Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 398
  • Abdel Rahman, R., & Sommer, W. (2003). Does phonological encoding in speech production always follow the retrieval of semantic knowledge?: Electrophysiological evidence for parallel processing. Cognitive Brain Research, 16(3), 372-382. doi:10.1016/S0926-6410(02)00305-1.

    Abstract

    In this article a new approach to the distinction between serial/contingent and parallel/independent processing in the human cognitive system is applied to semantic knowledge retrieval and phonological encoding of the word form in picture naming. In two-choice go/nogo tasks pictures of objects were manually classified on the basis of semantic and phonological information. An additional manipulation of the duration of the faster and presumably mediating process (semantic retrieval) allowed to derive differential predictions from the two alternative models. These predictions were tested with two event-related brain potentials (ERPs), the lateralized readiness potential (LRP) and the N200. The findings indicate that phonological encoding can proceed in parallel to the retrieval of semantic features. A suggestion is made how to accommodate these findings with models of speech production.
  • Abdel Rahman, R., Van Turennout, M., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2003). Phonological encoding is not contingent on semantic feature retrieval: An electrophysiological study on object naming. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29(5), 850-860. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.29.5.850.

    Abstract

    In the present study, the authors examined with event-related brain potentials whether phonological encoding in picture naming is mediated by basic semantic feature retrieval or proceeds independently. In a manual 2-choice go/no-go task the choice response depended on a semantic classification (animal vs. object) and the execution decision was contingent on a classification of name phonology (vowel vs. consonant). The introduction of a semantic task mixing procedure allowed for selectively manipulating the speed of semantic feature retrieval. Serial and parallel models were tested on the basis of their differential predictions for the effect of this manipulation on the lateralized readiness potential and N200 component. The findings indicate that phonological code retrieval is not strictly contingent on prior basic semantic feature processing.
  • Acheson, D. J., & MacDonald, M. C. (2009). Twisting tongues and memories: Explorations of the relationship between language production and verbal working memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 60(3), 329-350. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2008.12.002.

    Abstract

    Many accounts of working memory posit specialized storage mechanisms for the maintenance of serial order. We explore an alternative, that maintenance is achieved through temporary activation in the language production architecture. Four experiments examined the extent to which the phonological similarity effect can be explained as a sublexical speech error. Phonologically similar nonword stimuli were ordered to create tongue twister or control materials used in four tasks: reading aloud, immediate spoken recall, immediate typed recall, and serial recognition. Dependent measures from working memory (recall accuracy) and language production (speech errors) fields were used. Even though lists were identical except for item order, robust effects of tongue twisters were observed. Speech error analyses showed that errors were better described as phoneme rather than item ordering errors. The distribution of speech errors was comparable across all experiments and exhibited syllable-position effects, suggesting an important role for production processes. Implications for working memory and language production are discussed.
  • Acheson, D. J., & MacDonald, M. C. (2009). Verbal working memory and language production: Common approaches to the serial ordering of verbal information. Psychological Bulletin, 135(1), 50-68. doi:10.1037/a0014411.

    Abstract

    Verbal working memory (WM) tasks typically involve the language production architecture for recall; however, language production processes have had a minimal role in theorizing about WM. A framework for understanding verbal WM results is presented here. In this framework, domain-specific mechanisms for serial ordering in verbal WM are provided by the language production architecture, in which positional, lexical, and phonological similarity constraints are highly similar to those identified in the WM literature. These behavioral similarities are paralleled in computational modeling of serial ordering in both fields. The role of long-term learning in serial ordering performance is emphasized, in contrast to some models of verbal WM. Classic WM findings are discussed in terms of the language production architecture. The integration of principles from both fields illuminates the maintenance and ordering mechanisms for verbal information.
  • Adank, P., & Janse, E. (2009). Perceptual learning of time-compressed and natural fast speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 126(5), 2649-2659. doi:10.1121/1.3216914.

    Abstract

    Speakers vary their speech rate considerably during a conversation, and listeners are able to quickly adapt to these variations in speech rate. Adaptation to fast speech rates is usually measured using artificially time-compressed speech. This study examined adaptation to two types of fast speech: artificially time-compressed speech and natural fast speech. Listeners performed a speeded sentence verification task on three series of sentences: normal-speed sentences, time-compressed sentences, and natural fast sentences. Listeners were divided into two groups to evaluate the possibility of transfer of learning between the time-compressed and natural fast conditions. The first group verified the natural fast before the time-compressed sentences, while the second verified the time-compressed before the natural fast sentences. The results showed transfer of learning when the time-compressed sentences preceded the natural fast sentences, but not when natural fast sentences preceded the time-compressed sentences. The results are discussed in the framework of theories on perceptual learning. Second, listeners show adaptation to the natural fast sentences, but performance for this type of fast speech does not improve to the level of time-compressed sentences.
  • Akker, E., & Cutler, A. (2003). Prosodic cues to semantic structure in native and nonnative listening. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 6(2), 81-96. doi:10.1017/S1366728903001056.

    Abstract

    Listeners efficiently exploit sentence prosody to direct attention to words bearing sentence accent. This effect has been explained as a search for focus, furthering rapid apprehension of semantic structure. A first experiment supported this explanation: English listeners detected phoneme targets in sentences more rapidly when the target-bearing words were in accented position or in focussed position, but the two effects interacted, consistent with the claim that the effects serve a common cause. In a second experiment a similar asymmetry was observed with Dutch listeners and Dutch sentences. In a third and a fourth experiment, proficient Dutch users of English heard English sentences; here, however, the two effects did not interact. The results suggest that less efficient mapping of prosody to semantics may be one way in which nonnative listening fails to equal native listening.
  • Alario, F.-X., Schiller, N. O., Domoto-Reilly, K., & Caramazza, A. (2003). The role of phonological and orthographic information in lexical selection. Brain and Language, 84(3), 372-398. doi:10.1016/S0093-934X(02)00556-4.

    Abstract

    We report the performance of two patients with lexico-semantic deficits following left MCA CVA. Both patients produce similar numbers of semantic paraphasias in naming tasks, but presented one crucial difference: grapheme-to-phoneme and phoneme-to-grapheme conversion procedures were available only to one of them. We investigated the impact of this availability on the process of lexical selection during word production. The patient for whom conversion procedures were not operational produced semantic errors in transcoding tasks such as reading and writing to dictation; furthermore, when asked to name a given picture in multiple output modalities—e.g., to say the name of a picture and immediately after to write it down—he produced lexically inconsistent responses. By contrast, the patient for whom conversion procedures were available did not produce semantic errors in transcoding tasks and did not produce lexically inconsistent responses in multiple picture-naming tasks. These observations are interpreted in the context of the summation hypothesis (Hillis & Caramazza, 1991), according to which the activation of lexical entries for production would be made on the basis of semantic information and, when available, on the basis of form-specific information. The implementation of this hypothesis in models of lexical access is discussed in detail.
  • Allen, S. E. M. (1998). Categories within the verb category: Learning the causative in Inuktitut. Linguistics, 36(4), 633-677.
  • Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., Jones, R. L., & Clark, V. (2009). A Semantics-Based Approach to the “no negative evidence” problem. Cognitive Science, 33(7), 1301-1316. doi:10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01055.x.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have shown that children retreat from argument-structure overgeneralization errors (e.g., *Don’t giggle me) by inferring that frequently encountered verbs are unlikely to be grammatical in unattested constructions, and by making use of syntax-semantics correspondences (e.g., verbs denoting internally caused actions such as giggling cannot normally be used causatively). The present study tested a new account based on a unitary learning mechanism that combines both of these processes. Seventy-two participants (ages 5–6, 9–10, and adults) rated overgeneralization errors with higher (*The funny man’s joke giggled Bart) and lower (*The funny man giggled Bart) degrees of direct external causation. The errors with more-direct causation were rated as less unacceptable than those with less-direct causation. This finding is consistent with the new account, under which children acquire—in an incremental and probabilistic fashion—the meaning of particular constructions (e.g., transitive causative = direct external causation) and particular verbs, rejecting generalizations where the incompatibility between the two is too great.
  • Ambridge, B., & Rowland, C. F. (2009). Predicting children's errors with negative questions: Testing a schema-combination account. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(2), 225-266. doi:10.1515/COGL.2009.014.

