Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 854
  • Acerbi, A., Van Leeuwen, E. J. C., Haun, D. B. M., & Tennie, C. (2018). Reply to 'Sigmoidal acquisition curves are good indicators of conformist transmission'. Scientific Reports, 8(1): 14016. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-30382-0.

    Abstract

    In the Smaldino et al. study ‘Sigmoidal Acquisition Curves are Good Indicators of Conformist Transmission’, our original findings regarding the conditional validity of using population-level sigmoidal acquisition curves as means to evidence individual-level conformity are contested. We acknowledge the identification of useful nuances, yet conclude that our original findings remain relevant for the study of conformist learning mechanisms. Replying to: Smaldino, P. E., Aplin, L. M. & Farine, D. R. Sigmoidal Acquisition Curves Are Good Indicators of Conformist Transmission. Sci. Rep. 8, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-30248-5 (2018).
  • Ahlsson, F., Åkerud, H., Schijven, D., Olivier, J., & Sundström-Poromaa, I. (2015). Gene expression in placentas from nondiabetic women giving birth to large for gestational age infants. Reproductive Sciences, 22(10), 1281-1288. doi:10.1177/1933719115578928.

    Abstract

    Gestational diabetes, obesity, and excessive weight gain are known independent risk factors for the birth of a large for gestational age (LGA) infant. However, only 1 of the 10 infants born LGA is born by mothers with diabetes or obesity. Thus, the aim of the present study was to compare placental gene expression between healthy, nondiabetic mothers (n = 22) giving birth to LGA infants and body mass index-matched mothers (n = 24) giving birth to appropriate for gestational age infants. In the whole gene expression analysis, only 29 genes were found to be differently expressed in LGA placentas. Top upregulated genes included insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1, aminolevulinate δ synthase 2, and prolactin, whereas top downregulated genes comprised leptin, gametocyte-specific factor 1, and collagen type XVII α 1. Two enriched gene networks were identified, namely, (1) lipid metabolism, small molecule biochemistry, and organismal development and (2) cellular development, cellular growth, proliferation, and tumor morphology.
  • Alday, P. M. (2015). Be Careful When Assuming the Obvious: Commentary on “The Placement of the Head that Minimizes Online Memory: A Complex Systems Approach”. Language Dynamics and Change, 5(1), 138-146. doi:10.1163/22105832-00501008.

    Abstract

    Ferrer-i-Cancho (this volume) presents a mathematical model of both the synchronic and diachronic nature of word order based on the assumption that memory costs are a never decreasing function of distance and a few very general linguistic assumptions. However, even these minimal and seemingly obvious assumptions are not as safe as they appear in light of recent typological and psycholinguistic evidence. The interaction of word order and memory has further depths to be explored.
  • Alday, P. M., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2015). Discovering prominence and its role in language processing: An individual (differences) approach. Linguistics Vanguard, 1(1), 201-213. doi:10.1515/lingvan-2014-1013.

    Abstract

    It has been suggested that, during real time language comprehension, the human language processing system attempts to identify the argument primarily responsible for the state of affairs (the “actor”) as quickly and unambiguously as possible. However, previous work on a prominence (e.g. animacy, definiteness, case marking) based heuristic for actor identification has suffered from underspecification of the relationship between different cue hierarchies. Qualitative work has yielded a partial ordering of many features (e.g. MacWhinney et al. 1984), but a precise quantification has remained elusive due to difficulties in exploring the full feature space in a particular language. Feature pairs tend to correlate strongly in individual languages for semantic-pragmatic reasons (e.g., animate arguments tend to be actors and actors tend to be morphosyntactically privileged), and it is thus difficult to create acceptable stimuli for a fully factorial design even for binary features. Moreover, the exponential function grows extremely rapidly and a fully crossed factorial design covering the entire feature space would be prohibitively long for a purely within-subjects design. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of parameter estimation in a short experiment. We are able to estimate parameters at a single subject level for the parameters animacy, case and number. This opens the door for research into individual differences and population variation. Moreover, the framework we introduce here can be used in the field to measure more “exotic” languages and populations, even with small sample sizes. Finally, pooled single-subject results are used to reduce the number of free parameters in previous work based on the extended Argument Dependency Model (Bornkessel-Schlesewsky and Schlesewsky 2006, 2009, 2013, in press; Alday et al. 2014).
  • Alhama, R. G., & Zuidema, W. (2018). Pre-Wiring and Pre-Training: What Does a Neural Network Need to Learn Truly General Identity Rules? Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, 61, 927-946. doi:10.1613/jair.1.11197.

    Abstract

    In an influential paper (“Rule Learning by Seven-Month-Old Infants”), Marcus, Vijayan, Rao and Vishton claimed that connectionist models cannot account for human success at learning tasks that involved generalization of abstract knowledge such as grammatical rules. This claim triggered a heated debate, centered mostly around variants of the Simple Recurrent Network model. In our work, we revisit this unresolved debate and analyze the underlying issues from a different perspective. We argue that, in order to simulate human-like learning of grammatical rules, a neural network model should not be used as a tabula rasa, but rather, the initial wiring of the neural connections and the experience acquired prior to the actual task should be incorporated into the model. We present two methods that aim to provide such initial state: a manipulation of the initial connections of the network in a cognitively plausible manner (concretely, by implementing a “delay-line” memory), and a pre-training algorithm that incrementally challenges the network with novel stimuli. We implement such techniques in an Echo State Network (ESN), and we show that only when combining both techniques the ESN is able to learn truly general identity rules. Finally, we discuss the relation between these cognitively motivated techniques and recent advances in Deep Learning.
  • Alibali, M. W., Flevares, L. M., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (1997). Assessing knowledge conveyed in gesture: Do teachers have the upper hand? Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(1), 183-193. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.89.1.183.

    Abstract

    Children's gestures can reveal important information about their problem-solving strategies. This study investigated whether the information children express only in gesture is accessible to adults not trained in gesture coding. Twenty teachers and 20 undergraduates viewed videotaped vignettes of 12 children explaining their solutions to equations. Six children expressed the same strategy in speech and gesture, and 6 expressed different strategies. After each vignette, adults described the child's reasoning. For children who expressed different strategies in speech and gesture, both teachers and undergraduates frequently described strategies that children had not expressed in speech. These additional strategies could often be traced to the children's gestures. Sensitivity to gesture was comparable for teachers and undergraduates. Thus, even without training, adults glean information, not only from children's words but also from their hands.
  • Allen, S. E. M. (1998). Categories within the verb category: Learning the causative in Inuktitut. Linguistics, 36(4), 633-677.
  • Allen, S., Ozyurek, A., Kita, S., Brown, A., Furman, R., Ishizuka, T., & Fujii, M. (2007). Language-specific and universal influences in children's syntactic packaging of manner and path: A comparison of English, Japanese, and Turkish. Cognition, 102, 16-48. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2005.12.006.

    Abstract

    Different languages map semantic elements of spatial relations onto different lexical and syntactic units. These crosslinguistic differences raise important questions for language development in terms of how this variation is learned by children. We investigated how Turkish-, English-, and Japanese-speaking children (mean age 3;8) package the semantic elements of Manner and Path onto syntactic units when both the Manner and the Path of the moving Figure occur simultaneously and are salient in the event depicted. Both universal and language-specific patterns were evident in our data. Children used the semantic-syntactic mappings preferred by adult speakers of their own languages, and even expressed subtle syntactic differences that encode different relations between Manner and Path in the same way as their adult counterparts (i.e., Manner causing vs. incidental to Path). However, not all types of semantics-syntax mappings were easy for children to learn (e.g., expressing Manner and Path elements in two verbal clauses). In such cases, Turkish- and Japanese-speaking children frequently used syntactic patterns that were not typical in the target language but were similar to patterns used by English-speaking children, suggesting some universal influence. Thus, both language-specific and universal tendencies guide the development of complex spatial expressions.
  • Ambridge, B., Kidd, E., Rowland, C. F., & Theakston, A. L. (2015). Authors' response [The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition]. Journal of Child Language, 42(2), 316-322. doi:10.1017/S0305000914000841.

    Abstract

    Our target paper argued for the ubiquity of frequency effects in acquisition, and that any comprehensive theory must take into account the multiplicity of ways that frequently occurring and co-occurring linguistic units affect the acquisition process. The commentaries on the paper provide a largely unanimous endorsement of this position, but raise additional issues likely to frame further discussion and theoretical development. Specifically, while most commentators did not deny the importance of frequency effects, all saw this as the tip of the theoretical iceberg. In this short response we discuss common themes raised in the commentaries, focusing on the broader issue of what frequency effects mean for language acquisition.

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  • Ambridge, B., Bidgood, A., Twomey, K. E., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., & Freudenthal, D. (2015). Preemption versus Entrenchment: Towards a Construction-General Solution to the Problem of the Retreat from Verb Argument Structure Overgeneralization. PLoS One, 10(4): e0123723. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123723.

    Abstract

    Participants aged 5;2-6;8, 9;2-10;6 and 18;1-22;2 (72 at each age) rated verb argument structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., *Daddy giggled the baby) using a five-point scale. The study was designed to investigate the feasibility of two proposed construction-general solutions to the question of how children retreat from, or avoid, such errors. No support was found for the prediction of the preemption hypothesis that the greater the frequency of the verb in the single most nearly synonymous construction (for this example, the periphrastic causative; e.g., Daddy made the baby giggle), the lower the acceptability of the error. Support was found, however, for the prediction of the entrenchment hypothesis that the greater the overall frequency of the verb, regardless of construction, the lower the acceptability of the error, at least for the two older groups. Thus while entrenchment appears to be a robust solution to the problem of the retreat from error, and one that generalizes across different error types, we did not find evidence that this is the case for preemption. The implication is that the solution to the retreat from error lies not with specialized mechanisms, but rather in a probabilistic process of construction competition.
  • Ambridge, B., Kidd, E., Rowland, C. F., & Theakston, A. L. (2015). The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 42(2), 239-273. doi:10.1017/S030500091400049X.

    Abstract

    This review article presents evidence for the claim that frequency effects are pervasive in children's first language acquisition, and hence constitute a phenomenon that any successful account must explain. The article is organized around four key domains of research: children's acquisition of single words, inflectional morphology, simple syntactic constructions, and more advanced constructions. In presenting this evidence, we develop five theses. (i) There exist different types of frequency effect, from effects at the level of concrete lexical strings to effects at the level of abstract cues to thematic-role assignment, as well as effects of both token and type, and absolute and relative, frequency. High-frequency forms are (ii) early acquired and (iii) prevent errors in contexts where they are the target, but also (iv) cause errors in contexts in which a competing lower-frequency form is the target. (v) Frequency effects interact with other factors (e.g. serial position, utterance length), and the patterning of these interactions is generally informative with regard to the nature of the learning mechanism. We conclude by arguing that any successful account of language acquisition, from whatever theoretical standpoint, must be frequency sensitive to the extent that it can explain the effects documented in this review, and outline some types of account that do and do not meet this criterion.

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  • Ameka, F. K., & Essegbey, J. (2007). Cut and break verbs in Ewe and the causative alternation construction. Cognitive Linguistics, 18(2), 241-250. doi:10.1515/COG.2007.011.

    Abstract

    Ewe verbs covering the cutting and breaking domain divide into four morpho-syntactic classes that can be ranked according to agentivity. We demonstrate that the highly non-agentive break verbs participate in the causative-inchoative alternation while the highly agentive cut verbs do not, as expected from Guerssel et al.'s (1985) hypothesis. However, four verbs tso 'cut with precision', 'cut', 'snap-off', and dze 'split', are used transitively when an instrument is required for the severance to be effected, and intransitively when not. We reject a lexicalist analysis that would postulate polysemy for these verbs and argue for a construction approach.
  • Ameka, F. K., & Levinson, S. C. (2007). Introduction-The typology and semantics of locative predicates: Posturals, positionals and other beasts. Linguistics, 45(5), 847-872. doi:10.1515/LING.2007.025.

    Abstract

    This special issue is devoted to a relatively neglected topic in linguistics, namely the verbal component of locative statements. English tends, of course, to use a simple copula in utterances like “The cup is on the table”, but many languages, perhaps as many as half of the world's languages, have a set of alternate verbs, or alternate verbal affixes, which contrast in this slot. Often these are classificatory verbs of 'sitting', 'standing' and 'lying'. For this reason, perhaps, Aristotle listed position among his basic (“noncomposite”) categories.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1998). Particules énonciatives en Ewe. Faits de langues, 6(11/12), 179-204.

