke, F. (2005). A grammar of Jalonke argument structure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59381.

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  • Mauth, K. (2002). Morphology in speech comprehension. PhD Thesis, University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.60024.

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  • Müller, O. (2006). Retrieving semantic and syntactic word properties: ERP studies on the time course in language comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57543.

    Abstract

    The present doctoral thesis investigates the temporal characteristics of the retrieval of semantic and syntactic word properties in language comprehension. In particular, an attempt is made to assess the retrieval order of semantic category and grammatical gender information, using the lateralized readiness potential and the inhibition-related N2 effect. Chapter 1 contains a general introduction. Chapter 2 reports an experiment that employs the two-choice go/nogo task in combination with EEG recordings to establish the retrieval order of semantic category and grammatical gender for written words presented in isolation. The results point to a time course where semantic information becomes available before syntactic information. Chapter 3 focuses on the retrieval of grammatical gender. In order to examine whether gender retrieval can be speeded up by context, nouns are presented in gender congruent and gender incongruent prime-target pairs and reaction times for gender decisions are measured. For stimulus onset asynchronies of 100 ms and 0 ms, gender congruent pairs show faster responses than incongruent ones, whereas there is no effect of gender congruity for a stimulus onset asynchrony of 300 ms. A simulation with a localist computational model that implements competition between gender representations (WEAVER; Roelofs, 1992) is able to capture these findings. In chapter 4, the gender congruency manipulation is transferred to another ERP experiment with the two-choice go/nogo task. As the time course of gender retrieval is altered through primes, the order relative to semantic category retrieval is assessed again. The results indicate that with gender congruent primes, grammatical gender becomes available before semantic category. Such a reversal of retrieval order, as compared to chapter 2, implies a parallel rather than a serial discrete arrangement of the retrieval processes, since the latter variant precludes changes in retrieval order. Finally, chapter 5 offers a summary and general discussion of the main findings.

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  • Özdemir, R. (2006). The relationship between spoken word production and comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59239.
  • De Ruiter, J. P. (1998). Gesture and speech production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057686.
  • Salverda, A. P. (2005). Prosodically-conditioned detail in the recognition of spoken words. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57311.

    Abstract

    The research presented in this dissertation examined the influence of prosodically-conditioned detail on the recognition of spoken words. The main finding is that subphonemic information in the speech signal that is conditioned by constituent-level prosodic structure can affect lexical processing systematically. It was shown that such information, as indicated by and estimated from the lengthening of speech sounds in the vicinity of prosodic boundaries, can help listeners to distinguish onset-embedded words (e.g. 'ham') from longer words that have this word embedded at their onset (e.g. 'hamster'). Furthermore, it was shown that variation in the realization of a spoken word that is associated with its position in the prosodic structure of an utterance can effect lexical processing. The pattern of competitor activation associated with the recognition of a monosyllabic spoken word in utterance-final position, where the realization of the word is strongly affected by the utterance boundary, is different from that associated with the recognition of the same word in utterance-medial position, where the realization of the word is less strongly affected by the following prosodic-word boundary. Taken together, the findings attest to the extraordinary sensitivity of the spoken-word recogntion system by demonstrating the relevance for lexical processing of very fine-grained phonetic detail conditioned by prosodic structure.

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  • Seifart, F. (2005). The structure and use of shape-based noun classes in Miraña (North West Amazon). PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.60378.

    Abstract

    Miraña, an endangered Witotoan language spoken in the Colombian Amazon region, has an inventory of over 60 noun class markers, most of which denote the shape of nominal referents. Class markers in this language are ubiquitous in their uses for derivational purposes in nouns and for agreement marking in virtually all other nominal expressions, such as pronouns, numerals, demonstratives, and relative clauses, as well as in verbs. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of this system by giving equal attention to its morphosyntactic, semantic, and discourse-pragmatic properties. The particular properties of this system raise issues in a number of ongoing theoretical discussions, in particular the typology of systems of nominal classification and the typology of reference tracking.

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  • Seyfeddinipur, M. (2006). Disfluency: Interrupting speech and gesture. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59337.
  • Shatzman, K. B. (2006). Sensitivity to detailed acoustic information in word recognition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59331.
  • Wagner, A. (2008). Phoneme inventories and patterns of speech sound perception. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Wassenaar, M. (2005). Agrammatic comprehension: An electrophysiological approach. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.60340.

    Abstract

    This dissertation focuses on syntactic comprehension problems in patients with Broca's aphasia from an electrophysiological perspective. The central objective of this dissertation was to further explore what syntax-related event-related brain potential (ERP) effects can reveal about the nature of the deficit that underlies syntactic comprehension problems in patients with Broca's aphasia. Chapter two to four describe experiments in which event-related brain potentials were recorded while subjects (Broca patients, non-aphasic patients with a right-hemisphere lesion, and healthy elderly controls) were presented with sentences that contained either violations of syntactic constraints or were syntactically correct. Chapter two investigates ERP effects of subject-verb agreement violations in the different subject groups, and seeks to answer the following questions: Do agrammatic comprehenders show sensitivity to subject-verb agreement violations as indicated by a syntax-related ERP effect? In addition, does the severity of the syntactic comprehension impairment in the Broca patients affect the ERP responses? Chapter three describes an investigation of whether Broca patients show sensitivity to violations of word order as indicated by a syntax-related ERP effect, and whether the ERP responses in the Broca patients are affected by the severity of their syntactic comprehension impairment. Chapter four reports on ERP effects of violations of word-category. In addition, also a semantic violation condition was added to track possible dissociations in the sensitivity to semantic and syntactic information in the Broca patients. Chapter five describes the development of a paradigm in which the electrophysiological approach and the classical sentence-picture matching approach are combined. In this chapter, the ERP method is applied to study on-line thematic role assignment in Broca patients during sentence-picture matching. Also the relation between ERP effects and behavioral responses is pursued. Finally, Chapter 6 provides a summary of the main findings of the experiments and a general discussion.

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  • Wegener, C. (2008). A grammar of Savosavo: A Papuan language of the Solomon Islands. PhD Thesis.

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