    Abstract

    Positive and negative what, why and yes/no questions with the 3sg auxiliaries can and does were elicited from 50 children aged 3;3–4;3. In support of the constructivist “schema-combination” account, only children who produced a particular positive question type correctly (e.g., What does she want?) produced a characteristic “auxiliary-doubling” error (e.g., *What does she doesn't want?) for the corresponding negative question type. This suggests that these errors are formed by superimposing a positive question frame (e.g., What does THING PROCESS?) and an inappropriate negative frame (e.g., She doesn't PROCESS) learned from declarative utterances. In addition, a significant correlation between input frequency and correct production was observed for 11 of the 12 lexical frames (e.g., What does THING PROCESS?), although some negative question types showed higher rates of error than one might expect based on input frequency alone. Implications for constructivist and generativist theories of question-acquisition are discussed.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1989). [Review of The case for lexicase: An outline of lexicase grammatical theory by Stanley Starosta]. Studies in Language, 13(2), 506-518.
  • 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. (2009). Verb extensions in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé). Journal of West African Languages, 36(1/2), 139-157.
  • Baayen, H., & Lieber, R. (1991). Productivity and English derivation: A corpus-based study. Linguistics, 29(5), 801-843. doi:10.1515/ling.1991.29.5.801.

    Abstract

    The notion of productivity is one which is central to the study of morphology. It is a notion about which linguists frequently have intuitions. But it is a notion which still remains somewhat problematic in the literature on generative morphology some 15 years after Aronoff raised the issue in his (1976) monograph. In this paper we will review some of the definitions and measures of productivity discussed in the generative and pregenerative literature. We will adopt the definition of productivity suggested by Schultink (1961) and propose a number of statistical measures of productivity whose results, when applied to a fixed corpus, accord nicely with our intuitive estimates of productivity, and which shed light on the quantitative weight of linguistic restrictions on word formation rules. Part of our purpose here is also a very simple one: to make available a substantial set of empirical data concerning the productivity of some of the major derivational affixes of English.

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  • 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.
  • Bastiaanse, R., De Goede, D., & Love, T. (2009). Auditory sentence processing: An introduction. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 38(3), 177-179. doi:10.1007/s10936-009-9109-3.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., & Hagoort, P. (2003). Event-induced theta responses as a window on the dynamics of memory. Cortex, 39(4-5), 967-972. doi:10.1016/S0010-9452(08)70873-6.

    Abstract

    An important, but often ignored distinction in the analysis of EEG signals is that between evoked activity and induced activity. Whereas evoked activity reflects the summation of transient post-synaptic potentials triggered by an event, induced activity, which is mainly oscillatory in nature, is thought to reflect changes in parameters controlling dynamic interactions within and between brain structures. We hypothesize that induced activity may yield information about the dynamics of cell assembly formation, activation and subsequent uncoupling, which may play a prominent role in different types of memory operations. We then describe a number of analysis tools that can be used to study the reactivity of induced rhythmic activity, both in terms of amplitude changes and of phase variability. We briefly discuss how alpha, gamma and theta rhythms are thought to be generated, paying special attention to the hypothesis that the theta rhythm reflects dynamic interactions between the hippocampal system and the neocortex. This hypothesis would imply that studying the reactivity of scalp-recorded theta may provide a window on the contribution of the hippocampus to memory functions. We review studies investigating the reactivity of scalp-recorded theta in paradigms engaging episodic memory, spatial memory and working memory. In addition, we review studies that relate theta reactivity to processes at the interface of memory and language. Despite many unknowns, the experimental evidence largely supports the hypothesis that theta activity plays a functional role in cell assembly formation, a process which may constitute the neural basis of memory formation and retrieval. The available data provide only highly indirect support for the hypothesis that scalp-recorded theta yields information about hippocampal functioning. It is concluded that studying induced rhythmic activity holds promise as an additional important way to study brain function.
  • 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.
  • De Bleser, R., Willmes, K., Graetz, P., & Hagoort, P. (1991). De Akense Afasie Test. Logopedie en Foniatrie, 63, 207-217.
  • Bock, K., Irwin, D. E., Davidson, D. J., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2003). Minding the clock. Journal of Memory and Language, 48, 653-685. doi:10.1016/S0749-596X(03)00007-X.

    Abstract

    Telling time is an exercise in coordinating language production with visual perception. By coupling different ways of saying times with different ways of seeing them, the performance of time-telling can be used to track cognitive transformations from visual to verbal information in connected speech. To accomplish this, we used eyetracking measures along with measures of speech timing during the production of time expressions. Our findings suggest that an effective interface between what has been seen and what is to be said can be constructed within 300 ms. This interface underpins a preverbal plan or message that appears to guide a comparatively slow, strongly incremental formulation of phrases. The results begin to trace the divide between seeing and saying -or thinking and speaking- that must be bridged during the creation of even the most prosaic utterances of a language.
  • Bohnemeyer, J. (2003). Invisible time lines in the fabric of events: Temporal coherence in Yukatek narratives. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 13(2), 139-162. doi:10.1525/jlin.2003.13.2.139.

    Abstract

    This article examines how narratives are structured in a language in which event order is largely not coded. Yucatec Maya lacks both tense inflections and temporal connectives corresponding to English after and before. It is shown that the coding of events in Yucatec narratives is subject to a strict iconicity constraint within paragraph boundaries. Aspectual viewpoint shifting is used to reconcile iconicity preservation with the requirements of a more flexible narrative structure.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Brandt, S., Kidd, E., Lieven, E., & Tomasello, M. (2009). The discourse bases of relativization: An investigation of young German and English-speaking children's comprehension of relative clauses. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(3), 539-570. doi:10.1515/COGL.2009.024.

    Abstract

    In numerous comprehension studies, across different languages, children have performed worse on object relatives (e.g., the dog that the cat chased) than on subject relatives (e.g., the dog that chased the cat). One possible reason for this is that the test sentences did not exactly match the kinds of object relatives that children typically experience. Adults and children usually hear and produce object relatives with inanimate heads and pronominal subjects (e.g., the car that we bought last year) (cf. Kidd et al., Language and Cognitive Processes 22: 860–897, 2007). We tested young 3-year old German- and English-speaking children with a referential selection task. Children from both language groups performed best in the condition where the experimenter described inanimate referents with object relatives that contained pronominal subjects (e.g., Can you give me the sweater that he bought?). Importantly, when the object relatives met the constraints identified in spoken discourse, children understood them as well as subject relatives, or even better. These results speak against a purely structural explanation for children's difficulty with object relatives as observed in previous studies, but rather support the usage-based account, according to which discourse function and experience with language shape the representation of linguistic structures.
  • Broersma, M. (2009). Triggered codeswitching between cognate languages. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12(4), 447-462. doi:10.1017/S1366728909990204.
  • Brouwer, G. J., Tong, F., Hagoort, P., & Van Ee, R. (2009). Perceptual incongruence influences bistability and cortical activation. Plos One, 4(3): e5056. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005056.

    Abstract

    We employed a parametric psychophysical design in combination with functional imaging to examine the influence of metric changes in perceptual incongruence on perceptual alternation rates and cortical responses. Subjects viewed a bistable stimulus defined by incongruent depth cues; bistability resulted from incongruence between binocular disparity and monocular perspective cues that specify different slants (slant rivalry). Psychophysical results revealed that perceptual alternation rates were positively correlated with the degree of perceived incongruence. Functional imaging revealed systematic increases in activity that paralleled the psychophysical results within anterior intraparietal sulcus, prior to the onset of perceptual alternations. We suggest that this cortical activity predicts the frequency of subsequent alternations, implying a putative causal role for these areas in initiating bistable perception. In contrast, areas implicated in form and depth processing (LOC and V3A) were sensitive to the degree of slant, but failed to show increases in activity when these cues were in conflict.
  • 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. (1989). [Review of the book Language, gender, and sex in comparative perspective ed. by Susan U. Philips, Susan Steeleand Christine Tanz]. Man, 24(1), 192.
  • 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.
  • Brucato, N., Cassar, O., Tonasso, L., Guitard, E., Migot-Nabias, F., Tortevoye, P., Plancoulaine, S., Larrouy, G., Gessain, A., & Dugoujon, J.-M. (2009). Genetic diversity and dynamics of the Noir Marron settlement in French Guyana: A study combining mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome and HTLV-1 genotyping [Abstract]. AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, 25(11), 1258. doi:10.1089/aid.2009.9992.