    Abstract

    Particles are little words that speakers use to signal the illocutionary force of utterances and/or express their attitude towards elements of the communicative situation, e.g. the addresses. This paper presents an overview of the classification, meaning and use of utterance particles in Ewe. It argues that they constitute a grammatical word class on functional and distributional grounds. The paper calls for a cross-cultural investigation of particles, especially in Africa, where they have been neglected for far too long.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2007). The coding of topological relations in verbs: The case of Likpe (SEkpEle). Linguistics, 45(5), 1065-1104. doi:10.1515/LING.2007.032.

    Abstract

    This article examines the grammar, use and meaning of fifteen verbs used in the Basic Locative Construction (BLC) of Likpe — a Ghana-Togo-Mountain language. The verbs fall into four semantic subclasses: (a) basic topological relations: t 'be.at', tk 'be.on', kpé 'be.in', and fi 'be.near'; (b) postural verbs: sí 'sit', ny 'stand', fáka 'hang', yóma 'hang', kps 'lean', fus 'squat', and labe 'lie'; (c) “distribution” verbs: kpó 'be spread, heaped,' and tí 'be covered'; and (d) “adhesion” verbs: má 'be griped, be fixed', mánkla 'be stuck to'. Likpe locative predications reflect an ontological commitment to the overall topological relation between Figure and Ground and are not focused just on the Figure or the Ground. Various factors determine the choice of “competing” verbs for particular scenarios: animacy, nonindividuation of the Figure, permanency of the configuration and the speaker's desire to be referentially precise or to present stereotypical information. It is demonstrated that in situations where there is a choice, speakers tend to use the more general verbs (stereotype information). The implications of this tendency for the development of a language from a multiverb language using several verbs (e.g., 15) in its BLC to using only a small-set of verbs in its BLC, just as some of Likpe's neighbors have done, are considered.
  • Ameka, F. K., & Dorvlo, K. (2007). The Ewe language. Verba Africana series - Video documentation and Digital Materials, 1.
  • Ameka, F. K., & Levinson, S. C. (Eds.). (2007). The typology and semantics of locative predication: Posturals, positionals and other beasts [Special Issue]. Linguistics, 45(5).

    Abstract

    This special issue is devoted to a relatively neglected topic in linguistics, namely the verbal component of locative statements. English tends, of course, to use a simple copula in utterances like “The cup is on the table”, but many languages, perhaps as many as half of the world's languages, have a set of alternate verbs, or alternate verbal affixes, which contrast in this slot. Often these are classificatory verbs of ‘sitting’, ‘standing’ and ‘lying’. For this reason, perhaps, Aristotle listed position among his basic (“noncomposite”) categories.
  • Araújo, S., Faísca, L., Bramão, I., Reis, A., & Petersson, K. M. (2015). Lexical and sublexical orthographic processing: An ERP study with skilled and dyslexic adult readers. Brain and Language, 141, 16-27. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2014.11.007.

    Abstract

    This ERP study investigated the cognitive nature of the P1–N1 components during orthographic processing. We used an implicit reading task with various types of stimuli involving different amounts of sublexical or lexical orthographic processing (words, pseudohomophones, pseudowords, nonwords, and symbols), and tested average and dyslexic readers. An orthographic regularity effect (pseudowords– nonwords contrast) was observed in the average but not in the dyslexic group. This suggests an early sensitivity to the dependencies among letters in word-forms that reflect orthographic structure, while the dyslexic brain apparently fails to be appropriately sensitive to these complex features. Moreover, in the adults the N1-response may already reflect lexical access: (i) the N1 was sensitive to the familiar vs. less familiar orthographic sequence contrast; (ii) and early effects of the phonological form (words-pseudohomophones contrast) were also found. Finally, the later N320 component was attenuated in the dyslexics, suggesting suboptimal processing in later stages of phonological analysis.
  • Araújo, S., Reis, A., Petersson, K. M., & Faísca, L. (2015). Rapid automatized naming and reading performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(3), 868-883. doi:10.1037/edu0000006.

    Abstract

    Evidence that rapid naming skill is associated with reading ability has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. However, there is considerable variation in the literature concerning the magnitude of this relationship. The objective of the present study was to provide a comprehensive analysis of the evidence on the relationship between rapid automatized naming (RAN) and reading performance. To this end, we conducted a meta-analysis of the correlational relationship between these 2 constructs to (a) determine the overall strength of the RAN–reading association and (b) identify variables that systematically moderate this relationship. A random-effects model analysis of data from 137 studies (857 effect sizes; 28,826 participants) indicated a moderate-to-strong relationship between RAN and reading performance (r = .43, I2 = 68.40). Further analyses revealed that RAN contributes to the 4 measures of reading (word reading, text reading, non-word reading, and reading comprehension), but higher coefficients emerged in favor of real word reading and text reading. RAN stimulus type and type of reading score were the factors with the greatest moderator effect on the magnitude of the RAN–reading relationship. The consistency of orthography and the subjects’ grade level were also found to impact this relationship, although the effect was contingent on reading outcome. It was less evident whether the subjects’ reading proficiency played a role in the relationship. Implications for future studies are discussed.
  • Arshamian, A., Iravani, B., Majid, A., & Lundström, J. N. (2018). Respiration modulates olfactory memory consolidation in humans. The Journal of Neuroscience, 38(48), 10286-10294. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3360-17.2018.

    Abstract

    In mammals, respiratory-locked hippocampal rhythms are implicated in the scaffolding and transfer of information between sensory and memory networks. These oscillations are entrained by nasal respiration and driven by the olfactory bulb. They then travel to the piriform cortex where they propagate further downstream to the hippocampus and modulate neural processes critical for memory formation. In humans, bypassing nasal airflow through mouth-breathing abolishes these rhythms and impacts encoding as well as recognition processes thereby reducing memory performance. It has been hypothesized that similar behavior should be observed for the consolidation process, the stage between encoding and recognition, were memory is reactivated and strengthened. However, direct evidence for such an effect is lacking in human and non-human animals. Here we tested this hypothesis by examining the effect of respiration on consolidation of episodic odor memory. In two separate sessions, female and male participants encoded odors followed by a one hour awake resting consolidation phase where they either breathed solely through their nose or mouth. Immediately after the consolidation phase, memory for odors was tested. Recognition memory significantly increased during nasal respiration compared to mouth respiration during consolidation. These results provide the first evidence that respiration directly impacts consolidation of episodic events, and lends further support to the notion that core cognitive functions are modulated by the respiratory cycle.
  • Asaridou, S. S., Hagoort, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Effects of early bilingual experience with a tone and a non-tone language on speech-music. PLoS One, 10(12): e0144225. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144225.

    Abstract

    We investigated music and language processing in a group of early bilinguals who spoke a tone language and a non-tone language (Cantonese and Dutch). We assessed online speech-music processing interactions, that is, interactions that occur when speech and music are processed simultaneously in songs, with a speeded classification task. In this task, participants judged sung pseudowords either musically (based on the direction of the musical interval) or phonologically (based on the identity of the sung vowel). We also assessed longer-term effects of linguistic experience on musical ability, that is, the influence of extensive prior experience with language when processing music. These effects were assessed with a task in which participants had to learn to identify musical intervals and with four pitch-perception tasks. Our hypothesis was that due to their experience in two different languages using lexical versus intonational tone, the early Cantonese-Dutch bilinguals would outperform the Dutch control participants. In online processing, the Cantonese-Dutch bilinguals processed speech and music more holistically than controls. This effect seems to be driven by experience with a tone language, in which integration of segmental and pitch information is fundamental. Regarding longer-term effects of linguistic experience, we found no evidence for a bilingual advantage in either the music-interval learning task or the pitch-perception tasks. Together, these results suggest that being a Cantonese-Dutch bilingual does not have any measurable longer-term effects on pitch and music processing, but does have consequences for how speech and music are processed jointly.

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  • Athanasopoulos, P., Bylund, E., Montero-Melis, G., Damjanovic, L., Schartner, A., Kibbe, A., Riches, N., & Thierry, G. (2015). Two languages, two minds: Flexible cognitive processing driven by language of operation. Psychological Science, 26(4), 518-526. doi:10.1177/0956797614567509.

    Abstract

    People make sense of objects and events around them by classifying them into identifiable categories. The extent to which language affects this process has been the focus of a long-standing debate: Do different languages cause their speakers to behave differently? Here, we show that fluent German-English bilinguals categorize motion events according to the grammatical constraints of the language in which they operate. First, as predicted from cross-linguistic differences in motion encoding, bilingual participants functioning in a German testing context prefer to match events on the basis of motion completion to a greater extent than do bilingual participants in an English context. Second, when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in English, their categorization behavior is congruent with that predicted for German; when bilingual participants experience verbal interference in German, their categorization becomes congruent with that predicted for English. These findings show that language effects on cognition are context-bound and transient, revealing unprecedented levels of malleability in human cognition.

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  • Azar, Z., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). Discourse Management: Reference tracking in speech and gesture in Turkish narratives. Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(2), 222-240. doi:10.1075/dujal.4.2.06aza.

    Abstract

    Speakers achieve coherence in discourse by alternating between differential lexical forms e.g. noun phrase, pronoun, and null form in accordance with the accessibility of the entities they refer to, i.e. whether they introduce an entity into discourse for the first time or continue referring to an entity they already mentioned before. Moreover, tracking of entities in discourse is a multimodal phenomenon. Studies show that speakers are sensitive to the informational structure of discourse and use fuller forms (e.g. full noun phrases) in speech and gesture more when re-introducing an entity while they use attenuated forms (e.g. pronouns) in speech and gesture less when maintaining a referent. However, those studies focus mainly on non-pro-drop languages (e.g. English, German and French). The present study investigates whether the same pattern holds for pro-drop languages. It draws data from adult native speakers of Turkish using elicited narratives. We find that Turkish speakers mostly use fuller forms to code subject referents in re-introduction context and the null form in maintenance context and they point to gesture space for referents more in re-introduction context compared maintained context. Hence we provide supportive evidence for the reverse correlation between the accessibility of a discourse referent and its coding in speech and gesture. We also find that, as a novel contribution, third person pronoun is used in re-introduction context only when the referent was previously mentioned as the object argument of the immediately preceding clause.
  • Baayen, R. H., Dijkstra, T., & Schreuder, R. (1997). Singulars and Plurals in Dutch: Evidence for a Parallel Dual-Route Model. Journal of Memory and Language, 37(1), 94-117. doi:10.1006/jmla.1997.2509.

    Abstract

    Are regular morphologically complex words stored in the mental lexicon? Answers to this question have ranged from full listing to parsing for every regular complex word. We investigated the roles of storage and parsing in the visual domain for the productive Dutch plural suffix -en.Two experiments are reported that show that storage occurs for high-frequency noun plurals. A mathematical formalization of a parallel dual-route race model is presented that accounts for the patterns in the observed reaction time data with essentially one free parameter, the speed of the parsing route. Parsing for noun plurals appears to be a time-costly process, which we attribute to the ambiguity of -en,a suffix that is predominantly used as a verbal ending. A third experiment contrasted nouns and verbs. This experiment revealed no effect of surface frequency for verbs, but again a solid effect for nouns. Together, our results suggest that many noun plurals are stored in order to avoid the time-costly resolution of the subcategorization conflict that arises when the -ensuffix is attached to nouns.

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  • Baayen, R. H., Lieber, R., & Schreuder, R. (1997). The morphological complexity of simplex nouns. Linguistics, 35, 861-877. doi:10.1515/ling.1997.35.5.861.
  • Baayen, R. H. (1997). The pragmatics of the 'tenses' in biblical Hebrew. Studies in Language, 21(2), 245-285. doi:10.1075/sl.21.2.02baa.

    Abstract

    In this paper, I present an analysis of the so-called tense forms of Biblical Hebrew. While there is fairly broad consensus on the interpretation of the yiqtol tense form, the interpretation of the qdtal tense form has led to considerable controversy. I will argue that the qātal form has no intrinsic semantic value and that it serves a pragmatic function only, namely, signaling to the hearer that the event or state expressed by the verb cannot be tightly integrated into the discourse representation of the hearer, given the speaker's estimate of their common ground.
  • Baayen, R. H., & Lieber, R. (1997). Word frequency distributions and lexical semantics. Computers and the Humanities, 30, 281-291.

