Publications

Displaying 1 - 43 of 43
  • Aarts, E. (2009). Resisting temptation: The role of the anterior cingulate cortex in adjusting cognitive control. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Avelino, H., Coon, J., & Norcliffe, E. (Eds.). (2009). New perspectives in Mayan linguistics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
  • Baggio, G. (2009). Semantics and the electrophysiology of meaning: Tense, aspect, event structure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • 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.
  • Bowerman, M. (1970). Learning to talk: A cross-linguistic study of early syntactic development, with special reference to Finnish. PhD Thesis, Harvard University, Massachusetts.
  • Davids, N. (2009). Neurocognitive markers of phonological processing: A clinical perspective. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Dietrich, R., & Klein, W. (1974). Einführung in die Computerlinguistik. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
  • Dimroth, C., & Jordens, P. (Eds.). (2009). Functional categories in learner language. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). The anatomy of meaning: Speech, gesture, and composite utterances. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fitz, H. (2009). Neural syntax. PhD Thesis, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation.

    Abstract

    Children learn their mother tongue spontaneously and effortlessly through communicative interaction with their environment; they do not have to be taught explicitly or learn how to learn first. The ambient language to which children are exposed, however, is highly variable and arguably deficient with regard to the learning target. Nonetheless, most normally developing children learn their native language rapidly and with ease. To explain this accomplishment, many theories of acquisition posit innate constraints on learning, or even a biological endowment for language which is specific to language. Usage-based theories, on the other hand, place more emphasis on the role of experience and domain-general learning mechanisms than on innate language-specific knowledge. But languages are lexically open and combinatorial in structure, so no amount of experience covers their expressivity. Usage-based theories therefore have to explain how children can generalize the properties of their linguistic input to an adult-like grammar. In this thesis I provide an explicit computational mechanism with which usage-based theories of language can be tested and evaluated. The focus of my work lies on complex syntax and the human ability to form sentences which express more than one proposition by means of relativization. This `capacity for recursion' is a hallmark of an adult grammar and, as some have argued, the human language faculty itself. The manuscript is organized as follows. In the second chapter, I give an overview of results that characterize the properties of neural networks as mathematical objects and review previous attempts at modelling the acquisition of complex syntax with such networks. The chapter introduces the conceptual landscape in which the current work is located. In the third chapter, I argue that the construction and use of meaning is essential in child language acquisition and adult processing. Neural network models need to incorporate this dimension of human linguistic behavior. I introduce the Dual-path model of sentence production and syntactic development which is able to represent semantics and learns from exposure to sentences paired with their meaning (cf. Chang et al. 2006). I explain the architecture of this model, motivate critical assumptions behind its design, and discuss existing research using this model. The fourth chapter describes and compares several extensions of the basic architecture to accommodate the processing of multi-clause utterances. These extensions are evaluated against computational desiderata, such as good learning and generalization performance and the parsimony of input representations. A single-best solution for encoding the meaning of complex sentences with restrictive relative clauses is identified, which forms the basis for all subsequent simulations. Chapter five analyzes the learning dynamics in more detail. I first examine the model's behavior for different relative clause types. Syntactic alternations prove to be particularly difficult to learn because they complicate the meaning-to-form mapping the model has to acquire. In the second part, I probe the internal representations the model has developed during learning. It is argued that the model acquires the argument structure of the construction types in its input language and represents the hierarchical organization of distinct multi-clause utterances. The juice of this thesis is contained in chapters six to eight. In chapter six, I test the Dual-path model's generalization capacities in a variety of tasks. I show that its syntactic representations are sufficiently transparent to allow structural generalization to novel complex utterances. Semantic similarities between novel and familiar sentence types play a critical role in this task. The Dual-path model also has a capacity for generalizing familiar words to novel slots in novel constructions (strong semantic systematicity). Moreover, I identify learning conditions under which the model displays recursive productivity. It is argued that the model's behavior is consistent with human behavior in that production accuracy degrades with depth of embedding, and right-branching is learned faster than center-embedding recursion. In chapter seven, I address the issue of learning complex polar interrogatives in the absence of positive exemplars in the input. I show that the Dual-path model can acquire the syntax of these questions from simpler and similar structures which are warranted in a child's linguistic environment. The model's errors closely match children's errors, and it is suggested that children might not require an innate learning bias to acquire auxiliary fronting. Since the model does not implement a traditional kind of language-specific universal grammar, these results are relevant to the poverty of the stimulus debate. English relative clause constructions give rise to similar performance orderings in adult processing and child language acquisition. This pattern matches the typological universal called the noun phrase accessibility hierarchy. I propose an input-based explanation of this data in chapter eight. The Dual-path model displays this ordering in syntactic development when exposed to plausible input distributions. But it is possible to manipulate and completely remove the ordering by varying properties of the input from which the model learns. This indicates, I argue, that patterns of interference and facilitation among input structures can explain the hierarchy when all structures are simultaneously learned and represented over a single set of connection weights. Finally, I draw conclusions from this work, address some unanswered questions, and give a brief outlook on how this research might be continued.