    Abstract

    The Noir Marron are the direct descendants of thousands of African slaves deported to the Guyanas during the Atlantic Slave Trade and later escaped mainly from Dutch colonial plantations. Six ethnic groups are officially recognized, four of which are located in French Guyana: the Aluku, the Ndjuka, the Saramaka, and the Paramaka. The aim of this study was: (1) to determine the Noir Marron settlement through genetic exchanges with other communities such as Amerindians and Europeans; (2) to retrace their origins in Africa. Buffy-coat DNA from 142 Noir Marron, currently living in French Guyana, were analyzed using mtDNA (typing of SNP coding regions and sequencing of HVSI/II) and Y chromosomes (typing STR and SNPs) to define their genetic profile. Results were compared to an African database composed by published data, updated with genotypes of 82 Fon from Benin, and 128 Ahizi and 63 Yacouba from the Ivory-Coast obtained in this study for the same markers. Furthermore, the determination of the genomic subtype of HTLV-1 strains (env gp21 and LTR regions), which can be used as a marker of migration of infected populations, was performed for samples from 23 HTLV-1 infected Noir Marron and compared with the corresponding database. MtDNA profiles showed a high haplotype diversity, in which 99% of samples belonged to the major haplogroup L, frequent in Africa. Each haplotype was largely represented on the West African coast, but notably higher homologies were obtained with the samples present in the Gulf of Guinea. Y Chromosome analysis revealed the same pattern, i.e. a conservation of the African contribution to the Noir Marron genetic profile, with 98% of haplotypes belonging to the major haplogroup E1b1a, frequent in West Africa. The genetic diversity was higher than those observed in African populations, proving the large Noir Marron’s fatherland, but a predominant identity in the Gulf of Guinea can be suggested. Concerning HTLV-1 genotyping, all the Noir Marron strains belonged to the large Cosmopolitan A subtype. However, among them 17/23 (74%) clustered with the West African clade comprizing samples originating from Ivory-Coast, Ghana, Burkina-Fasso and Senegal, while 3 others clustered in the Trans-Sahelian clade and the remaining 3 were similar to strains found in individuals in South America. Through the combined analyses of three approaches, we have provided a conclusive image of the genetic profile of the Noir Marron communities studied. The high degree of preservation of the African gene pool contradicts the expected gene flow that would correspond to the major cultural exchanges observed between Noir Marron, Europeans and Amerindians. Marital practices and historical events could explain these observations. Corresponding to historical and cultural data, the origin of the ethnic groups is widely dispatched throughout West Africa. However, all results converge to suggest an individualization from a major birthplace in the Gulf of Guinea.
  • Brucato, N., Tortevoye, P., Plancoulaine, S., Guitard, E., Sanchez-Mazas, A., Larrouy, G., Gessain, A., & Dugoujon, J.-M. (2009). The genetic diversity of three peculiar populations descending from the slave trade: Gm study of Noir Marron from French Guiana. Comptes Rendus Biologies, 332(10), 917-926. doi:10.1016/j.crvi.2009.07.005.

    Abstract

    The Noir Marron communities are the direct descendants of African slaves brought to the Guianas during the four centuries (16th to 19th) of the Atlantic slave trade. Among them, three major ethnic groups have been studied: the Aluku, the Ndjuka and the Saramaka. Their history led them to share close relationships with Europeans and Amerindians, as largely documented in their cultural records. The study of Gm polymorphisms of immunoglobulins may help to estimate the amount of gene flow linked to these cultural exchanges. Surprisingly, very low levels of European contribution (2.6%) and Amerindian contribution (1.7%) are detected in the Noir Marron gene pool. On the other hand, an African contribution of 95.7% redraws their origin to West Africa (FSTless-than-or-equals, slant0.15). This highly preserved African gene pool of the Noir Marron is unique in comparison to other African American populations of Latin America, who are notably more admixed

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  • Burenhult, N. (2009). [Commentary on M. Meschiari, 'Roots of the savage mind: Apophenia and imagination as cognitive process']. Quaderni di semantica, 30(2), 239-242. doi:10.1400/127893.
  • Burenhult, N. (2003). Attention, accessibility, and the addressee: The case of the Jahai demonstrative ton. Pragmatics, 13(3), 363-379.
  • Burenhult, N., & Wegener, C. (2009). Preliminary notes on the phonology, orthography and vocabulary of Semnam (Austroasiatic, Malay Peninsula). Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 1, 283-312. Retrieved from http://www.jseals.org/.

    Abstract

    This paper reports tentatively some features of Semnam, a Central Aslian language spoken by some 250 people in the Perak valley, Peninsular Malaysia. It outlines the unusually rich phonemic system of this hitherto undescribed language (e.g. a vowel system comprising 36 distinctive nuclei), and proposes a practical orthography for it. It also includes the c. 1,250- item wordlist on which the analysis is based, collected intermittently in the field 2006-2008.
  • Casasanto, D. (2009). [Review of the book Music, language, and the brain by Aniruddh D. Patel]. Language and Cognition, 1(1), 143-146. doi:10.1515/LANGCOG.2009.007.
  • Casasanto, D. (2009). Embodiment of abstract concepts: Good and bad in right- and left-handers. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 351-367. doi:10.1037/a0015854.

    Abstract

    Do people with different kinds of bodies think differently? According to the body-specificity hypothesis, people who interact with their physical environments in systematically different ways should form correspondingly different mental representations. In a test of this hypothesis, 5 experiments investigated links between handedness and the mental representation of abstract concepts with positive or negative valence (e.g., honesty, sadness, intelligence). Mappings from spatial location to emotional valence differed between right- and left-handed participants. Right-handers tended to associate rightward space with positive ideas and leftward space with negative ideas, but left-handers showed the opposite pattern, associating rightward space with negative ideas and leftward with positive ideas. These contrasting mental metaphors for valence cannot be attributed to linguistic experience, because idioms in English associate good with right but not with left. Rather, right- and left-handers implicitly associated positive valence more strongly with the side of space on which they could act more fluently with their dominant hands. These results support the body-specificity hypothesis and provide evidence for the perceptuomotor basis of even the most abstract ideas.
  • 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.
  • Chen, X. S., Collins, L. J., Biggs, P. J., & Penny, D. (2009). High throughput genome-wide survey of small RNAs from the parasitic protists giardia intestinalis and trichomonas vaginalis. Genome biology and evolution, 1, 165-175. doi:10.1093/gbe/evp017.

    Abstract

    RNA interference (RNAi) is a set of mechanisms which regulate gene expression in eukaryotes. Key elements of RNAi are small sense and antisense RNAs from 19 to 26 nucleotides generated from double-stranded RNAs. miRNAs are a major type of RNAi-associated small RNAs and are found in most eukaryotes studied to date. To investigate whether small RNAs associated with RNAi appear to be present in all eukaryotic lineages, and therefore present in the ancestral eukaryote, we studied two deep-branching protozoan parasites, Giardia intestinalis and Trichomonas vaginalis. Little is known about endogenous small RNAs involved in RNAi of these organisms. Using Illumina Solexa sequencing and genome-wide analysis of small RNAs from these distantly related deep-branching eukaryotes, we identified 10 strong miRNA candidates from Giardia and 11 from Trichomonas. We also found evidence of Giardia siRNAs potentially involved in the expression of variant-specific-surface proteins. In addition, 8 new snoRNAs from Trichomonas are identified. Our results indicate that miRNAs are likely to be general in ancestral eukaryotes, and therefore are likely to be a universal feature of eukaryotes.
  • Chen, A. (2009). Intonation and reference maintenance in Turkish learners of Dutch: A first insight. AILE - Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Etrangère, 28(2), 67-91.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates L2 learners’ use of intonation in reference maintenance in comparison to native speakers at three longitudinal points. Nominal referring expressions were elicited from two untutored Turkish learners of Dutch and five native speakers of Dutch via a film retelling task, and were analysed in terms of pitch span and word duration. Effects of two types of change in information states were examined, between new and given and between new and accessible. We found native-like use of word duration in both types of change early on but different performances between learners and development over time in one learner in the use of pitch span. Further, the use of morphosyntactic devices had different effects on the two learners. The inter-learner differences and late systematic use of pitch span, in spite of similar use of pitch span in learners’ L1 and L2, suggest that learning may play a role in the acquisition of intonation as a device for reference maintenance.
  • Chen, A. (2009). Perception of paralinguistic intonational meaning in a second language. Language Learning, 59(2), 367-409.
  • Choi, S., & Bowerman, M. (1991). Learning to express motion events in English and Korean: The influence of language-specific lexicalization patterns. Cognition, 41, 83-121. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(91)90033-Z.

    Abstract

    English and Korean differ in how they lexicalize the components of motionevents. English characteristically conflates Motion with Manner, Cause, or Deixis, and expresses Path separately. Korean, in contrast, conflates Motion with Path and elements of Figure and Ground in transitive clauses for caused Motion, but conflates motion with Deixis and spells out Path and Manner separately in intransitive clauses for spontaneous motion. Children learningEnglish and Korean show sensitivity to language-specific patterns in the way they talk about motion from as early as 17–20 months. For example, learners of English quickly generalize their earliest spatial words — Path particles like up, down, and in — to both spontaneous and caused changes of location and, for up and down, to posture changes, while learners of Korean keep words for spontaneous and caused motion strictly separate and use different words for vertical changes of location and posture changes. These findings challenge the widespread view that children initially map spatial words directly to nonlinguistic spatial concepts, and suggest that they are influenced by the semantic organization of their language virtually from the beginning. We discuss how input and cognition may interact in the early phases of learning to talk about space.
  • Cholin, J., & Levelt, W. J. M. (2009). Effects of syllable preparation and syllable frequency in speech production: Further evidence for syllabic units at a post-lexical level. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24, 662-684. doi:10.1080/01690960802348852.

