Publications

Displaying 1 - 34 of 34
  • Aarts, E. (2009). Resisting temptation: The role of the anterior cingulate cortex in adjusting cognitive control. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Baggio, G. (2009). Semantics and the electrophysiology of meaning: Tense, aspect, event structure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Behnke, K. (1998). The acquisition of phonetic categories in young infants: A self-organising artificial neural network approach. PhD Thesis, University of Twente, Enschede. doi:10.17617/2.2057688.
  • Brown, A. (2006). Cross-linguistic influence in first and second lanuages: Convergence in speech and gesture. PhD Thesis, Boston University, Boston.

    Abstract

    Research on second language acquisition typically focuses on how a first language (L1) influences a second language (L2) in different linguistic domains and across modalities. This dissertation, in contrast, explores interactions between languages in the mind of a language learner by asking 1) can an emerging L2 influence an established L1? 2) if so, how is such influence realized? 3) are there parallel influences of the L1 on the L2? These questions were investigated for the expression of Manner (e.g. climb, roll) and Path (e.g. up, down) of motion, areas where substantial crosslinguistic differences exist in speech and co-speech gesture. Japanese and English are typologically distinct in this domain; therefore, narrative descriptions of four motion events were elicited from monolingual Japanese speakers (n=16), monolingual English speakers (n=13), and native Japanese speakers with intermediate knowledge of English (narratives elicited in both their L1 and L2, n=28). Ways in which Path and Manner were expressed at the lexical, syntactic, and gestural levels were analyzed in monolingual and non-monolingual production. Results suggest mutual crosslinguistic influences. In their L1, native Japanese speakers with knowledge of English displayed both Japanese- and English-like use of morphosyntactic elements to express Path and Manner (i.e. a combination of verbs and other constructions). Consequently, non-monolingual L1 discourse contained significantly more Path expressions per clause, with significantly greater mention of Goal of motion than monolingual Japanese and English discourse. Furthermore, the gestures of non-monolingual speakers diverged from their monolingual counterparts with differences in depiction of Manner and gesture perspective (character versus observer). Importantly, non-monolingual production in the L1 was not ungrammatical, but simply reflected altered preferences. As for L2 production, many effects of L1 influence were seen, crucially in areas parallel to those described above. Overall, production by native Japanese speakers who knew English differed from that of monolingual Japanese and English speakers. But L1 and L2 production within non-monolingual individuals was similar. These findings imply a convergence of L1-L2 linguistic systems within the mind of a language learner. Theoretical and methodological implications for SLA research and language assessment with respect to the ‘native speaker standard language’ are discussed.
  • Davids, N. (2009). Neurocognitive markers of phonological processing: A clinical perspective. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Dietrich, C. (2006). The acquisition of phonological structure: Distinguishing contrastive from non-contrastive variation. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57829.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2006). The body in Yoruba: A linguistic study. Master Thesis, Leiden University, Leiden.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2006). The semantics of Bantu noun classification: A review and comparison of three approaches. Master Thesis, Leiden University.
  • Eisner, F. (2006). Lexically-guided perceptual learning in speech processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57407.

    Abstract

    During listening to spoken language, the perceptual system needs to adapt frequently to changes in talkers, and thus to considerable interindividual variability in the articulation of a given speech sound. This thesis investigated a learning process which allows listeners to use stored lexical representations to modify the interpretation of a speech sound when a talker's articulation of that sound is consistently unclear or ambiguous. The questions that were addressed in this research concerned the robustness of such perceptual learning, a potential role for sleep, and whether learning is specific to the speech of one talker or, alternatively, generalises to other talkers. A further study aimed to identify the underlying functional neuroanatomy by using magnetic resonance imaging methods. The picture that emerged for lexically-guided perceptual learning is that learning occurs very rapidly, is highly specific, and remains remarkably robust both over time and under exposure to speech from other talkers.
  • Fitz, H. (2009). Neural syntax. PhD Thesis, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    http://dare.uva.nl/record/328271
  • FitzPatrick, I. (2006). Effects of sentence context in L2 natural speech comprehension. Master Thesis, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Grabe, E. (1998). Comparative intonational phonology: English and German. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057683.
  • Gullberg, M. (Ed.). (2006). Gestures and second language acquisition [Special Issue]. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 44(2).
  • Gullberg, M., & Indefrey, P. (Eds.). (2006). The cognitive neuroscience of second language acquisition [Special Issue]. Language Learning, 56(suppl. 1).
  • Hammond, J. (2009). The grammar of nouns and verbs in Whitesands, an oceanic language of Southern Vanuatu. Master Thesis, University of Sydney, Sydney.