    Additional information

    http://dare.uva.nl/record/328271
  • Flores d'Arcais, G. B., & Levelt, W. J. M. (Eds.). (1970). Advances in psycholinguistics. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

    Abstract

    Research papers, Bressanone conference on psycholinguistics, summer courses of the University of Padova, July 1969
  • Foley, W., & Van Valin Jr., R. D. (2009). Functional syntax and universal grammar (Repr.). Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    The key argument of this book, originally published in 1984, is that when human beings communicate with each other by means of a natural language they typically do not do so in simple sentences but rather in connected discourse - complex expressions made up of a number of clauses linked together in various ways. A necessary precondition for intelligible discourse is the speaker’s ability to signal the temporal relations between the events that are being discussed and to refer to the participants in those events in such a way that it is clear who is being talked about. A great deal of the grammatical machinery in a language is devoted to this task, and Functional Syntax and Universal Grammar explores how different grammatical systems accomplish it. This book is an important attempt to integrate the study of linguistic form with the study of language use and meaning. It will be of particular interest to field linguists and those concerned with typology and language universals, and also to anthropologists involved in the study of language function.
  • Giering, E., Tinbergen, M., & Verbunt, A. (2009). Research Report 2007 | 2008. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • Grabe, E. (1998). Comparative intonational phonology: English and German. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057683.
  • Gullberg, M. (1998). Gesture as a communication strategy in second language discourse: A study of learners of French and Swedish. Lund: Lund University Press.

    Abstract

    Gestures are often regarded as the most typical compensatory device used by language learners in communicative trouble. Yet gestural solutions to communicative problems have rarely been studied within any theory of second language use. The work pre­sented in this volume aims to account for second language learners’ strategic use of speech-associated gestures by combining a process-oriented framework for communi­cation strategies with a cognitive theory of gesture. Two empirical studies are presented. The production study investigates Swedish lear­ners of French and French learners of Swedish and their use of strategic gestures. The results, which are based on analyses of both individual and group behaviour, contradict popular opinion as well as theoretical assumptions from both fields. Gestures are not primarily used to replace speech, nor are they chiefly mimetic. Instead, learners use gestures with speech, and although they do exploit mimetic gestures to solve lexical problems, they also use more abstract gestures to handle discourse-related difficulties and metalinguistic commentary. The influence of factors such as proficiency, task, culture, and strategic competence on gesture use is discussed, and the oral and gestural strategic modes are compared. In the evaluation study, native speakers’ assessments of learners’ gestures, and the potential effect of gestures on evaluations of proficiency are analysed and discussed in terms of individual communicative style. Compensatory gestures function at multiple communicative levels. This has implica­tions for theories of communication strategies, and an expansion of the existing frameworks is discussed taking both cognitive and interactive aspects into account.
  • Hammond, J. (2009). The grammar of nouns and verbs in Whitesands, an oceanic language of Southern Vanuatu. Master Thesis, University of Sydney, Sydney.

    Abstract

    Whitesands is an under-described language of southern Vanuatu, and this thesis presents Whitesands-specific data based on primary in-situ field research. The thesis addresses the distinction of noun and verb word classes in the language. It claims that current linguistic syntax theory cannot account for the argument structure of canonical object-denoting roots. It is shown that there are distinct lexical noun and verb classes in Whitesands but this is only a weak dichotomy. Stronger is the NP and VP distinction, and this is achieved by employing a new theoretical approach that proposes functional categories and their selection of complements as crucial tests of distinction. This approach contrasts with previous analyses of parts of speech in Oceanic languages and cross-linguistically. It ultimately explains many of the syntactic phenomena seen in the language family, including the above argument assignment dilemma, the alienable possession of nouns with classifiers and also the nominalisation processes.
  • Hanulikova, A. (2009). Lexical segmentation in Slovak and German. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