    Abstract

    In the current paper, we asked at what level in the speech planning process speakers retrieve stored syllables. There is evidence that syllable structure plays an essential role in the phonological encoding of words (e.g., online syllabification and phonological word formation). There is also evidence that syllables are retrieved as whole units. However, findings that clearly pinpoint these effects to specific levels in speech planning are scarce. We used a naming variant of the implicit priming paradigm to contrast voice onset latencies for frequency-manipulated disyllabic Dutch pseudo-words. While prior implicit priming studies only manipulated the item's form and/or syllable structure overlap we introduced syllable frequency as an additional factor. If the preparation effect for syllables obtained in the implicit priming paradigm proceeds beyond phonological planning, i.e., includes the retrieval of stored syllables, then the preparation effect should differ for high- and low frequency syllables. The findings reported here confirm this prediction: Low-frequency syllables benefit significantly more from the preparation than high-frequency syllables. Our findings support the notion of a mental syllabary at a post-lexical level, between the levels of phonological and phonetic encoding.
  • Chwilla, D., Hagoort, P., & Brown, C. M. (1998). The mechanism underlying backward priming in a lexical decision task: Spreading activation versus semantic matching. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 51A(3), 531-560. doi:10.1080/713755773.

    Abstract

    Koriat (1981) demonstrated that an association from the target to a preceding prime, in the absence of an association from the prime to the target, facilitates lexical decision and referred to this effect as "backward priming". Backward priming is of relevance, because it can provide information about the mechanism underlying semantic priming effects. Following Neely (1991), we distinguish three mechanisms of priming: spreading activation, expectancy, and semantic matching/integration. The goal was to determine which of these mechanisms causes backward priming, by assessing effects of backward priming on a language-relevant ERP component, the N400, and reaction time (RT). Based on previous work, we propose that the N400 priming effect reflects expectancy and semantic matching/integration, but in contrast with RT does not reflect spreading activation. Experiment 1 shows a backward priming effect that is qualitatively similar for the N400 and RT in a lexical decision task. This effect was not modulated by an ISI manipulation. Experiment 2 clarifies that the N400 backward priming effect reflects genuine changes in N400 amplitude and cannot be ascribed to other factors. We will argue that these backward priming effects cannot be due to expectancy but are best accounted for in terms of semantic matching/integration.
  • Collins, L. J., & Chen, X. S. (2009). Ancestral RNA: The RNA biology of the eukaryotic ancestor. RNA Biology, 6(5), 495-502. doi:10.4161/rna.6.5.9551.

    Abstract

    Our knowledge of RNA biology within eukaryotes has exploded over the last five years. Within new research we see that some features that were once thought to be part of multicellular life have now been identified in several protist lineages. Hence, it is timely to ask which features of eukaryote RNA biology are ancestral to all eukaryotes. We focus on RNA-based regulation and epigenetic mechanisms that use small regulatory ncRNAs and long ncRNAs, to highlight some of the many questions surrounding eukaryotic ncRNA evolution.
  • Costa, A., Cutler, A., & Sebastian-Galles, N. (1998). Effects of phoneme repertoire on phoneme decision. Perception and Psychophysics, 60, 1022-1031.

    Abstract

    In three experiments, listeners detected vowel or consonant targets in lists of CV syllables constructed from five vowels and five consonants. Responses were faster in a predictable context (e.g., listening for a vowel target in a list of syllables all beginning with the same consonant) than in an unpredictable context (e.g., listening for a vowel target in a list of syllables beginning with different consonants). In Experiment 1, the listeners’ native language was Dutch, in which vowel and consonant repertoires are similar in size. The difference between predictable and unpredictable contexts was comparable for vowel and consonant targets. In Experiments 2 and 3, the listeners’ native language was Spanish, which has four times as many consonants as vowels; here effects of an unpredictable consonant context on vowel detection were significantly greater than effects of an unpredictable vowel context on consonant detection. This finding suggests that listeners’ processing of phonemes takes into account the constitution of their language’s phonemic repertoire and the implications that this has for contextual variability.
  • Cox, S., Rösler, D., & Skiba, R. (1989). A tailor-made database for language teaching material. Literary & Linguistic Computing, 4(4), 260-264.
  • Cozijn, R., Vonk, W., & Noordman, L. G. M. (2003). Afleidingen uit oogbewegingen: De invloed van het connectief 'omdat' op het maken van causale inferenties. Gramma/TTT, 9, 141-156.
  • Crago, M. B., Chen, C., Genesee, F., & Allen, S. E. M. (1998). Power and deference. Journal for a Just and Caring Education, 4(1), 78-95.
  • Cronin, K. A., Schroeder, K. K. E., Rothwell, E. S., Silk, J. B., & Snowdon, C. T. (2009). Cooperatively breeding cottontop tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) do not donate rewards to their long-term mates. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 123(3), 231-241. doi:10.1037/a0015094.

    Abstract

    This study tested the hypothesis that cooperative breeding facilitates the emergence of prosocial behavior by presenting cottontop tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) with the option to provide food rewards to pair-bonded mates. In Experiment 1, tamarins could provide rewards to mates at no additional cost while obtaining rewards for themselves. Contrary to the hypothesis, tamarins did not demonstrate a preference to donate rewards, behaving similar to chimpanzees in previous studies. In Experiment 2, the authors eliminated rewards for the donor for a stricter test of prosocial behavior, while reducing separation distress and food preoccupation. Again, the authors found no evidence for a donation preference. Furthermore, tamarins were significantly less likely to deliver rewards to mates when the mate displayed interest in the reward. The results of this study contrast with those recently reported for cooperatively breeding common marmosets, and indicate that prosocial preferences in a food donation task do not emerge in all cooperative breeders. In previous studies, cottontop tamarins have cooperated and reciprocated to obtain food rewards; the current findings sharpen understanding of the boundaries of cottontop tamarins’ food-provisioning behavior.
  • Cutler, A. (1979). Contemporary reaction to Rudolf Meringer’s speech error research. Historiograpia Linguistica, 6, 57-76.
  • Cutler, A. (2009). Greater sensitivity to prosodic goodness in non-native than in native listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125, 3522-3525. doi:10.1121/1.3117434.

    Abstract

    English listeners largely disregard suprasegmental cues to stress in recognizing words. Evidence for this includes the demonstration of Fear et al. [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 97, 1893–1904 (1995)] that cross-splicings are tolerated between stressed and unstressed full vowels (e.g., au- of autumn, automata). Dutch listeners, however, do exploit suprasegmental stress cues in recognizing native-language words. In this study, Dutch listeners were presented with English materials from the study of Fear et al. Acceptability ratings by these listeners revealed sensitivity to suprasegmental mismatch, in particular, in replacements of unstressed full vowels by higher-stressed vowels, thus evincing greater sensitivity to prosodic goodness than had been shown by the original native listener group.
  • Cutler, A. (1991). Proceed with caution. New Scientist, (1799), 53-54.
  • Cutler, A., Howard, D., & Patterson, K. E. (1989). Misplaced stress on prosody: A reply to Black and Byng. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 6, 67-83.

    Abstract

    The recent claim by Black and Byng (1986) that lexical access in reading is subject to prosodic constraints is examined and found to be unsupported. The evidence from impaired reading which Black and Byng report is based on poorly controlled stimulus materials and is inadequately analysed and reported. An alternative explanation of their findings is proposed, and new data are reported for which this alternative explanation can account but their model cannot. Finally, their proposal is shown to be theoretically unmotivated and in conflict with evidence from normal reading.
  • Cutler, A. (1989). Straw modules [Commentary/Massaro: Speech perception]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 760-762.
  • Cutler, A. (1989). The new Victorians. New Scientist, (1663), 66.
  • Cutler, A., Otake, T., & McQueen, J. M. (2009). Vowel devoicing and the perception of spoken Japanese words. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125(3), 1693-1703. doi:10.1121/1.3075556.