    Abstract

    This paper addresses the relation between meaning, lexical productivity, and frequency of use. Using density estimation as a visualization tool, we show that differences in semantic structure can be reflected in probability density functions estimated for word frequency distributions. We call attention to an example of a bimodal density, and suggest that bimodality arises when distributions of well-entrenched lexical tems, which appear to be lognormal, are mixed with distributions of productively reated nonce formations
  • Baggio, G., van Lambalgen, M., & Hagoort, P. (2015). Logic as Marr's computational level: Four case studies. Topics in Cognitive Science, 7, 287-298. doi:10.1111/tops.12125.

    Abstract

    We sketch four applications of Marr's levels-of-analysis methodology to the relations between logic and experimental data in the cognitive neuroscience of language and reasoning. The first part of the paper illustrates the explanatory power of computational level theories based on logic. We show that a Bayesian treatment of the suppression task in reasoning with conditionals is ruled out by EEG data, supporting instead an analysis based on defeasible logic. Further, we describe how results from an EEG study on temporal prepositions can be reanalyzed using formal semantics, addressing a potential confound. The second part of the article demonstrates the predictive power of logical theories drawing on EEG data on processing progressive constructions and on behavioral data on conditional reasoning in people with autism. Logical theories can constrain processing hypotheses all the way down to neurophysiology, and conversely neuroscience data can guide the selection of alternative computational level models of cognition.
  • Bailey, A., Hervas, A., Matthews, N., Palferman, S., Wallace, S., Aubin, A., Michelotti, J., Wainhouse, C., Papanikolaou, K., Rutter, M., Maestrini, E., Marlow, A., Weeks, D. E., Lamb, J., Francks, C., Kearsley, G., Scudder, P., Monaco, A. P., Baird, G., Cox, A. and 46 moreBailey, A., Hervas, A., Matthews, N., Palferman, S., Wallace, S., Aubin, A., Michelotti, J., Wainhouse, C., Papanikolaou, K., Rutter, M., Maestrini, E., Marlow, A., Weeks, D. E., Lamb, J., Francks, C., Kearsley, G., Scudder, P., Monaco, A. P., Baird, G., Cox, A., Cockerill, H., Nuffield, F., Le Couteur, A., Berney, T., Cooper, H., Kelly, T., Green, J., Whittaker, J., Gilchrist, A., Bolton, P., Schönewald, A., Daker, M., Ogilvie, C., Docherty, Z., Deans, Z., Bolton, B., Packer, R., Poustka, F., Rühl, D., Schmötzer, G., Bölte, S., Klauck, S. M., Spieler, A., Poustka., A., Van Engeland, H., Kemner, C., De Jonge, M., Den Hartog, I., Lord, C., Cook, E., Leventhal, B., Volkmar, F., Pauls, D., Klin, A., Smalley, S., Fombonne, E., Rogé, B., Tauber, M., Arti-Vartayan, E., Fremolle-Kruck., J., Pederson, L., Haracopos, D., Brondum-Nielsen, K., & Cotterill, R. (1998). A full genome screen for autism with evidence for linkage to a region on chromosome 7q. International Molecular Genetic Study of Autism Consortium. Human Molecular Genetics, 7(3), 571-578. doi:10.1093/hmg/7.3.571.

    Abstract

    Autism is characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and restricted and sterotyped patterns of interests and activities. Developmental difficulties are apparent before 3 years of age and there is evidence for strong genetic influences most likely involving more than one susceptibility gene. A two-stage genome search for susceptibility loci in autism was performed on 87 affected sib pairs plus 12 non-sib affected relative-pairs, from a total of 99 families identified by an international consortium. Regions on six chromosomes (4, 7, 10, 16, 19 and 22) were identified which generated a multipoint maximum lod score (MLS) > 1. A region on chromosome 7q was the most significant with an MLS of 3.55 near markers D7S530 and D7S684 in the subset of 56 UK affected sib-pair families, and an MLS of 2.53 in all 87 affected sib-pair families. An area on chromosome 16p near the telomere was the next most significant, with an MLS of 1.97 in the UK families, and 1.51 in all families. These results are an important step towards identifying genes predisposing to autism; establishing their general applicability requires further study.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., Van Hall, J. G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of cognitive neuroscience, 27(7), 1286-1297. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00801.

    Abstract

    The complementary learning systems account of word learning states that novel words, like other types of memories, undergo an offline consolidation process during which they are gradually integrated into the neocortical memory network. A fundamental change in the neural representation of a novel word should therefore occur in the hours after learning. The present EEG study tested this hypothesis by investigating whether novel words learned before a 24-hr consolidation period elicited more word-like oscillatory responses than novel words learned immediately before testing. In line with previous studies indicating that theta synchronization reflects lexical access, unfamiliar novel words elicited lower power in the theta band (4–8 Hz) than existing words. Recently learned words still showed a marginally lower theta increase than existing words, but theta responses to novel words that had been acquired 24 hr earlier were indistinguishable from responses to existing words. Consistent with evidence that beta desynchronization (16–21 Hz) is related to lexical-semantic processing, we found that both unfamiliar and recently learned novel words elicited less beta desynchronization than existing words. In contrast, no difference was found between novel words learned 24 hr earlier and existing words. These data therefore suggest that an offline consolidation period enables novel words to acquire lexically integrated, word-like neural representations.
  • Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Tracking lexical consolidation with ERPs: Lexical and semantic-priming effects on N400 and LPC responses to newly-learned words. Neuropsychologia, 79, 33-41. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.10.020.
  • Bakker-Marshall, I., Takashima, A., Schoffelen, J.-M., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2018). Theta-band Oscillations in the Middle Temporal Gyrus Reflect Novel Word Consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30(5), 621-633. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01240.

    Abstract

    Like many other types of memory formation, novel word learning benefits from an offline consolidation period after the initial encoding phase. A previous EEG study has shown that retrieval of novel words elicited more word-like-induced electrophysiological brain activity in the theta band after consolidation [Bakker, I., Takashima, A., van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 1286–1297, 2015]. This suggests that theta-band oscillations play a role in lexicalization, but it has not been demonstrated that this effect is directly caused by the formation of lexical representations. This study used magnetoencephalography to localize the theta consolidation effect to the left posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), a region known to be involved in lexical storage. Both untrained novel words and words learned immediately before test elicited lower theta power during retrieval than existing words in this region. After a 24-hr consolidation period, the difference between novel and existing words decreased significantly, most strongly in the left pMTG. The magnitude of the decrease after consolidation correlated with an increase in behavioral competition effects between novel words and existing words with similar spelling, reflecting functional integration into the mental lexicon. These results thus provide new evidence that consolidation aids the development of lexical representations mediated by the left pMTG. Theta synchronization may enable lexical access by facilitating the simultaneous activation of distributed semantic, phonological, and orthographic representations that are bound together in the pMTG.
  • Bank, R., Crasborn, O., & Van Hout, R. (2015). Alignment of two languages: The spreading of mouthings in Sign Language of the Netherlands. International Journal of Bilingualism, 19, 40-55. doi:10.1177/1367006913484991.

    Abstract

    Mouthings and mouth gestures are omnipresent in Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT). Mouthings in NGT are mouth actions that have their origin in spoken Dutch, and are usually time aligned with the signs they co-occur with. Frequently, however, they spread over one or more adjacent signs, so that one mouthing co-occurs with multiple manual signs. We conducted a corpus study to explore how frequently this occurs in NGT and whether there is any sociolinguistic variation in the use of spreading. Further, we looked at the circumstances under which spreading occurs. Answers to these questions may give us insight into the prosodic structure of sign languages. We investigated a sample of the Corpus NGT containing 5929 mouthings by 46 participants. We found that spreading over an adjacent sign is independent of social factors. Further, mouthings that spread are longer than non-spreading mouthings, whether measured in syllables or in milliseconds. By using a relatively large amount of natural data, we succeeded in gaining more insight into the way mouth actions are utilised in sign languages
  • Baranova, J. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Russian. Open linguistics, 1(1), 555-577. doi:10.1515/opli-2015-0019.

    Abstract

    This article describes the interactional patterns and linguistic structures associated with otherinitiated repair, as observed in a corpus of video-recorded conversations in Russian. In the discussion of various repair cases special attention is given to the modifications that the trouble source turn undergoes in response to an open versus a restricted repair initiation. Speakers often modify their problematic turn in multiple ways at ones when responding to an open repair initiation. They can alter the word order of the problematic turn, change prosodic contour of the utterance, omit redundant elements and add more specific ones. By contrast, restricted repair initiations usually receive specific repair solutions that target only one problem at a time
  • Barendse, M. T., Oort, F. J., & Timmerman, M. E. (2015). Using exploratory factor analysis to determine the dimensionality of discrete responses. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 22(1), 87-101. doi:10.1080/10705511.2014.934850.

    Abstract

    Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is commonly used to determine the dimensionality of continuous data. In a simulation study we investigate its usefulness with discrete data. We vary response scales (continuous, dichotomous, polytomous), factor loadings (medium, high), sample size (small, large), and factor structure (simple, complex). For each condition, we generate 1,000 data sets and apply EFA with 5 estimation methods (maximum likelihood [ML] of covariances, ML of polychoric correlations, robust ML, weighted least squares [WLS], and robust WLS) and 3 fit criteria (chi-square test, root mean square error of approximation, and root mean square residual). The various EFA procedures recover more factors when sample size is large, factor loadings are high, factor structure is simple, and response scales have more options. Robust WLS of polychoric correlations is the preferred method, as it is theoretically justified and shows fewer convergence problems than the other estimation methods.
  • Bašnákova, J., Van Berkum, J. J. A., Weber, K., & Hagoort, P. (2015). A job interview in the MRI scanner: How does indirectness affect addressees and overhearers? Neuropsychologia, 76, 79-91. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.03.030.

    Abstract

    In using language, people not only exchange information, but also navigate their social world – for example, they can express themselves indirectly to avoid losing face. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we investigated the neural correlates of interpreting face-saving indirect replies, in a situation where participants only overheard the replies as part of a conversation between two other people, as well as in a situation where the participants were directly addressed themselves. We created a fictional job interview context where indirect replies serve as a natural communicative strategy to attenuate one’s shortcomings, and asked fMRI participants to either pose scripted questions and receive answers from three putative job candidates (addressee condition) or to listen to someone else interview the same candidates (overhearer condition). In both cases, the need to evaluate the candidate ensured that participants had an active interest in comprehending the replies. Relative to direct replies, face-saving indirect replies increased activation in medial prefrontal cortex, bilateral temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and bilateral middle temporal gyrus, in active overhearers and active addressees alike, with similar effect size, and comparable to findings obtained in an earlier passive listening study (Bašnáková et al., 2013). In contrast, indirectness effects in bilateral anterior insula and pregenual ACC, two regions implicated in emotional salience and empathy, were reliably stronger in addressees than in active overhearers. Our findings indicate that understanding face-saving indirect language requires additional cognitive perspective-taking and other discourse-relevant cognitive processing, to a comparable extent in active overhearers and addressees. Furthermore, they indicate that face-saving indirect language draws upon affective systems more in addressees than in overhearers, presumably because the addressee is the one being managed by a face-saving reply. In all, face-saving indirectness provides a window on the cognitive as well as affect-related neural systems involved in human communication.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., & Hagoort, P. (2015). Frequency-based segregation of syntactic and semantic unification during online sentence level language comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(11), 2095-2107. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00829.

    Abstract

    During sentence level language comprehension, semantic and syntactic unification are functionally distinct operations. Nevertheless, both recruit roughly the same brain areas (spatially overlapping networks in the left frontotemporal cortex) and happen at the same time (in the first few hundred milliseconds after word onset). We tested the hypothesis that semantic and syntactic unification are segregated by means of neuronal synchronization of the functionally relevant networks in different frequency ranges: gamma (40 Hz and up) for semantic unification and lower beta (10–20 Hz) for syntactic unification. EEG power changes were quantified as participants read either correct sentences, syntactically correct though meaningless sentences (syntactic prose), or sentences that did not contain any syntactic structure (random word lists). Other sentences contained either a semantic anomaly or a syntactic violation at a critical word in the sentence. Larger EEG gamma-band power was observed for semantically coherent than for semantically anomalous sentences. Similarly, beta-band power was larger for syntactically correct sentences than for incorrect ones. These results confirm the existence of a functional dissociation in EEG oscillatory dynamics during sentence level language comprehension that is compatible with the notion of a frequency-based segregation of syntactic and semantic unification.
  • Bastos, A. M., Vezoli, J., Bosman, C. A., Schoffelen, J.-M., Oostenveld, R., Dowdall, J. R., De Weerd, P., Kennedy, H., & Fries, P. (2015). Visual areas exert feedforward and feedback influences through distinct frequency channels. Neuron, 85(2), 390-401. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.12.018.