    Abstract

    All humans are equipped with perceptual and articulatory mechanisms which (in healthy humans) allow them to learn to perceive and produce speech. One basic question in psycholinguistics is whether humans share similar underlying processing mechanisms for all languages, or whether these are fundamentally different due to the diversity of languages and speakers. This book provides a cross-linguistic examination of speech comprehension by investigating word recognition in users of different languages. The focus is on how listeners segment the quasi-continuous stream of sounds that they hear into a sequence of discrete words, and how a universal segmentation principle, the Possible Word Constraint, applies in the recognition of Slovak and German.
  • Kempen, G. (1970). Memory for word and sentence meanings: A set-feature model. PhD Thesis, Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Klein, W., & Von Stechow, A. (Eds.). (1974). Functional generative grammar in Prague. Kronberg/Ts: Scriptor.
  • Klein, W., & Li, P. (Eds.). (2009). The expression of time. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Klein, W. (1974). Variation in der Sprache. Kronberg/Ts: Scriptor.
  • Kuzla, C. (2009). Prosodic structure in speech production and perception. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (1974). Formal grammars in linguistics and psycholinguistics: Vol.III, Psycholinguistic applications. The Hague: Mouton.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (1974). Formal grammars in linguistics and psycholinguistics: Vol. I, An introduction to the theory of formal languages and automata. The Hague: Mouton Publishers.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (1974). Formal grammars in linguistics and psycholinguistics: Vol.II, Applications in linguistic theory. The Hague: Mouton.
  • Majid, A. (Ed.). (2009). Field manual volume 12. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • McQueen, J. M. (2009). Al sprekende leert men [Inaugural lecture]. Arnhem: Drukkerij Roos en Roos.

    Abstract

    Rede uitgesproken bij de aanvaarding van het ambt van hoogleraar Leren en plasticiteit aan de Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen op donderdag 1 oktober 2009
  • Norcliffe, E. (2009). Head-marking in usage and grammar: A study of variation and change in Yucatec Maya. PhD Thesis, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

    Abstract

    Many Mayan languages make use of a special dependent verb form (the Agent Focus, or AF verb form), which alternates with the normal transitive verb form (the synthetic verb form) of main clauses when the subject of a transitive verb is focused, questioned or relativized. It has been a centerpiece of research in Mayan morphosyntax over the last forty years, due to its puzzling formal and distributional properties. In this dissertation I show how a usage-oriented approach to the phenomenon can provide important insights into this area of grammar which resists any categorical explanation. I propose that the historical origins of these special verb forms can be traced to the emergence of head marking. Drawing on cross-linguistic and historical data, I argue that the special verbs that occur in A-bar dependencies in Yucatec and a range of head-marking languages are byproducts of the frequency-sensitive gramaticalization process by which independent pronouns become pronominal inflection on verbs. I show that the relatively low frequency of adjacent pronoun-verb combinations in extraction contexts (where gaps are more frequent than resumptive pronouns) can give rise to asymmetric patterns of pronoun grammaticalization, and thus lead to the emergence of these morphological alternations. The asymmetric frequency distributions of gaps and RPs (within and across languages) in turn can be explained by processing preferences. I present three experiments which show that Yucatec speakers are more likely to use the resumptive verb form in embedded environments, and where the antecedent is indefinite. Specifically, these studies indicate the need to bring discourse-level processing principles into the account of what have often been taken to be autonomously sentence-internal phenomena: factors such as distance and the referential salience of the antecedent have been shown to influence referential form choice in discourse, suggesting that the same cognitive principles lie behind both types of variation. More generally, the Yucatec studies demonstrate that production preferences in Yucatec relative clauses reflect patterns of RP/gap distributions that have been attested across grammars. The Highest Subject Restriction (the ban on subject RPs in local dependencies), which is apparently a categorical constraint in many languages, is reflected probabilistically in Yucatec in terms of production preferences. The definiteness restriction (RPs are obligatory with indefinite antecedents), which has been reported categorically in other languages, is also visible probabilistically in Yucatec production. This lends some statistically robust support to the view that typological patterns can arise via the conventionalization of processing preferences.
  • Roberts, L., Véronique, D., Nilsson, A., & Tellier, M. (Eds.). (2009). EUROSLA Yearbook 9. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Abstract