    Abstract

    Three experiments, in which Japanese listeners detected Japanese words embedded in nonsense sequences, examined the perceptual consequences of vowel devoicing in that language. Since vowelless sequences disrupt speech segmentation [Norris et al. (1997). Cognit. Psychol. 34, 191– 243], devoicing is potentially problematic for perception. Words in initial position in nonsense sequences were detected more easily when followed by a sequence containing a vowel than by a vowelless segment (with or without further context), and vowelless segments that were potential devoicing environments were no easier than those not allowing devoicing. Thus asa, “morning,” was easier in asau or asazu than in all of asap, asapdo, asaf, or asafte, despite the fact that the /f/ in the latter two is a possible realization of fu, with devoiced [u]. Japanese listeners thus do not treat devoicing contexts as if they always contain vowels. Words in final position in nonsense sequences, however, produced a different pattern: here, preceding vowelless contexts allowing devoicing impeded word detection less strongly (so, sake was detected less accurately, but not less rapidly, in nyaksake—possibly arising from nyakusake—than in nyagusake). This is consistent with listeners treating consonant sequences as potential realizations of parts of existing lexical candidates wherever possible.
  • Cutler, A., & Butterfield, S. (1991). Word boundary cues in clear speech: A supplementary report. Speech Communication, 10, 335-353. doi:10.1016/0167-6393(91)90002-B.

    Abstract

    One of a listener's major tasks in understanding continuous speech is segmenting the speech signal into separate words. When listening conditions are difficult, speakers can help listeners by deliberately speaking more clearly. In four experiments, we examined how word boundaries are produced in deliberately clear speech. In an earlier report we showed that speakers do indeed mark word boundaries in clear speech, by pausing at the boundary and lengthening pre-boundary syllables; moreover, these effects are applied particularly to boundaries preceding weak syllables. In English, listeners use segmentation procedures which make word boundaries before strong syllables easier to perceive; thus marking word boundaries before weak syllables in clear speech will make clear precisely those boundaries which are otherwise hard to perceive. The present report presents supplementary data, namely prosodic analyses of the syllable following a critical word boundary. More lengthening and greater increases in intensity were applied in clear speech to weak syllables than to strong. Mean F0 was also increased to a greater extent on weak syllables than on strong. Pitch movement, however, increased to a greater extent on strong syllables than on weak. The effects were, however, very small in comparison to the durational effects we observed earlier for syllables preceding the boundary and for pauses at the boundary.
  • Dabrowska, E., Rowland, C. F., & Theakston, A. (2009). The acquisition of questions with long-distance dependencies. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(3), 571-597. doi:10.1515/COGL.2009.025.

    Abstract

    A number of researchers have claimed that questions and other constructions with long distance dependencies (LDDs) are acquired relatively early, by age 4 or even earlier, in spite of their complexity. Analysis of LDD questions in the input available to children suggests that they are extremely stereotypical, raising the possibility that children learn lexically specific templates such as WH do you think S-GAP? rather than general rules of the kind postulated in traditional linguistic accounts of this construction. We describe three elicited imitation experiments with children aged from 4;6 to 6;9 and adult controls. Participants were asked to repeat prototypical questions (i.e., questions which match the hypothesised template), unprototypical questions (which depart from it in several respects) and declarative counterparts of both types of interrogative sentences. The children performed significantly better on the prototypical variants of both constructions, even when both variants contained exactly the same lexical material, while adults showed prototypicality e¤ects for LDD questions only. These results suggest that a general declarative complementation construction emerges quite late in development (after age 6), and that even adults rely on lexically specific templates for LDD questions.
  • Damian, M. F., & Abdel Rahman, R. (2003). Semantic priming in the naming of objects and famous faces. British Journal of Psychology, 94(4), 517-527.

    Abstract

    Researchers interested in face processing have recently debated whether access to the name of a known person occurs in parallel with retrieval of semantic-biographical codes, rather than in a sequential fashion. Recently, Schweinberger, Burton, and Kelly (2001) took a failure to obtain a semantic context effect in a manual syllable judgment task on names of famous faces as support for this position. In two experiments, we compared the effects of visually presented categorically related prime words with either objects (e.g. prime: animal; target: dog) or faces of celebrities (e.g. prime: actor; target: Bruce Willis) as targets. Targets were either manually categorized with regard to the number of syllables (as in Schweinberger et al.), or they were overtly named. For neither objects nor faces was semantic priming obtained in syllable decisions; crucially, however, priming was obtained when objects and faces were overtly named. These results suggest that both face and object naming are susceptible to semantic context effects
  • Davids, N., Van den Brink, D., Van Turennout, M., Mitterer, H., & Verhoeven, L. (2009). Towards neurophysiological assessment of phonemic discrimination: Context effects of the mismatch negativity. Clinical Neurophysiology, 120, 1078-1086. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2009.01.018.

    Abstract

    This study focusses on the optimal paradigm for simultaneous assessment of auditory and phonemic discrimination in clinical populations. We investigated (a) whether pitch and phonemic deviants presented together in one sequence are able to elicit mismatch negativities (MMNs) in healthy adults and (b) whether MMN elicited by a change in pitch is modulated by the presence of the phonemic deviants.
  • Davidson, D. J., & Indefrey, P. (2009). An event-related potential study on changes of violation and error responses during morphosyntactic learning. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(3), 433-446. Retrieved from http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/jocn.2008.21031.

    Abstract

    Based on recent findings showing electrophysiological changes in adult language learners after relatively short periods of training, we hypothesized that adult Dutch learners of German would show responses to German gender and adjective declension violations after brief instruction. Adjective declension in German differs from previously studied morphosyntactic regularities in that the required suffixes depend not only on the syntactic case, gender, and number features to be expressed, but also on whether or not these features are already expressed on linearly preceding elements in the noun phrase. Violation phrases and matched controls were presented over three test phases (pretest and training on the first day, and a posttest one week later). During the pretest, no electrophysiological differences were observed between violation and control conditions, and participants’ classification performance was near chance. During the training and posttest phases, classification improved, and there was a P600-like violation response to declension but not gender violations. An error-related response during training was associated with improvement in grammatical discrimination from pretest to posttest. The results show that rapid changes in neuronal responses can be observed in adult learners of a complex morphosyntactic rule, and also that error-related electrophysiological responses may relate to grammar acquisition.
  • Davidson, D. J., & Indefrey, P. (2009). Plasticity of grammatical recursion in German learners of Dutch. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24, 1335-1369. doi:10.1080/01690960902981883.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have examined cross-serial and embedded complement clauses in West Germanic in order to distinguish between different types of working memory models of human sentence processing, as well as different formal language models. Here, adult plasticity in the use of these constructions is investigated by examining the response of German-speaking learners of Dutch using magnetoencephalography (MEG). In three experimental sessions spanning their initial acquisition of Dutch, participants performed a sentence-scene matching task with Dutch sentences including two different verb constituent orders (Dutch verb order, German verb order), and in addition rated similar constructions in a separate rating task. The average planar gradient of the evoked field to the initial verb within the cluster revealed a larger evoked response for the German order relative to the Dutch order between 0.2 to 0.4 s over frontal sensors after 2 weeks, but not initially. The rating data showed that constructions consistent with Dutch grammar, but inconsistent with the German grammar were initially rated as unacceptable, but this preference reversed after 3 months. The behavioural and electrophysiological results suggest that cortical responses to verb order preferences in complement clauses can change within 3 months after the onset of adult language learning, implying that this aspect of grammatical processing remains plastic into adulthood.
  • Davies, R., Kidd, E., & Lander, K. (2009). Investigating the psycholinguistic correlates of speechreading in preschool age children. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 44(2), 164-174. doi:10.1080/13682820801997189.

    Abstract

    Background: Previous research has found that newborn infants can match phonetic information in the lips and voice from as young as ten weeks old. There is evidence that access to visual speech is necessary for normal speech development. Although we have an understanding of this early sensitivity, very little research has investigated older children's ability to speechread whole words. Aims: The aim of this study was to identify aspects of preschool children's linguistic knowledge and processing ability that may contribute to speechreading ability. We predicted a significant correlation between receptive vocabulary and speechreading, as well as phonological working memory to be a predictor of speechreading performance. Methods & Procedures: Seventy-six children (n = 76) aged between 2;10 and 4;11 years participated. Children were given three pictures and were asked to point to the picture that they thought that the experimenter had silently mouthed (ten trials). Receptive vocabulary and phonological working memory were also assessed. The results were analysed using Pearson correlations and multiple regressions. Outcomes & Results: The results demonstrated that the children could speechread at a rate greater than chance. Pearson correlations revealed significant, positive correlations between receptive vocabulary and speechreading score, phonological error rate and age. Further correlations revealed significant, positive relationships between The Children's Test of Non-Word Repetition (CNRep) and speechreading score, phonological error rate and age. Multiple regression analyses showed that receptive vocabulary best predicts speechreading ability over and above phonological working memory. Conclusions & Implications: The results suggest that preschool children are capable of speechreading, and that this ability is related to vocabulary size. This suggests that children aged between 2;10 and 4;11 are sensitive to visual information in the form of audio-visual mappings. We suggest that current and future therapies are correct to include visual feedback as a therapeutic tool; however, future research needs to be conducted in order to elucidate further the role of speechreading in development.
  • Dediu, D. (2009). Genetic biasing through cultural transmission: Do simple Bayesian models of language evolution generalize? Journal of Theoretical Biology, 259, 552-561. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.04.004.