    Abstract

    Visual cortical areas subserve cognitive functions by interacting in both feedforward and feedback directions. While feedforward influences convey sensory signals, feedback influences modulate feedforward signaling according to the current behavioral context. We investigated whether these interareal influences are subserved differentially by rhythmic synchronization. We correlated frequency-specific directed influences among 28 pairs of visual areas with anatomical metrics of the feedforward or feedback character of the respective interareal projections. This revealed that in the primate visual system, feedforward influences are carried by theta-band ( approximately 4 Hz) and gamma-band ( approximately 60-80 Hz) synchronization, and feedback influences by beta-band ( approximately 14-18 Hz) synchronization. The functional directed influences constrain a functional hierarchy similar to the anatomical hierarchy, but exhibiting task-dependent dynamic changes in particular with regard to the hierarchical positions of frontal areas. Our results demonstrate that feedforward and feedback signaling use distinct frequency channels, suggesting that they subserve differential communication requirements.
  • Bauer, B. L. M., & Mota, M. (2018). On language, cognition, and the brain: An interview with Peter Hagoort. Sobre linguagem, cognição e cérebro: Uma entrevista com Peter Hagoort. Revista da Anpoll, (45), 291-296. doi:10.18309/anp.v1i45.1179.

    Abstract

    Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, founding Director of the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN, 1999), and professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Radboud University, all located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, PETER HAGOORT examines how the brain controls language production and comprehension. He was one of the first to integrate psychological theory and models from neuroscience in an attempt to understand how the human language faculty is instantiated in the brain.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (1997). Response to David Lightfoot’s Review of The Emergence and Development of SVO Patterning in Latin and French: Diachronic and Psycholinguistic Perspectives. Language, 73(2), 352-358.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2007). Report on the XVIth International Conference on Historical Linguistic. General Linguistics, 43, 145-149.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (1998). Impersonal verbs in Italic. Their development from an Indo-European perspective. Journal of Indo-European Studies, 26, 91-120.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (1998). Language loss in Gaul: Socio-historical and linguistic factors in language conflict. Southwest Journal of Linguistics, 15, 23-44.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2015). Origins of grammatical forms and evidence from Latin. Journal of Indo-European studies, 43, 201-235.

    Abstract

    This article submits that the instances of incipient grammaticalization that are found in the later stages of Latin and that resulted in new grammatical forms in Romance, reflect a major linguistic innovation. While the new grammatical forms are created out of lexical or mildly grammatical autonomous elements, earlier processes seem to primarily involve particles with a certain semantic value and freezing. This fundamental difference explains why the attempts of early Indo-Europeanists such as Franz Bopp at tracing the lexical origins of Indo-European inflected forms were unsuccessful and strongly criticized by the Neo-Grammarians.
  • Beattie, G. W., Cutler, A., & Pearson, M. (1982). Why is Mrs Thatcher interrupted so often? [Letters to Nature]. Nature, 300, 744-747. doi:10.1038/300744a0.

    Abstract

    If a conversation is to proceed smoothly, the participants have to take turns to speak. Studies of conversation have shown that there are signals which speakers give to inform listeners that they are willing to hand over the conversational turn1−4. Some of these signals are part of the text (for example, completion of syntactic segments), some are non-verbal (such as completion of a gesture), but most are carried by the pitch, timing and intensity pattern of the speech; for example, both pitch and loudness tend to drop particularly low at the end of a speaker's turn. When one speaker interrupts another, the two can be said to be disputing who has the turn. Interruptions can occur because one participant tries to dominate or disrupt the conversation. But it could also be the case that mistakes occur in the way these subtle turn-yielding signals are transmitted and received. We demonstrate here that many interruptions in an interview with Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, occur at points where independent judges agree that her turn appears to have finished. It is suggested that she is unconsciously displaying turn-yielding cues at certain inappropriate points. The turn-yielding cues responsible are identified.
  • Becker, M., Devanna, P., Fisher, S. E., & Vernes, S. C. (2015). A chromosomal rearrangement in a child with severe speech and language disorder separates FOXP2 from a functional enhancer. Molecular Cytogenetics, 8: 69. doi:10.1186/s13039-015-0173-0.

    Abstract

    Mutations of FOXP2 in 7q31 cause a rare disorder involving speech apraxia, accompanied by expressive and receptive language impairments. A recent report described a child with speech and language deficits, and a genomic rearrangement affecting chromosomes 7 and 11. One breakpoint mapped to 7q31 and, although outside its coding region, was hypothesised to disrupt FOXP2 expression. We identified an element 2 kb downstream of this breakpoint with epigenetic characteristics of an enhancer. We show that this element drives reporter gene expression in human cell-lines. Thus, displacement of this element by translocation may disturb gene expression, contributing to the observed language phenotype.
  • Becker, M., Devanna, P., Fisher, S. E., & Vernes, S. C. (2018). Mapping of Human FOXP2 Enhancers Reveals Complex Regulation. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 11: 47. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2018.00047.

    Abstract

    Mutations of the FOXP2 gene cause a severe speech and language disorder, providing a molecular window into the neurobiology of language. Individuals with FOXP2 mutations have structural and functional alterations affecting brain circuits that overlap with sites of FOXP2 expression, including regions of the cortex, striatum, and cerebellum. FOXP2 displays complex patterns of expression in the brain, as well as in non-neuronal tissues, suggesting that sophisticated regulatory mechanisms control its spatio-temporal expression. However, to date, little is known about the regulation of FOXP2 or the genomic elements that control its expression. Using chromatin conformation capture (3C), we mapped the human FOXP2 locus to identify putative enhancer regions that engage in long-range interactions with the promoter of this gene. We demonstrate the ability of the identified enhancer regions to drive gene expression. We also show regulation of the FOXP2 promoter and enhancer regions by candidate regulators – FOXP family and TBR1 transcription factors. These data point to regulatory elements that may contribute to the temporal- or tissue-specific expression patterns of human FOXP2. Understanding the upstream regulatory pathways controlling FOXP2 expression will bring new insight into the molecular networks contributing to human language and related disorders.
  • Beckmann, N. S., Indefrey, P., & Petersen, W. (2018). Words count, but thoughts shift: A frame-based account to conceptual shifts in noun countability. Voprosy Kognitivnoy Lingvistiki (Issues of Cognitive Linguistics ), 2, 79-89. doi:10.20916/1812-3228-2018-2-79-89.

    Abstract

    The current paper proposes a frame-based account to conceptual shifts in the countability do-main. We interpret shifts in noun countability as syntactically driven metonymy. Inserting a noun in an incongruent noun phrase, that is combining it with a determiner of the other countability class, gives rise to a re-interpretation of the noun referent. We assume lexical entries to be three-fold frame com-plexes connecting conceptual knowledge representations with language-specific form representations via a lemma level. Empirical data from a lexical decision experiment are presented, that support the as-sumption of such a lemma level connecting perceptual input of linguistic signs to conceptual knowledge.
  • Belke, E., & Meyer, A. S. (2007). Single and multiple object naming in healthy ageing. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22, 1178-1211. doi:10.1080/01690960701461541.

    Abstract

    We compared the performance of young (college-aged) and older (50+years) speakers in a single object and a multiple object naming task and assessed their susceptibility to semantic and phonological context effects when producing words amidst semantically or phonologically similar or dissimilar words. In single object naming, there were no performance differences between the age groups. In multiple object naming, we observed significant age-related slowing, expressed in longer gazes to the objects and slower speech. In addition, the direction of the phonological context effects differed for the two groups. The results of a supplementary experiment showed that young speakers, when adopting a slow speech rate, coordinated their eye movements and speech differently from the older speakers. Our results imply that age-related slowing in connected speech is not a direct consequence of a slowing of lexical retrieval processes. Instead, older speakers might allocate more processing capacity to speech monitoring processes, which would slow down their concurrent speech planning processes

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  • Belpaeme, T., Vogt, P., Van den Berghe, R., Bergmann, K., Göksun, T., De Haas, M., Kanero, J., Kennedy, J., Küntay, A. C., Oudgenoeg-Paz, O., Papadopoulos, F., Schodde, T., Verhagen, J., Wallbridge, C. D., Willemsen, B., De Wit, J., Geçkin, V., Hoffmann, L., Kopp, S., Krahmer, E. and 4 moreBelpaeme, T., Vogt, P., Van den Berghe, R., Bergmann, K., Göksun, T., De Haas, M., Kanero, J., Kennedy, J., Küntay, A. C., Oudgenoeg-Paz, O., Papadopoulos, F., Schodde, T., Verhagen, J., Wallbridge, C. D., Willemsen, B., De Wit, J., Geçkin, V., Hoffmann, L., Kopp, S., Krahmer, E., Mamus, E., Montanier, J.-M., Oranç, C., & Pandey, A. K. (2018). Guidelines for designing social robots as second language tutors. International Journal of Social Robotics, 10(3), 325-341. doi:10.1007/s12369-018-0467-6.

    Abstract

    In recent years, it has been suggested that social robots have potential as tutors and educators for both children and adults. While robots have been shown to be effective in teaching knowledge and skill-based topics, we wish to explore how social robots can be used to tutor a second language to young children. As language learning relies on situated, grounded and social learning, in which interaction and repeated practice are central, social robots hold promise as educational tools for supporting second language learning. This paper surveys the developmental psychology of second language learning and suggests an agenda to study how core concepts of second language learning can be taught by a social robot. It suggests guidelines for designing robot tutors based on observations of second language learning in human–human scenarios, various technical aspects and early studies regarding the effectiveness of social robots as second language tutors.
  • Benítez-Burraco, A., & Dediu, D. (2018). Ancient DNA and language evolution: A special section. Journal of Language Evolution, 3(1), 47-48. doi:10.1093/jole/lzx024.
  • Bentz, C., Dediu, D., Verkerk, A., & Jäger, G. (2018). The evolution of language families is shaped by the environment beyond neutral drift. Nature Human Behaviour, 2, 816-821. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0457-6.

    Abstract

    There are more than 7,000 languages spoken in the world today1. It has been argued that the natural and social environment of languages drives this diversity. However, a fundamental question is how strong are environmental pressures, and does neutral drift suffice as a mechanism to explain diversification? We estimate the phylogenetic signals of geographic dimensions, distance to water, climate and population size on more than 6,000 phylogenetic trees of 46 language families. Phylogenetic signals of environmental factors are generally stronger than expected under the null hypothesis of no relationship with the shape of family trees. Importantly, they are also—in most cases—not compatible with neutral drift models of constant-rate change across the family tree branches. Our results suggest that language diversification is driven by further adaptive and non-adaptive pressures. Language diversity cannot be understood without modelling the pressures that physical, ecological and social factors exert on language users in different environments across the globe.
  • Berghuis, B., De Kovel, C. G. F., van Iterson, L., Lamberts, R. J., Sander, J. W., Lindhout, D., & Koeleman, B. P. C. (2015). Complex SCN8A DNA-abnormalities in an individual with therapy resistant absence epilepsy. Epilepsy Research, 115, 141-144. doi:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2015.06.007.

    Abstract

    Background De novo SCN8A missense mutations have been identified as a rare dominant cause of epileptic encephalopathy. We described a person with epileptic encephalopathy associated with a mosaic deletion of the SCN8A gene. Methods Array comparative genome hybridization was used to identify chromosomal abnormalities. Next Generation Sequencing was used to screen for variants in known and candidate epilepsy genes. A single nucleotide polymorphism array was used to test whether the SCN8A variants were in cis or in trans. Results We identified a de novo mosaic deletion of exons 2–14 of SCN8A, and a rare maternally inherited missense variant on the other allele in a woman presenting with absence seizures, challenging behavior, intellectual disability and QRS-fragmentation on the ECG. We also found a variant in SCN5A. Conclusions The combination of a rare missense variant with a de novo mosaic deletion of a large part of the SCN8A gene suggests that other possible mechanisms for SCN8A mutations may cause epilepsy; loss of function, genetic modifiers and cellular interference may play a role. This case expands the phenotype associated with SCN8A mutations, with absence epilepsy and regression in language and memory skills.
  • Bergmann, C., & Cristia, A. (2018). Environmental influences on infants’ native vowel discrimination: The case of talker number in daily life. Infancy, 23(4), 484-501. doi:10.1111/infa.12232.