    The annual conference of the European Second Language Association provides an opportunity for the presentation of second language research with a genuinely European flavour. The theoretical perspectives adopted are wide-ranging and may fall within traditions overlooked elsewhere. Moreover, the studies presented are largely multi-lingual and cross-cultural, as befits the make-up of modern-day Europe. At the same time, the work demonstrates sophisticated awareness of scholarly insights from around the world. The EUROSLA yearbook presents a selection each year of the very best research from the annual conference. Submissions are reviewed and professionally edited, and only those of the highest quality are selected. Contributions are in English.
  • De Ruiter, J. P. (1998). Gesture and speech production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057686.
  • Schimke, S. (2009). The acquisition of finiteness by Turkish learners of German and Turkish learners of French: Investigating knowledge of forms and functions in production and comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    Sarah Schimke onderzocht hoe mensen die op volwassen leeftijd naar een ander land verhuizen de taal van dit land leren, ook zonder veel taalinstructie te krijgen. Twee groepen werden onderzocht: Turkse immigranten in Frankrijk en Turkse immigranten in Duitsland. De resultaten laten zien dat volwassen leerlingen in het begin van het verwervingsproces een gemakkelijkere variatie van de doeltaal creëren. Er worden wel woorden van de doeltaal verworven en gebruikt, maar er wordt een gesimplificeerde grammatica toegepast. In het bijzonder gebruiken leerlingen in deze fase geen finietheid, dus geen morfologische variaties van werkwoorden. Schimke toont aan dat als finietheid wordt verworven, dit de grammatica van de leerlingen sterk verandert en dat deze veel sterker op de doeltaalgrammatica begint te lijken. Ook toont ze aan dat dit proces door karakteristieken van de doeltaal, zoals de woordvolgorde en de complexiteit van de morfologie, wordt beïnvloed
  • Senft, G., Östman, J.-O., & Verschueren, J. (Eds.). (2009). Culture and language use. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Senft, G., & Basso, E. B. (Eds.). (2009). Ritual communication. Oxford: Berg.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (Ed.). (1974). Semantic syntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (2009). Language from within: Vol. 1. Language in cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    Language in Cognition argues that language is based on the human construal of reality. Humans refer to and quantify over virtual entities with the same ease as they do over actual entities: the natural ontology of language, the author argues, must therefore comprise both actual and virtual entities and situations. He reformulates speech act theory, suggesting that the primary function of language is less the transfer of information than the establishing of socially binding commitments or appeals based on the proposition expressed. This leads him first to a new analysis of the systems and structures of cognitive language machinery and their ecological embedding, and finally to a reformulation of the notion of meaning, in which sentence meaning is distinguished from lexical meaning and the vagaries and multifarious applications of lexical meanings may be explained and understood. This is the first of a two-volume foundational study of language, published under the title, Language from Within. Pieter Seuren discusses and analyses such apparently diverse issues as the ontology underlying the semantics of language, speech act theory, intensionality phenomena, the machinery and ecology of language, sentential and lexical meaning, the natural logic of language and cognition, and the intrinsically context-sensitive nature of language - and shows them to be intimately linked. Throughout his ambitious enterprise, he maintains a constant dialogue with established views, reflecting on their development from Ancient Greece to the present. The resulting synthesis concerns central aspects of research and theory in linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive science.
  • Seuren, P. A. M. (1998). Western linguistics: An historical introduction. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Skiba, R. (1998). Fachsprachenforschung in wissenschaftstheoretischer Perspektive. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.
  • Sotaro, K., & Dickey, L. W. (Eds.). (1998). Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics: Annual report 1998. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • Terrill, A. (1998). Biri. München: Lincom Europa.

    Abstract

    This work presents a salvage grammar of the Biri language of Eastern Central Queensland, a Pama-Nyungan language belonging to the large Maric subgroup. As the language is no longer used, the grammatical description is based on old written sources and on recordings made by linguists in the 1960s and 1970s. Biri is in many ways typical of the Pama-Nyungan languages of Southern Queensland. It has split case marking systems, marking nouns according to an ergative/absolutive system and pronouns according to a nominative/accusative system. Unusually for its area, Biri also has bound pronouns on its verb, cross-referencing the person, number and case of core participants. As far as it is possible, the grammatical discussion is ‘theory neutral’. The first four chapters deal with the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language. The last two chapters contain a substantial discussion of Biri’s place in the Pama-Nyungan family. In chapter 6 the numerous dialects of the Biri language are discussed. In chapter 7 the close linguistic relationship between Biri and the surrounding languages is examined.
  • Van Putten, S. (2009). Talking about motion in Avatime. Master Thesis, Leiden University.
  • Verhagen, J. (2009). Finiteness in Dutch as a second language. PhD Thesis, VU University, Amsterdam.
  • Willems, R. M. (2009). Neural reflections of meaning in gesture, language, and action. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Won, S.-O., Hu, I., Kim, M.-Y., Bae, J.-M., Kim, Y.-M., & Byun, K.-S. (2009). Theory and practice of Sign Language interpretation. Pyeongtaek: Korea National College of Rehabilitation & Welfare.

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