    Abstract

    The recent Bayesian approaches to language evolution and change seem to suggest that genetic biases can impact on the characteristics of language, but, at the same time, that its cultural transmission can partially free it from these same genetic constraints. One of the current debates centres on the striking differences between sampling and a posteriori maximising Bayesian learners, with the first converging on the prior bias while the latter allows a certain freedom to language evolution. The present paper shows that this difference disappears if populations more complex than a single teacher and a single learner are considered, with the resulting behaviours more similar to the sampler. This suggests that generalisations based on the language produced by Bayesian agents in such homogeneous single agent chains are not warranted. It is not clear which of the assumptions in such models are responsible, but these findings seem to support the rising concerns on the validity of the “acquisitionist” assumption, whereby the locus of language change and evolution is taken to be the first language acquirers (children) as opposed to the competent language users (the adults).
  • Dimroth, C., & Klein, W. (2009). Einleitung. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 153, 5-9.
  • Dimroth, C. (2009). L'acquisition de la finitude en allemand L2 à différents âges. AILE (Acquisition et Interaction en Langue étrangère)/LIA (Languages, Interaction, Acquisition), 1(1), 113-135.

    Abstract

    Ultimate attainment in adult second language learners often differs tremendously from the end state typically achieved by young children learning their first language (L1) or a second language (L2). The research summarized in this article concentrates on developmental steps and orders of acquisition attested in learners of different ages. Findings from a longitudinal study concerned with the acquisition of verbal morpho-syntax in German as an L2 by two young Russian learners (8 and 14 years old) are compared to findings from the acquisition of the same target language by younger children and by untutored adult learners. The study focuses on the acquisition of verbal morphology, the role of auxiliary verbs and the position of finite and non finite verbs in relation to negation and additive scope particles.
  • Dimroth, C. (2009). Lernervarietäten im Sprachunterricht. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 39(153), 60-80.
  • Dimroth, C. (1998). Indiquer la portée en allemand L2: Une étude longitudinale de l'acquisition des particules de portée. AILE (Acquisition et Interaction en Langue étrangère), 11, 11-34.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). The enduring spoken word [Comment on Oard 2008]. Science, 323(5917), 1010-1011. doi:10.1126/science.323.5917.1010b.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). The selective advantage of body-part terms. Journal of Pragmatics, 41(10), 2130-2136. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2008.11.008.

    Abstract

    This paper addresses the question why body-part terms are so often used to talk about other things than body parts. It is argued that the strategy of falling back on stable common ground to maximize the chances of successful communication is the driving force behind the selective advantage of body-part terms. The many different ways in which languages may implement this universal strategy suggest that, in order to properly understand the privileged role of the body in the evolution of linguistic signs, we have to look beyond the body to language in its socio-cultural context. A theory which acknowledges the interacting influences of stable common ground and diversified cultural practices on the evolution of linguistic signs will offer the most explanatory power for both universal patterns and language-specific variation.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). Kããã [finalist photo in the 2008 AAA Photo Contest]. Anthropology News, 50(3), 23-23.

    Abstract

    Kyeei Yao, an age group leader, oversees a festival in Akpafu-Mempeasem, Volta Region, Ghana. The expensive draped cloth, Ashanti-inspired wreath, strings of beads that are handed down through the generations, and digital wristwatch work together to remind us that culture is a moving target, always renewing and reshaping itself. Kããã is a Siwu ideophone for "looking attentively".
  • Doherty, M., & Klein, W. (Eds.). (1991). Übersetzung [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (84).
  • Drude, S. (2009). Nasal harmony in Awetí ‐ A declarative account. ReVEL - Revista Virtual de Estudos da Linguagem, (3). Retrieved from http://www.revel.inf.br/en/edicoes/?mode=especial&id=16.

    Abstract

    This article describes and analyses nasal harmony (or spreading of nasality) in Awetí. It first shows generally how sounds in prefixes adapt to nasality or orality of stems, and how nasality in stems also ‘extends’ to the left. With abstract templates we show which phonetically nasal or oral sequences are possible in Awetí (focusing on stops, pre-nasalized stops and nasals) and which phonological analysis is appropriate for account for this regularities. In Awetí, there are intrinsically nasal and oral vowels and ‘neutral’ vowels which adapt phonetically to a following vowel or consonant, as is the case of sonorant consonants. Pre-nasalized stops such as “nt” are nasalized variants of stops, not post-oralized variants of nasals as in Tupí-Guaranian languages. For nasals and stops in syllable coda (end of morphemes), we postulate arqui-phonemes which adapt to the preceding vowel or a following consonant. Finally, using a declarative approach, the analysis formulates ‘rules’ (statements) which account for the ‘behavior’ of nasality in Awetí words, making use of “structured sequences” on both the phonetic and phonological levels. So, each unit (syllable, morpheme, word etc.) on any level has three components, a sequence of segments, a constituent structure (where pre-nasalized stops, like diphthongs, correspond to two segments), and an intonation structure. The statements describe which phonetic variants can be combined (concatenated) with which other variants, depending on their nasality or orality.
  • Duffield, N., Matsuo, A., & Roberts, L. (2009). Factoring out the parallelism effect in VP-ellipsis: English vs. Dutch contrasts. Second Language Research, 25, 427-467. doi:10.1177/0267658309349425.

    Abstract

    Previous studies, including Duffield and Matsuo (2001; 2002; 2009), have demonstrated second language learners’ overall sensitivity to a parallelism constraint governing English VP-ellipsis constructions: like native speakers (NS), advanced Dutch, Spanish and Japanese learners of English reliably prefer ellipsis clauses with structurally parallel antecedents over those with non-parallel antecedents. However, these studies also suggest that, in contrast to English native speakers, L2 learners’ sensitivity to parallelism is strongly influenced by other non-syntactic formal factors, such that the constraint applies in a comparatively restricted range of construction-specific contexts. This article reports a set of follow-up experiments — from both computer-based as well as more traditional acceptability judgement tasks — that systematically manipulates these other factors. Convergent results from these tasks confirm a qualitative difference in the judgement patterns of the two groups, as well as important differences between theoreticians’ judgements and those of typical native speakers. We consider the implications of these findings for theories of ultimate attainment in second language acquisition (SLA), as well as for current theoretical accounts of ellipsis.
  • Dunn, M. (2009). Contact and phylogeny in Island Melanesia. Lingua, 11(11), 1664-1678. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2007.10.026.

    Abstract

    This paper shows that despite evidence of structural convergence between some of the Austronesian and non-Austronesian (Papuan) languages of Island Melanesia, statistical methods can detect two independent genealogical signals derived from linguistic structural features. Earlier work by the author and others has presented a maximum parsimony analysis which gave evidence for a genealogical connection between the non-Austronesian languages of island Melanesia. Using the same data set, this paper demonstrates for the non-statistician the application of more sophisticated statistical techniques—including Bayesian methods of phylogenetic inference, and shows that the evidence for common ancestry is if anything stronger than originally supposed.
  • Dunn, M. (2003). Pioneers of Island Melanesia project. Oceania Newsletter, 30/31, 1-3.
  • Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I., & Senft, G. (1991). Trobriander (Papua-Neu-guinea, Trobriand -Inseln, Kaile'una) Tänze zur Einleitung des Erntefeier-Rituals. Film E 3129. Trobriander (Papua-Neuguinea, Trobriand-Inseln, Kiriwina); Ausschnitte aus einem Erntefesttanz. Film E3130. Publikationen zu wissenschaftlichen Filmen. Sektion Ethnologie, 17, 1-17.
  • Eimer, M., Kiss, M., Press, C., & Sauter, D. (2009). The roles of feature-specific task set and bottom-up salience in attentional capture: An ERP study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35, 1316-1328. doi:10.1037/a0015872.