    Abstract

    Both quality and quantity of speech from the primary caregiver have been found to impact language development. A third aspect of the input has been largely ignored: the number of talkers who provide input. Some infants spend most of their waking time with only one person; others hear many different talkers. Even if the very same words are spoken the same number of times, the pronunciations can be more variable when several talkers pronounce them. Is language acquisition affected by the number of people who provide input? To shed light on the possible link between how many people provide input in daily life and infants’ native vowel discrimination, three age groups were tested: 4-month-olds (before attunement to native vowels), 6-month-olds (at the cusp of native vowel attunement) and 12-month-olds (well attuned to the native vowel system). No relationship was found between talker number and native vowel discrimination skills in 4- and 6-month-olds, who are overall able to discriminate the vowel contrast. At 12 months, we observe a small positive relationship, but further analyses reveal that the data are also compatible with the null hypothesis of no relationship. Implications in the context of infant language acquisition and cognitive development are discussed.
  • Bergmann, C., Tsuji, S., Piccinini, P. E., Lewis, M. L., Braginsky, M. B., Frank, M. C., & Cristia, A. (2018). Promoting replicability in developmental research through meta-analyses: Insights from language acquisition research. Child Development, 89(6), 1996-2009. doi:10.1111/cdev.13079.

    Abstract

    Previous work suggests key factors for replicability, a necessary feature for theory building, include statistical power and appropriate research planning. These factors are examined by analyzing a collection of 12 standardized meta-analyses on language development between birth and 5 years. With a median effect size of Cohen's d= 0.45 and typical sample size of 18 participants, most research is underpowered (range: 6%-99%; median 44%); and calculating power based on seminal publications is not a suitable strategy. Method choice can be improved, as shown in analyses on exclusion rates and effect size as a function of method. The article ends with a discussion on how to increase replicability in both language acquisition studies specifically and developmental research more generally.
  • Bergmann, C., Bosch, L. t., Fikkert, P., & Boves, L. (2015). Modelling the Noise-Robustness of Infants’ Word Representations: The Impact of Previous Experience. PLoS One, 10(7): e0132245. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132245.

    Abstract

    During language acquisition, infants frequently encounter ambient noise. We present a computational model to address whether specific acoustic processing abilities are necessary to detect known words in moderate noise—an ability attested experimentally in infants. The model implements a general purpose speech encoding and word detection procedure. Importantly, the model contains no dedicated processes for removing or cancelling out ambient noise, and it can replicate the patterns of results obtained in several infant experiments. In addition to noise, we also addressed the role of previous experience with particular target words: does the frequency of a word matter, and does it play a role whether that word has been spoken by one or multiple speakers? The simulation results show that both factors affect noise robustness. We also investigated how robust word detection is to changes in speaker identity by comparing words spoken by known versus unknown speakers during the simulated test. This factor interacted with both noise level and past experience, showing that an increase in exposure is only helpful when a familiar speaker provides the test material. Added variability proved helpful only when encountering an unknown speaker. Finally, we addressed whether infants need to recognise specific words, or whether a more parsimonious explanation of infant behaviour, which we refer to as matching, is sufficient. Recognition involves a focus of attention on a specific target word, while matching only requires finding the best correspondence of acoustic input to a known pattern in the memory. Attending to a specific target word proves to be more noise robust, but a general word matching procedure can be sufficient to simulate experimental data stemming from young infants. A change from acoustic matching to targeted recognition provides an explanation of the improvements observed in infants around their first birthday. In summary, we present a computational model incorporating only the processes infants might employ when hearing words in noise. Our findings show that a parsimonious interpretation of behaviour is sufficient and we offer a formal account of emerging abilities.
  • Berkers, R. M. W. J., Ekman, M., van Dongen, E. V., Takashima, A., Barth, M., Paller, K. A., & Fernández, G. (2018). Cued reactivation during slow-wave sleep induces brain connectivity changes related to memory stabilization. Scientific Reports, 8: 16958. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35287-6.

    Abstract

    Memory reprocessing following acquisition enhances memory consolidation. Specifically, neural activity during encoding is thought to be ‘replayed’ during subsequent slow-wave sleep. Such memory replay is thought to contribute to the functional reorganization of neural memory traces. In particular, memory replay may facilitate the exchange of information across brain regions by inducing a reconfiguration of connectivity across the brain. Memory reactivation can be induced by external cues through a procedure known as “targeted memory reactivation”. Here, we analysed data from a published study with auditory cues used to reactivate visual object-location memories during slow-wave sleep. We characterized effects of memory reactivation on brain network connectivity using graph-theory. We found that cue presentation during slow-wave sleep increased global network integration of occipital cortex, a visual region that was also active during retrieval of object locations. Although cueing did not have an overall beneficial effect on the retention of cued versus uncued associations, individual differences in overnight memory stabilization were related to enhanced network integration of occipital cortex. Furthermore, occipital cortex displayed enhanced connectivity with mnemonic regions, namely the hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, thalamus and medial prefrontal cortex during cue sound presentation. Together, these results suggest a neural mechanism where cue-induced replay during sleep increases integration of task-relevant perceptual regions with mnemonic regions. This cross-regional integration may be instrumental for the consolidation and long-term storage of enduring memories.

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  • Bierwisch, M. (1997). Universal Grammar and the Basic Variety. Second Language Research, 13(4), 348-366. doi:10.1177/026765839701300403.

    Abstract

    The Basic Variety (BV) as conceived by Klein and Perdue (K&P) is a relatively stable state in the process of spontaneous (adult) second language acquisition, characterized by a small set of phrasal, semantic and pragmatic principles. These principles are derived by inductive generalization from a fairly large body of data. They are considered by K&P as roughly equivalent to those of Universal Grammar (UG) in the sense of Chomsky's Minimalist Program, with the proviso that the BV allows for only weak (or unmarked) formal features. The present article first discusses the viability of the BV principles proposed by K&P, arguing that some of them are in need of clarification with learner varieties, and that they are, in any case, not likely to be part of UG, as they exclude phenomena (e.g., so-called psych verbs) that cannot be ruled out even from the core of natural language. The article also considers the proposal that learner varieties of the BV type are completely unmarked instantiations of UG. Putting aside problems arising from the Minimalist Program, especially the question whether a grammar with only weak features would be a factual possibility and what it would look like, it is argued that the BV as characterized by K&P must be considered as the result of a process that crucially differs from first language acquisition as furnished by UG for a number of reasons, including properties of the BV itself. As a matter of fact, several of the properties claimed for the BV by K&P are more likely the result of general learning strategies than of language-specific principles. If this is correct, the characterization of the BV is a fairly interesting result, albeit of a rather different type than K&P suggest.
  • Blackwell, N. L., Perlman, M., & Fox Tree, J. E. (2015). Quotation as a multimodal construction. Journal of Pragmatics, 81, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2015.03.004.

    Abstract

    Quotations are a means to report a broad range of events in addition to speech, and often involve both vocal and bodily demonstration. The present study examined the use of quotation to report a variety of multisensory events (i.e., containing salient visible and audible elements) as participants watched and then described a set of video clips including human speech and animal vocalizations. We examined the relationship between demonstrations conveyed through the vocal versus bodily modality, comparing them across four common quotation devices (be like, go, say, and zero quotatives), as well as across direct and non-direct quotations and retellings. We found that direct quotations involved high levels of both vocal and bodily demonstration, while non-direct quotations involved lower levels in both these channels. In addition, there was a strong positive correlation between vocal and bodily demonstration for direct quotation. This result supports a Multimodal Hypothesis where information from the two channels arises from one central concept.
  • Blythe, J. (2015). Other-initiated repair in Murrinh-Patha. Open Linguistics, 1, 283-308. doi:10.1515/opli-2015-0003.

    Abstract

    The range of linguistic structures and interactional practices associated with other-initiated repair (OIR) is surveyed for the Northern Australian language Murrinh-Patha. By drawing on a video corpus of informal Murrinh- Patha conversation, the OIR formats are compared in terms of their utility and versatility. Certain “restricted” formats have semantic properties that point to prior trouble source items. While these make the restricted repair initiators more specialised, the “open” formats are less well resourced semantically, which makes them more versatile. They tend to be used when the prior talk is potentially problematic in more ways than one. The open formats (especially thangku, “what?”) tend to solicit repair operations on each potential source of trouble, such that the resultant repair solution improves upon the troublesource turn in several ways
  • De Boer, B., & Thompson, B. (2018). Biology-culture co-evolution in finite populations. Scientific Reports, 8: 1209. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18928-0.

    Abstract

    Language is the result of two concurrent evolutionary processes: Biological and cultural inheritance. An influential evolutionary hypothesis known as the moving target problem implies inherent limitations on the interactions between our two inheritance streams that result from a difference in pace: The speed of cultural evolution is thought to rule out cognitive adaptation to culturally evolving aspects of language. We examine this hypothesis formally by casting it as as a problem of adaptation in time-varying environments. We present a mathematical model of biology-culture co-evolution in finite populations: A generalisation of the Moran process, treating co-evolution as coupled non-independent Markov processes, providing a general formulation of the moving target hypothesis in precise probabilistic terms. Rapidly varying culture decreases the probability of biological adaptation. However, we show that this effect declines with population size and with stronger links between biology and culture: In realistically sized finite populations, stochastic effects can carry cognitive specialisations to fixation in the face of variable culture, especially if the effects of those specialisations are amplified through cultural evolution. These results support the view that language arises from interactions between our two major inheritance streams, rather than from one primary evolutionary process that dominates another. © 2018 The Author(s).

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    41598_2017_18928_MOESM1_ESM.pdf
  • Bögels, S., Barr, D., Garrod, S., & Kessler, K. (2015). Conversational interaction in the scanner: Mentalizing during language processing as revealed by MEG. Cerebral Cortex, 25(9), 3219-3234. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu116.

    Abstract

    Humans are especially good at taking another’s perspective — representing what others might be thinking or experiencing. This “mentalizing” capacity is apparent in everyday human interactions and conversations. We investigated its neural basis using magnetoencephalography. We focused on whether mentalizing was engaged spontaneously and routinely to understand an utterance’s meaning or largely on-demand, to restore "common ground" when expectations were violated. Participants conversed with 1 of 2 confederate speakers and established tacit agreements about objects’ names. In a subsequent “test” phase, some of these agreements were violated by either the same or a different speaker. Our analysis of the neural processing of test phase utterances revealed recruitment of neural circuits associated with language (temporal cortex), episodic memory (e.g., medial temporal lobe), and mentalizing (temporo-parietal junction and ventro-medial prefrontal cortex). Theta oscillations (3 - 7 Hz) were modulated most prominently, and we observed phase coupling between functionally distinct neural circuits. The episodic memory and language circuits were recruited in anticipation of upcoming referring expressions, suggesting that context-sensitive predictions were spontaneously generated. In contrast, the mentalizing areas were recruited on-demand, as a means for detecting and resolving perceived pragmatic anomalies, with little evidence they were activated to make partner-specific predictions about upcoming linguistic utterances.
  • Bögels, S., & Torreira, F. (2015). Listeners use intonational phrase boundaries to project turn ends in spoken interaction. Journal of phonetics, 52, 46-57. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2015.04.004.