    Abstract

    Whitesands is an under-described language of southern Vanuatu, and this thesis presents Whitesands-specific data based on primary in-situ field research. The thesis addresses the distinction of noun and verb word classes in the language. It claims that current linguistic syntax theory cannot account for the argument structure of canonical object-denoting roots. It is shown that there are distinct lexical noun and verb classes in Whitesands but this is only a weak dichotomy. Stronger is the NP and VP distinction, and this is achieved by employing a new theoretical approach that proposes functional categories and their selection of complements as crucial tests of distinction. This approach contrasts with previous analyses of parts of speech in Oceanic languages and cross-linguistically. It ultimately explains many of the syntactic phenomena seen in the language family, including the above argument assignment dilemma, the alienable possession of nouns with classifiers and also the nominalisation processes.
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1998). Kaleidoskop [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (112).
  • Klein, W., & Dimroth, C. (Eds.). (2009). Worauf kann sich der Sprachunterricht stützen? [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 153.
  • Kuzla, C. (2009). Prosodic structure in speech production and perception. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Majid, A., Enfield, N. J., & Van Staden, M. (Eds.). (2006). Parts of the body: Cross-linguistic categorisation [Special Issue]. Language Sciences, 28(2-3).
  • Meyer, A. S., & Wheeldon, L. (Eds.). (2006). Language production across the life span [Special Issue]. Language and Cognitive Processes, 21(1-3).
  • Müller, O. (2006). Retrieving semantic and syntactic word properties: ERP studies on the time course in language comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57543.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    Full Text (via Radboud)
  • Nijland, L., & Janse, E. (Eds.). (2009). Auditory processing in speakers with acquired or developmental language disorders [Special Issue]. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 23(3).
  • Norcliffe, E. (2009). Head-marking in usage and grammar: A study of variation and change in Yucatec Maya. PhD Thesis, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

    Abstract

    Many Mayan languages make use of a special dependent verb form (the Agent Focus, or AF verb form), which alternates with the normal transitive verb form (the synthetic verb form) of main clauses when the subject of a transitive verb is focused, questioned or relativized. It has been a centerpiece of research in Mayan morphosyntax over the last forty years, due to its puzzling formal and distributional properties. In this dissertation I show how a usage-oriented approach to the phenomenon can provide important insights into this area of grammar which resists any categorical explanation. I propose that the historical origins of these special verb forms can be traced to the emergence of head marking. Drawing on cross-linguistic and historical data, I argue that the special verbs that occur in A-bar dependencies in Yucatec and a range of head-marking languages are byproducts of the frequency-sensitive gramaticalization process by which independent pronouns become pronominal inflection on verbs. I show that the relatively low frequency of adjacent pronoun-verb combinations in extraction contexts (where gaps are more frequent than resumptive pronouns) can give rise to asymmetric patterns of pronoun grammaticalization, and thus lead to the emergence of these morphological alternations. The asymmetric frequency distributions of gaps and RPs (within and across languages) in turn can be explained by processing preferences. I present three experiments which show that Yucatec speakers are more likely to use the resumptive verb form in embedded environments, and where the antecedent is indefinite. Specifically, these studies indicate the need to bring discourse-level processing principles into the account of what have often been taken to be autonomously sentence-internal phenomena: factors such as distance and the referential salience of the antecedent have been shown to influence referential form choice in discourse, suggesting that the same cognitive principles lie behind both types of variation. More generally, the Yucatec studies demonstrate that production preferences in Yucatec relative clauses reflect patterns of RP/gap distributions that have been attested across grammars. The Highest Subject Restriction (the ban on subject RPs in local dependencies), which is apparently a categorical constraint in many languages, is reflected probabilistically in Yucatec in terms of production preferences. The definiteness restriction (RPs are obligatory with indefinite antecedents), which has been reported categorically in other languages, is also visible probabilistically in Yucatec production. This lends some statistically robust support to the view that typological patterns can arise via the conventionalization of processing preferences.
  • O'Shannessy, C. (2006). Language contact and children's bilingual acquisition: Learning a mixed language and Warlpiri in northern Australia. PhD Thesis, University of Sydney, Canberra.