    Abstract

    We investigated the roles of top-down task set and bottom-up stimulus salience for feature-specific attentional capture. ERPs and behavioural performance were measured in two experiments where spatially nonpredictive cues preceded visual search arrays that included a colour-defined target. When cue arrays contained a target-colour singleton, behavioural spatial cueing effects were accompanied by a cue-induced N2pc component, indicative of attentional capture. Behavioural cueing effects and N2pc components were only minimally attenuated for non-singleton relative to singleton target-colour cues, demonstrating that top-down task set has a much greater impact on attentional capture than bottom-up salience. For nontarget-colour singleton cues, no N2pc was triggered, but an anterior N2 component indicative of top-down inhibition was observed. In Experiment 2, these cues produced an inverted behavioural cueing effect, which was accompanied by a delayed N2pc to targets presented at cued locations. These results suggest that perceptually salient visual stimuli without task-relevant features trigger a transient location-specific inhibition process that prevents attentional capture, but delays the selection of subsequent target events.
  • Enard, W., Gehre, S., Hammerschmidt, K., Hölter, S. M., Blass, T., Somel, M., Brückner, M. K., Schreiweis, C., Winter, C., Sohr, R., Becker, L., Wiebe, V., Nickel, B., Giger, T., Müller, U., Groszer, M., Adler, T., Aguilar, A., Bolle, I., Calzada-Wack, J. and 36 moreEnard, W., Gehre, S., Hammerschmidt, K., Hölter, S. M., Blass, T., Somel, M., Brückner, M. K., Schreiweis, C., Winter, C., Sohr, R., Becker, L., Wiebe, V., Nickel, B., Giger, T., Müller, U., Groszer, M., Adler, T., Aguilar, A., Bolle, I., Calzada-Wack, J., Dalke, C., Ehrhardt, N., Favor, J., Fuchs, H., Gailus-Durner, V., Hans, W., Hölzlwimmer, G., Javaheri, A., Kalaydjiev, S., Kallnik, M., Kling, E., Kunder, S., Moßbrugger, I., Naton, B., Racz, I., Rathkolb, B., Rozman, J., Schrewe, A., Busch, D. H., Graw, J., Ivandic, B., Klingenspor, M., Klopstock, T., Ollert, M., Quintanilla-Martinez, L., Schulz, H., Wolf, E., Wurst, W., Zimmer, A., Fisher, S. E., Morgenstern, R., Arendt, T., Hrabé de Angelis, M., Fischer, J., Schwarz, J., & Pääbo, S. (2009). A humanized version of Foxp2 affects cortico-basal ganglia circuits in mice. Cell, 137(5), 961-971. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.03.041.

    Abstract

    It has been proposed that two amino acid substitutions in the transcription factor FOXP2 have been positively selected during human evolution due to effects on aspects of speech and language. Here, we introduce these substitutions into the endogenous Foxp2 gene of mice. Although these mice are generally healthy, they have qualitatively different ultrasonic vocalizations, decreased exploratory behavior and decreased dopamine concentrations in the brain suggesting that the humanized Foxp2 allele affects basal ganglia. In the striatum, a part of the basal ganglia affected in humans with a speech deficit due to a nonfunctional FOXP2 allele, we find that medium spiny neurons have increased dendrite lengths and increased synaptic plasticity. Since mice carrying one nonfunctional Foxp2 allele show opposite effects, this suggests that alterations in cortico-basal ganglia circuits might have been important for the evolution of speech and language in humans.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). [Review of the book Serial verb constructions: A cross-linguistic typology ed. by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon]. Language, 85, 445-451. doi:10.1353/lan.0.0124.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). Common tragedy [Review of the book The native mind and the cultural construction of nature by Scott Atran Douglas Medin]. The Times Literary Supplement, September 18,2009, 10-11.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2003). Demonstratives in space and interaction: Data from Lao speakers and implications for semantic analysis. Language, 79(1), 82-117.

    Abstract

    The semantics of simple (i.e. two-term) systems of demonstratives have in general hitherto been treated as inherently spatial and as marking a symmetrical opposition of distance (‘proximal’ versus ‘distal’), assuming the speaker as a point of origin. More complex systems are known to add further distinctions, such as visibility or elevation, but are assumed to build on basic distinctions of distance. Despite their inherently context-dependent nature, little previous work has based the analysis of demonstratives on evidence of their use in real interactional situations. In this article, video recordings of spontaneous interaction among speakers of Lao (Southwestern Tai, Laos) are examined in an analysis of the two Lao demonstrative determiners nii4 and nan4. A hypothesis of minimal encoded semantics is tested against rich contextual information, and the hypothesis is shown to be consistent with the data. Encoded conventional meanings must be kept distinct from contingent contextual information and context-dependent pragmatic implicatures. Based on examples of the two Lao demonstrative determiners in exophoric uses, the following claims are made. The term nii4 is a semantically general demonstrative, lacking specification of ANY spatial property (such as location or distance). The term nan4 specifies that the referent is ‘not here’ (encoding ‘location’ but NOT ‘distance’). Anchoring the semantic specification in a deictic primitive ‘here’ allows a strictly discrete intensional distinction to be mapped onto an extensional range of endless elasticity. A common ‘proximal’ spatial interpretation for the semantically more general term nii4 arises from the paradigmatic opposition of the two demonstrative determiners. This kind of analysis suggests a reappraisal of our general understanding of the semantics of demonstrative systems universally. To investigate the question in sufficient detail, however, rich contextual data (preferably collected on video) is necessary
  • Enfield, N. J., & Diffloth, G. (2009). Phonology and sketch grammar of Kri, a Vietic language of Laos. Cahiers de Linguistique - Asie Orientale (CLAO), 38(1), 3-69.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2003). Producing and editing diagrams using co-speech gesture: Spatializing non-spatial relations in explanations of kinship in Laos. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 13(1), 7-50. doi:10.1525/jlin.2003.13.1.7.

    Abstract

    This article presents a description of two sequences of talk by urban speakers of Lao (a southwestern Tai language spoken in Laos) in which co-speech gesture plays a central role in explanations of kinship relations and terminology. The speakers spontaneously use hand gestures and gaze to spatially diagram relationships that have no inherent spatial structure. The descriptive sections of the article are prefaced by a discussion of the semiotic complexity of illustrative gestures and gesture diagrams. Gestured signals feature iconic, indexical, and symbolic components, usually in combination, as well as using motion and three-dimensional space to convey meaning. Such diagrams show temporal persistence and structural integrity despite having been projected in midair by evanescent signals (i.e., handmovements anddirected gaze). Speakers sometimes need or want to revise these spatial representations without destroying their structural integrity. The need to "edit" gesture diagrams involves such techniques as hold-and-drag, hold-and-work-with-free-hand, reassignment-of-old-chunk-tonew-chunk, and move-body-into-new-space.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). Language: Social motives for syntax [Review of the book Origins of human communication by Michael Tomasello]. Science, 324(5923), 39. doi:10.1126/science.1172660.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2009). Relationship thinking and human pragmatics. Journal of Pragmatics, 41, 60-78. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2008.09.007.

    Abstract

    The approach to pragmatics explored in this article focuses on elements of social interaction which are of universal relevance, and which may provide bases for a comparative approach. The discussion is anchored by reference to a fragment of conversation from a video-recording of Lao speakers during a home visit in rural Laos. The following points are discussed. First, an understanding of the full richness of context is indispensable for a proper understanding of any interaction. Second, human relationships are a primary locus of social organization, and as such constitute a key focus for pragmatics. Third, human social intelligence forms a universal cognitive under-carriage for interaction, and requires careful cross-cultural study. Fourth, a neo-Peircean framework for a general understanding of semiotic processes gives us a way of stepping away from language as our basic analytical frame. It is argued that in order to get a grip on pragmatics across human groups, we need to take a comparative approach in the biological sense—i.e. with reference to other species as well. From this perspective, human pragmatics is about using semiotic resources to try to meet goals in the realm of social relationships.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2003). The definition of WHAT-d'you-call-it: Semantics and pragmatics of 'recognitional deixis'. Journal of Pragmatics, 35(1), 101-117. doi:10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00066-8.

    Abstract

    Words such as what -d'you-call-it raise issues at the heart of the semantics/pragmatics interface. Expressions of this kind are conventionalised and have meanings which, while very general, are explicitly oriented to the interactional nature of the speech context, drawing attention to a speaker's assumption that the listener can figure out what the speaker is referring to. The details of such meanings can account for functional contrast among similar expressions, in a single language as well as cross-linguistically. The English expressions what -d'you-call-it and you-know-what are compared, along with a comparable Lao expression meaning, roughly, ‘that thing’. Proposed definitions of the meanings of these expressions account for their different patterns of use. These definitions include reference to the speech act participants, a point which supports the view that what -d'you-call-it words can be considered deictic. Issues arising from the descriptive section of this paper include the question of how such terms are derived, as well as their degree of conventionality.
  • Erard, M. (2009). How Many Languages? Linguists Discover New Tongues in China. Science, 324(5925), 332-333. doi:10.1126/science.324.5925.332a.
  • Ernestus, M., & Baayen, R. H. (2003). Predicting the unpredictable: The phonological interpretation of neutralized segments in Dutch. Language, 79(1), 5-38.