    Abstract

    In conversation, turn transitions between speakers often occur smoothly, usually within a time window of a few hundred milliseconds. It has been argued, on the basis of a button-press experiment [De Ruiter, J. P., Mitterer, H., & Enfield, N. J. (2006). Projecting the end of a speaker's turn: A cognitive cornerstone of conversation. Language, 82(3):515–535], that participants in conversation rely mainly on lexico-syntactic information when timing and producing their turns, and that they do not need to make use of intonational cues to achieve smooth transitions and avoid overlaps. In contrast to this view, but in line with previous observational studies, our results from a dialogue task and a button-press task involving questions and answers indicate that the identification of the end of intonational phrases is necessary for smooth turn-taking. In both tasks, participants never responded to questions (i.e., gave an answer or pressed a button to indicate a turn end) at turn-internal points of syntactic completion in the absence of an intonational phrase boundary. Moreover, in the button-press task, they often pressed the button at the same point of syntactic completion when the final word of an intonational phrase was cross-spliced at that location. Furthermore, truncated stimuli ending in a syntactic completion point but lacking an intonational phrase boundary led to significantly delayed button presses. In light of these results, we argue that earlier claims that intonation is not necessary for correct turn-end projection are misguided, and that research on turn-taking should continue to consider intonation as a source of turn-end cues along with other linguistic and communicative phenomena.
  • Bögels, S., Magyari, L., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). Neural signatures of response planning occur midway through an incoming question in conversation. Scientific Reports, 5: 12881. doi:10.1038/srep12881.

    Abstract

    A striking puzzle about language use in everyday conversation is that turn-taking latencies are usually very short, whereas planning language production takes much longer. This implies overlap between language comprehension and production processes, but the nature and extent of such overlap has never been studied directly. Combining an interactive quiz paradigm with EEG measurements in an innovative way, we show that production planning processes start as soon as possible, that is, within half a second after the answer to a question can be retrieved (up to several seconds before the end of the question). Localization of ERP data shows early activation even of brain areas related to late stages of production planning (e.g., syllabification). Finally, oscillation results suggest an attention switch from comprehension to production around the same time frame. This perspective from interactive language use throws new light on the performance characteristics that language competence involves.
  • Bögels, S., Kendrick, K. H., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). Never say no… How the brain interprets the pregnant pause in conversation. PLoS One, 10(12): e0145474. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0145474.

    Abstract

    In conversation, negative responses to invitations, requests, offers, and the like are more likely to occur with a delay – conversation analysts talk of them as dispreferred. Here we examine the contrastive cognitive load ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses make, either when relatively fast (300 ms after question offset) or delayed (1000 ms). Participants heard short dialogues contrasting in speed and valence of response while having their EEG recorded. We found that a fast ‘no’ evokes an N400-effect relative to a fast ‘yes’; however this contrast disappeared in the delayed responses. 'No' responses however elicited a late frontal positivity both if they were fast and if they were delayed. We interpret these results as follows: a fast ‘no’ evoked an N400 because an immediate response is expected to be positive – this effect disappears as the response time lengthens because now in ordinary conversation the probability of a ‘no’ has increased. However, regardless of the latency of response, a ‘no’ response is associated with a late positivity, since a negative response is always dispreferred. Together these results show that negative responses to social actions exact a higher cognitive load, but especially when least expected, in immediate response.

    Additional information

    Data availability
  • Bögels, S., Casillas, M., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Planning versus comprehension in turn-taking: Fast responders show reduced anticipatory processing of the question. Neuropsychologia, 109, 295-310. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.12.028.

    Abstract

    Rapid response latencies in conversation suggest that responders start planning before the ongoing turn is finished. Indeed, an earlier EEG study suggests that listeners start planning their responses to questions as soon as they can (Bögels, S., Magyari, L., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). Neural signatures of response planning occur midway through an incoming question in conversation. Scientific Reports, 5, 12881). The present study aimed to (1) replicate this early planning effect and (2) investigate whether such early response planning incurs a cost on participants’ concurrent comprehension of the ongoing turn. During the experiment participants answered questions from a confederate partner. To address aim (1), the questions were designed such that response planning could start either early or late in the turn. Our results largely replicate Bögels et al. (2015) showing a large positive ERP effect and an oscillatory alpha/beta reduction right after participants could have first started planning their verbal response, again suggesting an early start of response planning. To address aim (2), the confederate's questions also contained either an expected word or an unexpected one to elicit a differential N400 effect, either before or after the start of response planning. We hypothesized an attenuated N400 effect after response planning had started. In contrast, the N400 effects before and after planning did not differ. There was, however, a positive correlation between participants' response time and their N400 effect size after planning had started; quick responders showed a smaller N400 effect, suggesting reduced attention to comprehension and possibly reduced anticipatory processing. We conclude that early response planning can indeed impact comprehension processing.

    Additional information

    mmc1.pdf
  • Bohnemeyer, J., Enfield, N. J., Essegbey, J., Ibarretxe-Antuñano, I., Kita, S., Lüpke, F., & Ameka, F. K. (2007). Principles of event segmentation in language: The case of motion events. Language, 83(3), 495-532. doi:10.1353/lan.2007.0116.

    Abstract

    We examine universals and crosslinguistic variation in constraints on event segmentation. Previous typological studies have focused on segmentation into syntactic (Pawley 1987) or intonational units (Givón 1991). We argue that the correlation between such units and semantic/conceptual event representations is language-specific. As an alternative, we introduce the MACRO-EVENT PROPERTY (MEP): a construction has the MEP if it packages event representations such that temporal operators necessarily have scope over all subevents. A case study on the segmentation of motion events into macro-event expressions in eighteen genetically and typologically diverse languages has produced evidence of two types of design principles that impact motion-event segmentation: language-specific lexicalization patterns and universal constraints on form-to-meaning mapping.
  • Bohnemeyer, J., & Brown, P. (2007). Standing divided: Dispositional verbs and locative predications in two Mayan languages. Linguistics, 45(5), 1105-1151. doi:0.1515/LING.2007.033.

    Abstract

    The Mayan languages Tzeltal and Yucatec have large form classes of “dispositional” roots which lexicalize spatial properties such as orientation, support/suspension/blockage of motion, and configurations of parts of an entity with respect to other parts. But speakers of the two languages deploy this common lexical resource quite differently. The roots are used in both languages to convey dispositional information (e.g., answering “how” questions), but Tzeltal speakers also use them in canonical locative descriptions (e.g., answering “where” questions), whereas Yucatec speakers only use dispositionals in locative predications when prompted by the context to focus on dispositional properties. We describe the constructions used in locative and dispositional descriptions in response to two different picture stimuli sets. Evidence against the proposal that Tzeltal uses dispositionals to compensate for its single, semantically generic preposition (Brown 1994; Grinevald 2006) comes from the finding that Tzeltal speakers use relational spatial nominals in the “Ground phrase” — the expression of the place at which an entity is located — about as frequently as Yucatec speakers. We consider several alternative hypotheses, including a possible larger typological difference that leads Tzeltal speakers, but not Yucatec speakers, to prefer “theme-specific” verbs not just in locative predications, but in any predication involving a theme argument.
  • Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., Alday, P. M., Kretzschmar, F., Grewe, T., Gumpert, M., Schumacher, P. B., & Schlesewsky, M. (2015). Age-related changes in predictive capacity versus internal model adaptability: Electrophysiological evidence that individual differences outweigh effects of age. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 7: 217. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00217.

    Abstract

    Hierarchical predictive coding has been identified as a possible unifying principle of brain function, and recent work in cognitive neuroscience has examined how it may be affected by age–related changes. Using language comprehension as a test case, the present study aimed to dissociate age-related changes in prediction generation versus internal model adaptation following a prediction error. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were measured in a group of older adults (60–81 years; n = 40) as they read sentences of the form “The opposite of black is white/yellow/nice.” Replicating previous work in young adults, results showed a target-related P300 for the expected antonym (“white”; an effect assumed to reflect a prediction match), and a graded N400 effect for the two incongruous conditions (i.e. a larger N400 amplitude for the incongruous continuation not related to the expected antonym, “nice,” versus the incongruous associated condition, “yellow”). These effects were followed by a late positivity, again with a larger amplitude in the incongruous non-associated versus incongruous associated condition. Analyses using linear mixed-effects models showed that the target-related P300 effect and the N400 effect for the incongruous non-associated condition were both modulated by age, thus suggesting that age-related changes affect both prediction generation and model adaptation. However, effects of age were outweighed by the interindividual variability of ERP responses, as reflected in the high proportion of variance captured by the inclusion of by-condition random slopes for participants and items. We thus argue that – at both a neurophysiological and a functional level – the notion of general differences between language processing in young and older adults may only be of limited use, and that future research should seek to better understand the causes of interindividual variability in the ERP responses of older adults and its relation to cognitive performance.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Ghitza, O. (2018). Entrained theta oscillations guide perception of subsequent speech: Behavioral evidence from rate normalization. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 33(8), 955-967. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1439179.

    Abstract

    This psychoacoustic study provides behavioral evidence that neural entrainment in the theta range (3-9 Hz) causally shapes speech perception. Adopting the ‘rate normalization’ paradigm (presenting compressed carrier sentences followed by uncompressed target words), we show that uniform compression of a speech carrier to syllable rates inside the theta range influences perception of subsequent uncompressed targets, but compression outside theta range does not. However, the influence of carriers – compressed outside theta range – on target perception is salvaged when carriers are ‘repackaged’ to have a packet rate inside theta. This suggests that the brain can only successfully entrain to syllable/packet rates within theta range, with a causal influence on the perception of subsequent speech, in line with recent neuroimaging data. Thus, this study points to a central role for sustained theta entrainment in rate normalization and contributes to our understanding of the functional role of brain oscillations in speech perception.
  • Bosker, H. R. (2018). Putting Laurel and Yanny in context. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(6), EL503-EL508. doi:10.1121/1.5070144.

    Abstract

    Recently, the world’s attention was caught by an audio clip that was perceived as “Laurel” or “Yanny”. Opinions were sharply split: many could not believe others heard something different from their perception. However, a crowd-source experiment with >500 participants shows that it is possible to make people hear Laurel, where they previously heard Yanny, by manipulating preceding acoustic context. This study is not only the first to reveal within-listener variation in Laurel/Yanny percepts, but also to demonstrate contrast effects for global spectral information in larger frequency regions. Thus, it highlights the intricacies of human perception underlying these social media phenomena.
  • Bosker, H. R., & Cooke, M. (2018). Talkers produce more pronounced amplitude modulations when speaking in noise. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 143(2), EL121-EL126. doi:10.1121/1.5024404.

    Abstract

    Speakers adjust their voice when talking in noise (known as Lombard speech), facilitating speech comprehension. Recent neurobiological models of speech perception emphasize the role of amplitude modulations in speech-in-noise comprehension, helping neural oscillators to ‘track’ the attended speech. This study tested whether talkers produce more pronounced amplitude modulations in noise. Across four different corpora, modulation spectra showed greater power in amplitude modulations below 4 Hz in Lombard speech compared to matching plain speech. This suggests that noise-induced speech contains more pronounced amplitude modulations, potentially helping the listening brain to entrain to the attended talker, aiding comprehension.
  • Böttner, M. (1998). A collective extension of relational grammar. Logic Journal of the IGPL, 6(2), 175-793. doi:10.1093/jigpal/6.2.175.

    Abstract

    Relational grammar was proposed in Suppes (1976) as a semantical grammar for natural language. Fragments considered so far are restricted to distributive notions. In this article, relational grammar is extended to collective notions.
  • Bowerman, M. (1973). [Review of Lois Bloom, Language development: Form and function in emerging grammars (MIT Press 1970)]. American Scientist, 61(3), 369-370.
  • Bowerman, M. (1982). Evaluating competing linguistic models with language acquisition data: Implications of developmental errors with causative verbs. Quaderni di semantica, 3, 5-66.
  • Li, P., & Bowerman, M. (1998). The acquisition of lexical and grammatical aspect in Chinese. First Language, 18, 311-350. doi:10.1177/014272379801805404.