    Abstract

    This dissertation documents the emergence of a new language, Light Warlpiri, in the multilingual community of Lajamanu in northern Australia. It then examines the acquisition of Light Warlpiri language, and of the heritage language, Lajamanu Warlpiri, by children. Light Warlpiri has arisen from contact between Lajamanu Warlpiri (a Pama-Nyungan language), Kriol (an English-based creole), and varieties of English. It is a Mixed Language, meaning that none of its source languages can be considered to be the sole parent language. Most verbs and the verbal morphology are from Aboriginal English or Kriol, while most nouns and the nominal morphology are from Warlpiri. The language input to children is complex. Adults older than about thirty speak Lajamanu Warlpiri and code-switch into Aboriginal English or Kriol. Younger adults, the parents of the current cohort of children, speak Light Warlpiri and code-switch into Lajamanu Warlpiri and into Aboriginal English or Kriol. Lajamanu Warlpiri and Light Warlpiri, the two main input languages to children, both indicate A arguments with ergative case-marking (and they share one allomorph of the marker), but Lajamanu Warlpiri includes the marker much more consistently than Light Warlpiri. Word order is variable in both languages. Children learn both languages from birth, but they target Light Warlpiri as the language of their everyday interactions, and they speak it almost exclusively until four to six years of age. Adults and children show similar patterns of ergative marking and word order in Light Warlpiri. But differences between age groups are found in ergative marking in Lajamanu Warlpiri - for the oldest group of adults, ergative marking is obligatory, but for younger adults and children, it is not. Determining when children differentiate between two input languages has been a major goal in the study of bilingual acquisition. The two languages in this study share lexical and grammatical properties, making distinctions between them quite subtle. Both adults and children distribute ergative marking differently in the two languages, but show similar word order patterns in both. However the children show a stronger correlation between ergative marking and word order patterns than do the adults, suggesting that they are spearheading processes of language change. In their comprehension of sentences in both Lajamanu Warlpiri and Light Warlpiri, adults use a case-marking strategy to identify the A argument (i.e. N+erg = A argument, N-erg = O argument). The children are not adult-like in using this strategy at age 5, when they also used a word order strategy, but they gradually move towards being adult-like with increased age.
  • Özdemir, R. (2006). The relationship between spoken word production and comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59239.
  • De Ruiter, J. P. (1998). Gesture and speech production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057686.
  • Schimke, S. (2009). The acquisition of finiteness by Turkish learners of German and Turkish learners of French: Investigating knowledge of forms and functions in production and comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    Sarah Schimke onderzocht hoe mensen die op volwassen leeftijd naar een ander land verhuizen de taal van dit land leren, ook zonder veel taalinstructie te krijgen. Twee groepen werden onderzocht: Turkse immigranten in Frankrijk en Turkse immigranten in Duitsland. De resultaten laten zien dat volwassen leerlingen in het begin van het verwervingsproces een gemakkelijkere variatie van de doeltaal creëren. Er worden wel woorden van de doeltaal verworven en gebruikt, maar er wordt een gesimplificeerde grammatica toegepast. In het bijzonder gebruiken leerlingen in deze fase geen finietheid, dus geen morfologische variaties van werkwoorden. Schimke toont aan dat als finietheid wordt verworven, dit de grammatica van de leerlingen sterk verandert en dat deze veel sterker op de doeltaalgrammatica begint te lijken. Ook toont ze aan dat dit proces door karakteristieken van de doeltaal, zoals de woordvolgorde en de complexiteit van de morfologie, wordt beïnvloed
  • Seyfeddinipur, M. (2006). Disfluency: Interrupting speech and gesture. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59337.
  • Shatzman, K. B. (2006). Sensitivity to detailed acoustic information in word recognition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59331.
  • Stehouwer, H. (2006). Cue phrase selection methods for textual classification problems. Master Thesis, Twente University, Enschede.