    Abstract

    This study reports three experiments on how children learning Mandarin Chinese comprehend and use aspect markers. These experiments examine the role of lexical aspect in children's acquisition of grammatical aspect. Results provide converging evidence for children's early sensitivity to (1) the association between atelic verbs and the imperfective aspect markers zai, -zhe, and -ne, and (2) the association between telic verbs and the perfective aspect marker -le. Children did not show a sensitivity in their use or understanding of aspect markers to the difference between stative and activity verbs or between semelfactive and activity verbs. These results are consistent with Slobin's (1985) basic child grammar hypothesis that the contrast between process and result is important in children's early acquisition of temporal morphology. In contrast, they are inconsistent with Bickerton's (1981, 1984) language bioprogram hypothesis that the distinctions between state and process and between punctual and nonpunctual are preprogrammed into language learners. We suggest new ways of looking at the results in the light of recent probabilistic hypotheses that emphasize the role of input, prototypes and connectionist representations.
  • Bramão, I., Mendonça, A., Faísca, L., Ingvar, M., Petersson, K. M., & Reis, A. (2007). The impact of reading and writing skills on a visuo-motor integration task: A comparison between illiterate and literate subjects. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 13(2), 359-364. doi:10.1017/S1355617707070440.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have shown a significant association between reading skills and the performance on visuo-motor tasks. In order to clarify whether reading and writing skills modulate non-linguistic domains, we investigated the performance of two literacy groups on a visuo-motor integration task with non-linguistic stimuli. Twenty-one illiterate participants and twenty matched literate controls were included in the experiment. Subjects were instructed to use the right or the left index finger to point to and touch a randomly presented target on the right or left side of a touch screen. The results showed that the literate subjects were significantly faster in detecting and touching targets on the left compared to the right side of the screen. In contrast, the presentation side did not affect the performance of the illiterate group. These results lend support to the idea that having acquired reading and writing skills, and thus a preferred left-to-right reading direction, influences visual scanning. (JINS, 2007, 13, 359–364
  • Brand, S., & Ernestus, M. (2018). Listeners’ processing of a given reduced word pronunciation variant directly reflects their exposure to this variant: evidence from native listeners and learners of French. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(5), 1240-1259. doi:10.1080/17470218.2017.1313282.

    Abstract

    n casual conversations, words often lack segments. This study investigates whether listeners rely on their experience with reduced word pronunciation variants during the processing of single segment reduction. We tested three groups of listeners in a lexical decision experiment with French words produced either with or without word-medial schwa (e.g., /ʀəvy/ and /ʀvy/ for revue). Participants also rated the relative frequencies of the two pronunciation variants of the words. If the recognition accuracy and reaction times for a given listener group correlate best with the frequencies of occurrence holding for that given listener group, recognition is influenced by listeners’ exposure to these variants. Native listeners' relative frequency ratings correlated well with their accuracy scores and RTs. Dutch advanced learners' accuracy scores and RTs were best predicted by their own ratings. In contrast, the accuracy and RTs from Dutch beginner learners of French could not be predicted by any relative frequency rating; the rating task was probably too difficult for them. The participant groups showed behaviour reflecting their difference in experience with the pronunciation variants. Our results strongly suggest that listeners store the frequencies of occurrence of pronunciation variants, and consequently the variants themselves
  • Brand, J., Monaghan, P., & Walker, P. (2018). The changing role of sound‐symbolism for small versus large vocabularies. Cognitive Science, 42(S2), 578-590. doi:10.1111/cogs.12565.

    Abstract

    Natural language contains many examples of sound‐symbolism, where the form of the word carries information about its meaning. Such systematicity is more prevalent in the words children acquire first, but arbitrariness dominates during later vocabulary development. Furthermore, systematicity appears to promote learning category distinctions, which may become more important as the vocabulary grows. In this study, we tested the relative costs and benefits of sound‐symbolism for word learning as vocabulary size varies. Participants learned form‐meaning mappings for words which were either congruent or incongruent with regard to sound‐symbolic relations. For the smaller vocabulary, sound‐symbolism facilitated learning individual words, whereas for larger vocabularies sound‐symbolism supported learning category distinctions. The changing properties of form‐meaning mappings according to vocabulary size may reflect the different ways in which language is learned at different stages of development.

    Additional information

    https://git.io/v5BXJ
  • Brascamp, J., Klink, P., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2015). The ‘laws’ of binocular rivalry: 50 years of Levelt’s propositions. Vision Research, 109, 20-37. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2015.02.019.

    Abstract

    It has been fifty years since Levelt’s monograph On Binocular Rivalry (1965) was published, but its four propositions that describe the relation between stimulus strength and the phenomenology of binocular rivalry remain a benchmark for theorists and experimentalists even today. In this review, we will revisit the original conception of the four propositions and the scientific landscape in which this happened. We will also provide a brief update concerning distributions of dominance durations, another aspect of Levelt’s monograph that has maintained a prominent presence in the field. In a critical evaluation of Levelt’s propositions against current knowledge of binocular rivalry we will then demonstrate that the original propositions are not completely compatible with what is known today, but that they can, in a straightforward way, be modified to encapsulate the progress that has been made over the past fifty years. The resulting modified, propositions are shown to apply to a broad range of bistable perceptual phenomena, not just binocular rivalry, and they allow important inferences about the underlying neural systems. We argue that these inferences reflect canonical neural properties that play a role in visual perception in general, and we discuss ways in which future research can build on the work reviewed here to attain a better understanding of these properties
  • De Bree, E., Janse, E., & Van de Zande, A. M. (2007). Stress assignment in aphasia: Word and non-word reading and non-word repetition. Brain and Language, 103, 264-275. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2007.07.003.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates stress assignment in Dutch aphasic patients in non-word repetition, as well as in real-word and non-word reading. Performance on the non-word reading task was similar for the aphasic patients and the control group, as mainly regular stress was assigned to the targets. However, there were group differences on the real-word reading and non-word repetition tasks. Unlike the non-brain-damaged group, the patients showed a strong regularization tendency in their repetition of irregular patterns. The patients’ stress error patterns suggest an impairment in retention or retrieval of targets with irregular stress patterns. Limited verbal short-term memory is proposed as a possible underlying cause for the stress difficulties.
  • Brouwer, S., & Bradlow, A. R. (2015). The temporal dynamics of spoken word recognition in adverse listening conditions. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1007/s10936-015-9396-9.

    Abstract

    This study examined the temporal dynamics of spoken word recognition in noise and background speech. In two visual-world experiments, English participants listened to target words while looking at four pictures on the screen: a target (e.g. candle), an onset competitor (e.g. candy), a rhyme competitor (e.g. sandal), and an unrelated distractor (e.g. lemon). Target words were presented in quiet, mixed with broadband noise, or mixed with background speech. Results showed that lexical competition changes throughout the observation window as a function of what is presented in the background. These findings suggest that, rather than being strictly sequential, stream segregation and lexical competition interact during spoken word recognition
  • Brown, P. (2007). 'She had just cut/broken off her head': Cutting and breaking verbs in Tzeltal. Cognitive Linguistics, 18(2), 319-330. doi:10.1515/COG.2007.019.

    Abstract

    This paper describes the lexical resources for expressing events of cutting and breaking (C&B hereafter) in the Mayan language Tzeltal. This notional set of verbs is not a class in any grammatical sense; C&B verbs are formally undistinguishable from many other transitive state-change verbs. But they nicely reveal the characteristic specificity of Tzeltal verb semantics: C&B actions are finely differentiated according to the spatial and textural properties of the theme object, with no superordinate term meaning 'either cut in general' or 'break in general'. The paper characterizes the semantics of these verbs and shows that in the great majority of cases it does not predict their argument structure.
  • Brown, P. (1998). [Review of the book by A.J. Wootton, Interaction and the development of mind]. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 4(4), 816-817.
  • Brown, P. (1998). Children's first verbs in Tzeltal: Evidence for an early verb category. Linguistics, 36(4), 713-753.

    Abstract

    A major finding in studies of early vocabulary acquisition has been that children tend to learn a lot of nouns early but make do with relatively few verbs, among which semantically general-purpose verbs like do, make, get, have, give, come, go, and be play a prominent role. The preponderance of nouns is explained in terms of nouns labelling concrete objects beings “easier” to learn than verbs, which label relational categories. Nouns label “natural categories” observable in the world, verbs label more linguistically and culturally specific categories of events linking objects belonging to such natural categories (Gentner 1978, 1982; Clark 1993). This view has been challenged recently by data from children learning certain non-Indo-European languges like Korean, where children have an early verb explosion and verbs dominate in early child utterances. Children learning the Mayan language Tzeltal also acquire verbs early, prior to any noun explosion as measured by production. Verb types are roughly equivalent to noun types in children’s beginning production vocabulary and soon outnumber them. At the one-word stage children’s verbs mostly have the form of a root stripped of affixes, correctly segmented despite structural difficulties. Quite early (before the MLU 2.0 point) there is evidence of productivity of some grammatical markers (although they are not always present): the person-marking affixes cross-referencing core arguments, and the completive/incompletive aspectual distinctions. The Tzeltal facts argue against a natural-categories explanation for childre’s early vocabulary, in favor of a view emphasizing the early effects of language-specific properties of the input. They suggest that when and how a child acquires a “verb” category is centrally influenced by the structural properties of the input, and that the semantic structure of the language - where the referential load is concentrated - plays a fundamental role in addition to distributional facts.
  • Brown, P. (1998). Conversational structure and language acquisition: The role of repetition in Tzeltal adult and child speech. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 8(2), 197-221. doi:10.1525/jlin.1998.8.2.197.

    Abstract

    When Tzeltal children in the Mayan community of Tenejapa, in southern Mexico, begin speaking, their production vocabulary consists predominantly of verb roots, in contrast to the dominance of nouns in the initial vocabulary of first‐language learners of Indo‐European languages. This article proposes that a particular Tzeltal conversational feature—known in the Mayanist literature as "dialogic repetition"—provides a context that facilitates the early analysis and use of verbs. Although Tzeltal babies are not treated by adults as genuine interlocutors worthy of sustained interaction, dialogic repetition in the speech the children are exposed to may have an important role in revealing to them the structural properties of the language, as well as in socializing the collaborative style of verbal interaction adults favor in this community.
  • Brown, P. (1998). La identificación de las raíces verbales en Tzeltal (Maya): Cómo lo hacen los niños? Función, 17-18, 121-146.

    Abstract

    This is a Spanish translation of Brown 1997.
  • Brown-Schmidt, S., & Konopka, A. E. (2015). Processes of incremental message planning during conversation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 833-843. doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0714-2.

    Abstract

    Speaking begins with the formulation of an intended preverbal message and linguistic encoding of this information. The transition from thought to speech occurs incrementally, with cascading planning at subsequent levels of production. In this article, we aim to specify the mechanisms that support incremental message preparation. We contrast two hypotheses about the mechanisms responsible for incorporating message-level information into a linguistic plan. According to the Initial Preparation view, messages can be encoded as fluent utterances if all information is ready before speaking begins. By contrast, on the Continuous Incrementality view, messages can be continually prepared and updated throughout the production process, allowing for fluent production even if new information is added to the message while speaking is underway. Testing these hypotheses, eye-tracked speakers in two experiments produced unscripted, conjoined noun phrases with modifiers. Both experiments showed that new message elements can be incrementally incorporated into the utterance even after articulation begins, consistent with a Continuous Incrementality view of message planning, in which messages percolate to linguistic encoding immediately as that information becomes available in the mind of the speaker. We conclude by discussing the functional role of incremental message planning in conversational speech and the situations in which this continuous incremental planning would be most likely to be observed
  • Brucato, N., Guadalupe, T., Franke, B., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2015). A schizophrenia-associated HLA locus affects thalamus volume and asymmetry. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 46, 311-318. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2015.02.021.

    Abstract

    Genes of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) have recently been shown to have neuronal functions in the thalamus and hippocampus. Common genetic variants in the Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) region, human homologue of the MHC locus, are associated with small effects on susceptibility to schizophrenia, while volumetric changes of the thalamus and hippocampus have also been linked to schizophrenia. We therefore investigated whether common variants of the HLA would affect volumetric variation of the thalamus and hippocampus. We analyzed thalamus and hippocampus volumes, as measured using structural magnetic resonance imaging, in 1.265 healthy participants. These participants had also been genotyped using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays. We imputed genotypes for single nucleotide polymorphisms at high density across the HLA locus, as well as HLA allotypes and HLA amino acids, by use of a reference population dataset that was specifically targeted to the HLA region. We detected a significant association of the SNP rs17194174 with thalamus volume (nominal P=0.0000017, corrected P=0.0039), as well as additional SNPs within the same region of linkage disequilibrium. This effect was largely lateralized to the left thalamus and is localized within a genomic region previously associated with schizophrenia. The associated SNPs are also clustered within a potential regulatory element, and a region of linkage disequilibrium that spans genes expressed in the thalamus, including HLA-A. Our data indicate that genetic variation within the HLA region influences the volume and asymmetry of the human thalamus. The molecular mechanisms underlying this association may relate to HLA influences on susceptibility to schizophrenia
  • Bull, L. E., Oliver, C., Callaghan, E., & Woodcock, K. A. (2015). Increased Exposure to Rigid Routines can Lead to Increased Challenging Behavior Following Changes to Those Routines. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(6), 1569-1578. doi:10.1007/s10803-014-2308-2.

    Abstract

    Several neurodevelopmental disorders are associated with preference for routine and challenging behavior following changes to routines. We examine individuals with Prader–Willi syndrome, who show elevated levels of this behavior, to better understand how previous experience of a routine can affect challenging behavior elicited by disruption to that routine. Play based challenges exposed 16 participants to routines, which were either adhered to or changed. Temper outburst behaviors, heart rate and movement were measured. As participants were exposed to routines for longer before a change (between 10 and 80 min; within participants), more temper outburst behaviors were elicited by changes. Increased emotional arousal was also elicited, which was indexed by heart rate increases not driven by movement. Further study will be important to understand whether current intervention approaches that limit exposure to changes, may benefit from the structured integration of flexibility to ensure that the opportunity for routine establishment is also limited.

    Additional information

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  • Byun, K.-S., De Vos, C., Bradford, A., Zeshan, U., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). First encounters: Repair sequences in cross-signing. Topics in Cognitive Science, 10(2), 314-334. doi:10.1111/tops.12303.

    Abstract

    Most human communication is between people who speak or sign the same languages. Nevertheless, communication is to some extent possible where there is no language in common, as every tourist knows. How this works is of some theoretical interest (Levinson 2006). A nice arena to explore this capacity is when deaf signers of different languages meet for the first time, and are able to use the iconic affordances of sign to begin communication. Here we focus on Other-Initiated Repair (OIR), that is, where one signer makes clear he or she does not understand, thus initiating repair of the prior conversational turn. OIR sequences are typically of a three-turn structure (Schegloff 2007) including the problem source turn (T-1), the initiation of repair (T0), and the turn offering a problem solution (T+1). These sequences seem to have a universal structure (Dingemanse et al. 2013). We find that in most cases where such OIR occur, the signer of the troublesome turn (T-1) foresees potential difficulty, and marks the utterance with 'try markers' (Sacks & Schegloff 1979, Moerman 1988) which pause to invite recognition. The signers use repetition, gestural holds, prosodic lengthening and eyegaze at the addressee as such try-markers. Moreover, when T-1 is try-marked this allows for faster response times of T+1 with respect to T0. This finding suggests that signers in these 'first encounter' situations actively anticipate potential trouble and, through try-marking, mobilize and facilitate OIRs. The suggestion is that heightened meta-linguistic awareness can be utilized to deal with these problems at the limits of our communicational ability.
  • Caldwell-Harris, C. L., Lancaster, A., Ladd, D. R., Dediu, D., & Christiansen, M. H. (2015). Factors influencing sensitivity to lexical tone in an artificial language: Implications for second language learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 37(2), 335-357. doi:10.1017/S0272263114000849.

    Abstract

    This study examined whether musical training, ethnicity, and experience with a natural tone language influenced sensitivity to tone while listening to an artificial tone language. The language was designed with three tones, modeled after level-tone African languages. Participants listened to a 15-min random concatenation of six 3-syllable words. Sensitivity to tone was assessed using minimal pairs differing only in one syllable (nonword task: e.g., to-kà-su compared to ca-fí-to) or only in tone (tone task: e.g., to-kà-su compared to to-ká-su). Proficiency in an East Asian heritage language was the strongest predictor of success on the tone task. Asians without tone language experience were no better than other ethnic groups. We conclude by considering implications for research on second language learning, especially as approached through artificial language learning.
  • Calkoen, F., Vervat, C., van Pel, M., de Haas, V., Vijfhuizen, L., Eising, E., Kroes, W., Hoen, P., van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M., Egeler, R., Van Tol, M., & Ball, L. (2015). Despite differential gene expression profiles pediatric MDS derived mesenchymal stromal cells display functionality in vitro. Stem Cell Research, 14(2), 198-210. doi:10.1016/j.scr.2015.01.006.

    Abstract

    Pediatric myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a heterogeneous disease covering a spectrum ranging from aplasia (RCC) to myeloproliferation (RAEB(t)). In adult-type MDS there is increasing evidence for abnormal function of the bone-marrow microenvironment. Here, we extensively studied the mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) derived from children with MDS. MSCs were expanded from the bone-marrow of 17 MDS patients (RCC: n = 10 and advanced MDS: n = 7) and pediatric controls (n = 10). No differences were observed with respect to phenotype, differentiation capacity, immunomodulatory capacity or hematopoietic support. mRNA expression analysis by Deep-SAGE revealed increased IL-6 expression in RCC- and RAEB(t)-MDS. RCC-MDS MSC expressed increased levels of DKK3, a protein associated with decreased apoptosis. RAEB(t)-MDS revealed increased CRLF1 and decreased DAPK1 expressions. This pattern has been associated with transformation in hematopoietic malignancies. Genes reported to be differentially expressed in adult MDS-MSC did not differ between MSC of pediatric MDS and controls. An altered mRNA expression profile, associated with cell survival and malignant transformation, of MSC derived from children with MDS strengthens the hypothesis that the micro-environment is of importance in this disease. Our data support the understanding that pediatric and adult MDS are two different diseases. Further evaluation of the pathways involved might reveal additional therapy targets.
  • Calkoen, F. G., Vervat, C., Eising, E., Vijfhuizen, L. S., 't Hoen, P.-B.-A., van den Heuvel-Eibrink, M. M., & Egeler, R. M. (2015). Gene-expression and in vitro function of mesenchymal stromal cells are affected in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. Haematologica, 100(11), 1434-1441. doi:10.3324/haematol.2015.126938.

    Abstract

    An aberrant interaction between hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stromal cells has been linked to disease and shown to contribute to the pathophysiology of hematologic malignancies in murine models. Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia is an aggressive malignant disease affecting young infants. Here we investigated the impact of juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia on mesenchymal stromal cells. Mesenchymal stromal cells were expanded from bone marrow samples of patients at diagnosis (n=9) and after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (n=7; from 5 patients) and from healthy children (n=10). Cells were characterized by phenotyping, differentiation, gene expression analysis (of controls and samples obtained at diagnosis) and in vitro functional studies assessing immunomodulation and hematopoietic support. Mesenchymal stromal cells from patients did not differ from controls in differentiation capacity nor did they differ in their capacity to support in vitro hematopoiesis. Deep-SAGE sequencing revealed differential mRNA expression in patient-derived samples, including genes encoding proteins involved in immunomodulation and cell-cell interaction. Selected gene expression normalized during remission after successful hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Whereas natural killer cell activation and peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation were not differentially affected, the suppressive effect on monocyte to dendritic cell differentiation was increased by mesenchymal stromal cells obtained at diagnosis, but not at time of remission. This study shows that active juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia affects the immune response-related gene expression and function of mesenchymal stromal cells. In contrast, the differential gene expression of hematopoiesis-related genes could not be supported by functional data. Decreased immune surveillance might contribute to the therapy resistance and progression in juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia.
  • Cameron-Faulkner, T., & Kidd, E. (2007). I'm are what I'm are: The acquisition of first-person singular present BE. Cognitive Linguistics, 18(1), 1-22. doi:10.1515/COG.2007.001.

    Abstract

    The present study investigates the development of am in the speech of one English-speaking child, Scarlett (aged 4;6–5;6). We show that am is infrequent in the speech addressed to children; the acquisition of this form of BE presents a unique insight into the processes underlying language development because children have little evidence regarding its correct use. Scarlett produced a pervasive error where she overextended are to first-person singular contexts where am was required (e.g., I'm are trying, When are I'm finished?). Am gradually emerged in her speech on what appears to be a construction-specific basis. The findings of the study are used in support of a usage-based, constructivisit approach to language development.
  • Carter, D. M., Broersma, M., Donnelly, K., & Konopka, A. E. (2018). Presenting the Bangor autoglosser and the Bangor automated clause-splitter. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 33(1), 21-28. doi:10.1093/llc/fqw065.

    Abstract

    Until recently, corpus studies of natural bilingual speech and, more specifically, codeswitching in bilingual speech have used a manual method of glossing, partof- speech tagging, and clause-splitting to prepare the data for analysis. In our article, we present innovative tools developed for the first large-scale corpus study of codeswitching triggered by cognates. A study of this size was only possible due to the automation of several steps, such as morpheme-by-morpheme glossing, splitting complex clauses into simple clauses, and the analysis of internal and external codeswitching through the use of database tables, algorithms, and a scripting language.
  • Castro-Caldas, A., Petersson, K. M., Reis, A., Stone-Elander, S., & Ingvar, M. (1998). The illiterate brain: Learning to read and write during childhood influences the functional organization of the adult brain. Brain, 121, 1053-1063. doi:10.1093/brain/121.6.1053.

    Abstract

    Learning a specific skill during childhood may partly determine the functional organization of the adult brain. This hypothesis led us to study oral language processing in illiterate subjects who, for social reasons, had never entered school and had no knowledge of reading or writing. In a brain activation study using PET and statistical parametric mapping, we compared word and pseudoword repetition in literate and illiterate subjects. Our study confirms behavioural evidence of different phonological processing in illiterate subjects. During repetition of real words, the two groups performed similarly and activated similar areas of the brain. In contrast, illiterate subjects had more difficulty repeating pseudowords correctly and did not activate the same neural structures as literates. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that learning the written form of language (orthography) interacts with the function of oral language. Our results indicate that learning to read and write during childhood influences the functional organization of the adult human brain.
  • Ceroni, F., Simpson, N. H., Francks, C., Baird, G., Conti-Ramsden, G., Clark, A., Bolton, P. F., Hennessy, E. R., Donnelly, P., Bentley, D. R., Martin, H., IMGSAC, SLI Consortium, WGS500 Consortium, Parr, J., Pagnamenta, A. T., Maestrini, E., Bacchelli, E., Fisher, S. E., & Newbury, D. F. (2015). Reply to Pembrey et al: ‘ZNF277 microdeletions, specific language impairment and the meiotic mismatch methylation (3M) hypothesis’. European Journal of Human Genetics, 23, 1113-1115. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.275.
  • Chan, A., Yang, W., Chang, F., & Kidd, E. (2018). Four-year-old Cantonese-speaking children's online processing of relative clauses: A permutation analysis. Journal of Child Language, 45(1), 174-203. doi:10.1017/s0305000917000198.

    Abstract

    We report on an eye-tracking study that investigated four-year-old Cantonese-speaking children's online processing of subject and object relative clauses (RCs). Children's eye-movements were recorded as they listened to RC structures identifying a unique referent (e.g. “Can you pick up the horse that pushed the pig?”). Two RC types, classifier (CL) and ge3 RCs, were tested in a between-participants design. The two RC types differ in their syntactic analyses and frequency of occurrence, providing an important point of comparison for theories of RC acquisition and processing. A permutation analysis showed that the two structures were processed differently: CL RCs showed a significant object-over-subject advantage, whereas ge3 RCs showed the opposite effect. This study shows that children can have different preferences even for two very similar RC structures within the same language, suggesting that syntactic processing preferences are shaped by the unique features of particular constructions both within and across different linguistic typologies.
  • Chang, F., Bauman, M., Pappert, S., & Fitz, H. (2015). Do lemmas speak German?: A verb position effect in German structural priming. Cognitive Science, 39(5), 1113-1130. doi:10.1111/cogs.12184.

    Abstract

    Lexicalized theories of syntax often assume that verb-structure regularities are mediated by lemmas, which abstract over variation in verb tense and aspect. German syntax seems to challenge this assumption, because verb position depends on tense and aspect. To examine how German speakers link these elements, a structural priming study was performed which varied syntactic structure, verb position (encoded by tense and aspect), and verb overlap. Abstract structural priming was found, both within and across verb position, but priming was larger when the verb position was the same between prime and target. Priming was boosted by verb overlap, but there was no interaction with verb position. The results can be explained by a lemma model where tense and aspect are linked to structural choices in German. Since the architecture of this lemma model is not consistent with results from English, a connectionist model was developed which could explain the cross-linguistic variation in the production system. Together, these findings support the view that language learning plays an important role in determining the nature of structural priming in different languages

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