    Abstract

    The classification of texts and pieces of texts uses the occurrence of, combinations of, words as an important indicator. Not every word or each combination of words gives a clear indication of the classification of a piece of text. Research has been done on methods that select some words or combinations of words that are more indicative of the type of a piece of text. These words or combinations of words are selected from the words and word-groups as they occur in the texts. These more indicative words or combinations of words we call ¿cue-phrases¿. The goal of these methods is to select the most indicative cue-phrases first. The collection of selected words and/or combinations thereof can then be used for training the classification system. To test these selection methods, a number of experiments has been done on a corpus containing cookbook recipes and on a corpus of four-participant meetings. To perform these experiments, a computer program was written. On the recipe corpus we looked at classifying the sentences into different types. Some examples of these types include ¿requirement¿ and ¿instruction¿. On the four-person meeting corpus we tried to learn, using only lexical features, whether a sentence is addressed to an individual or a group. The experiments on the recipe corpus produced good results that showed that, a number of, the used cue-phrase selection methods are suitable for feature selection. The experiments on the four-person meeting corpus where less successful in terms of performance off the classification task. We did see comparable patterns in selection methods, and considering the results of Jovanovic we can conclude that different features are needed for this particular classification task. One of the original goals was to look at ¿addressee¿ in discussions. Are sentences more often addressed to individuals inside discussions compared to outside discussions? However, in order to be able to accomplish this, we must first identify the segments of the text that are discussions. It proved hard to come to a reliable specification of discussions, and our initial definition wasn¿t sufficient.
  • Van Gijn, E. (2006). A grammar of Yurakaré. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    This book provides an overview of the grammatical structure of the language Yurakaré, an unclassified and previously undescribed language of central Bolivia. It consists of 8 chapters, each describing different aspects of the language. Chapter 1 is an introduction to the Yurakaré people and their language. Chapter 2 describes the phonology of the language, from the individual sounds to the stress system. In chapter 3 the morphology of Yurakaré is introduced, i.e. the parts of speech, and the different morphological processes. Chapter 4 is a description of the noun phrase and contains information about nouns, adjectives, postpositions and quantifiers. It also discusses the categories associated with the noun phrase in Yurakaré, such as number, possession, collectivity/distributivity, diminutive. In chapter 5, called 'Verbal agreement, voice and valency' there is a description of the argument structure of predicates, how arguments are expressed and how argument structure can be altered by means of voice and valency-changing operations such as applicatives, causative and middle voice. In chapter 6 there is an overview of verbal morphology, apart from the morphology associated with voice, valency and cross-reference discussed in chapter 5. There is also a description of adverbs in the language in this chapter. Chapter 7 discusses formal and functional properties of modal and aspectual enclitics. In chapter 8, finally, the structure of the clause (both simplex and complex) is discussed, including the switch-reference system and word order. The book ends with two text samples.
  • Van Putten, S. (2009). Talking about motion in Avatime. Master Thesis, Leiden University.
  • Verhagen, J. (2009). Finiteness in Dutch as a second language. PhD Thesis, VU University, Amsterdam.
  • Willems, R. M. (2009). Neural reflections of meaning in gesture, language, and action. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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