    Abstract

    Among the most fascinating data for phonology are those showing how speakers incorporate new words and foreign words into their language system, since these data provide cues to the actual principles underlying language. In this article, we address how speakers deal with neutralized obstruents in new words. We formulate four hypotheses and test them on the basis of Dutch word-final obstruents, which are neutral for [voice]. Our experiments show that speakers predict the characteristics ofneutralized segments on the basis ofphonologically similar morphemes stored in the mental lexicon. This effect of the similar morphemes can be modeled in several ways. We compare five models, among them STOCHASTIC OPTIMALITY THEORY and ANALOGICAL MODELING OF LANGUAGE; all perform approximately equally well, but they differ in their complexity, with analogical modeling oflanguage providing the most economical explanation.
  • Evans, N., & Levinson, S. C. (2009). The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32(5), 429-492. doi:10.1017/S0140525X0999094X.

    Abstract

    Talk of linguistic universals has given cognitive scientists the impression that languages are all built to a common pattern. In fact, there are vanishingly few universals of language in the direct sense that all languages exhibit them. Instead, diversity can be found at almost every level of linguistic organization. This fundamentally changes the object of enquiry from a cognitive science perspective. This target article summarizes decades of cross-linguistic work by typologists and descriptive linguists, showing just how few and unprofound the universal characteristics of language are, once we honestly confront the diversity offered to us by the world's 6,000 to 8,000 languages. After surveying the various uses of “universal,” we illustrate the ways languages vary radically in sound, meaning, and syntactic organization, and then we examine in more detail the core grammatical machinery of recursion, constituency, and grammatical relations. Although there are significant recurrent patterns in organization, these are better explained as stable engineering solutions satisfying multiple design constraints, reflecting both cultural-historical factors and the constraints of human cognition.
  • Evans, N., & Levinson, S. C. (2009). With diversity in mind: Freeing the language sciences from universal grammar [Author's response]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32(5), 472-484. doi:10.1017/S0140525X09990525.

    Abstract

    Our response takes advantage of the wide-ranging commentary to clarify some aspects of our original proposal and augment others. We argue against the generative critics of our coevolutionary program for the language sciences, defend the use of close-to-surface models as minimizing crosslinguistic data distortion, and stress the growing role of stochastic simulations in making generalized historical accounts testable. These methods lead the search for general principles away from idealized representations and towards selective processes. Putting cultural evolution central in understanding language diversity makes learning fundamental in the cognition of language: increasingly powerful models of general learning, paired with channelled caregiver input, seem set to manage language acquisition without recourse to any innate “universal grammar.” Understanding why human language has no clear parallels in the animal world requires a cross-species perspective: crucial ingredients are vocal learning (for which there are clear non-primate parallels) and an intentionattributing cognitive infrastructure that provides a universal base for language evolution. We conclude by situating linguistic diversity within a broader trend towards understanding human cognition through the study of variation in, for example, human genetics, neurocognition, and psycholinguistic processing.
  • Everett, D., & Majid, A. (2009). Adventures in the jungle of language. [Interview by Asifa Majid and Jon Sutton.]. The Psychologist, 22(4), 312-313. Retrieved from http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk/archive/archive_home.cfm?volumeID=22&editionID=174&ArticleID=1494.

    Abstract

    Daniel Everett has spent his career in the Amazon, challenging some fundamental ideas about language and thought. Asifa Majid and Jon Sutton pose the questions
  • Fedorenko, E., Patel, A., Casasanto, D., Winawer, J., & Gibson, E. (2009). Structural integration in language and music: Evidence for a shared system. Memory & Cognition, 37, 1-9. doi:10.3758/MC.37.1.1.

    Abstract

    In this study, we investigate whether language and music share cognitive resources for structural processing. We report an experiment that used sung materials and manipulated linguistic complexity (subject-extracted relative clauses, object-extracted relative clauses) and musical complexity (in-key critical note, out-of-key critical note, auditory anomaly on the critical note involving a loudness increase). The auditory-anomaly manipulation was included in order to test whether the difference between in-key and out-of-key conditions might be due to any salient, unexpected acoustic event. The critical dependent measure involved comprehension accuracies to questions about the propositional content of the sentences asked at the end of each trial. The results revealed an interaction between linguistic and musical complexity such that the difference between the subject- and object-extracted relative clause conditions was larger in the out-of-key condition than in the in-key and auditory-anomaly conditions. These results provide evidence for an overlap in structural processing between language and music.
  • Felser, C., Roberts, L., Marinis, T., & Gross, R. (2003). The processing of ambiguous sentences by first and second language learners of English. Applied Psycholinguistics, 24(3), 453-489.

    Abstract

    This study investigates the way adult second language (L2) learners of English resolve relative clause attachment ambiguities in sentences such as The dean liked the secretary of the professor who was reading a letter. Two groups of advanced L2 learners of English with Greek or German as their first language participated in a set of off-line and on-line tasks. The results indicate that the L2 learners do not process ambiguous sentences of this type in the same way as adult native speakers of English do. Although the learners’ disambiguation preferences were influenced by lexical–semantic properties of the preposition linking the two potential antecedent noun phrases (of vs. with), there was no evidence that they applied any phrase structure–based ambiguity resolution strategies of the kind that have been claimed to influence sentence processing in monolingual adults. The L2 learners’ performance also differs markedly from the results obtained from 6- to 7-year-old monolingual English children in a parallel auditory study, in that the children’s attachment preferences were not affected by the type of preposition at all. We argue that children, monolingual adults, and adult L2 learners differ in the extent to which they are guided by phrase structure and lexical–semantic information during sentence processing.
  • Fisher, S. E., Lai, C. S., & Monaco, a. A. P. (2003). Deciphering the genetic basis of speech and language disorders. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 26, 57-80. doi:10.1146/annurev.neuro.26.041002.131144.

    Abstract

    A significant number of individuals have unexplained difficulties with acquiring normal speech and language, despite adequate intelligence and environmental stimulation. Although developmental disorders of speech and language are heritable, the genetic basis is likely to involve several, possibly many, different risk factors. Investigations of a unique three-generation family showing monogenic inheritance of speech and language deficits led to the isolation of the first such gene on chromosome 7, which encodes a transcription factor known as FOXP2. Disruption of this gene causes a rare severe speech and language disorder but does not appear to be involved in more common forms of language impairment. Recent genome-wide scans have identified at least four chromosomal regions that may harbor genes influencing the latter, on chromosomes 2, 13, 16, and 19. The molecular genetic approach has potential for dissecting neurological pathways underlying speech and language disorders, but such investigations are only just beginning.
  • Fisher, S. E., & Scharff, C. (2009). FOXP2 as a molecular window into speech and language [Review article]. Trends in Genetics, 25, 166-177. doi:10.1016/j.tig.2009.03.002.

    Abstract

    Rare mutations of the FOXP2 transcription factor gene cause a monogenic syndrome characterized by impaired speech development and linguistic deficits. Recent genomic investigations indicate that its downstream neural targets make broader impacts on common language impairments, bridging clinically distinct disorders. Moreover, the striking conservation of both FoxP2 sequence and neural expression in different vertebrates facilitates the use of animal models to study ancestral pathways that have been recruited towards human speech and language. Intriguingly, reduced FoxP2 dosage yields abnormal synaptic plasticity and impaired motor-skill learning in mice, and disrupts vocal learning in songbirds. Converging data indicate that Foxp2 is important for modulating the plasticity of relevant neural circuits. This body of research represents the first functional genetic forays into neural mechanisms contributing to human spoken language.
  • Fisher, S. E., Vargha-Khadem, F., Watkins, K. E., Monaco, A. P., & Pembrey, M. E. (1998). Localisation of a gene implicated in a severe speech and language disorder. Nature Genetics, 18, 168 -170. doi:10.1038/ng0298-168.

    Abstract

    Between 2 and 5% of children who are otherwise unimpaired have significant difficulties in acquiring expressive and/or receptive language, despite adequate intelligence and opportunity. While twin studies indicate a significant role for genetic factors in developmental disorders of speech and language, the majority of families segregating such disorders show complex patterns of inheritance, and are thus not amenable for conventional linkage analysis. A rare exception is the KE family, a large three-generation pedigree in which approximately half of the members are affected with a severe speech and language disorder which appears to be transmitted as an autosomal dominant monogenic trait. This family has been widely publicised as suffering primarily from a defect in the use of grammatical suffixation rules, thus supposedly supporting the existence of genes specific to grammar. The phenotype, however, is broader in nature, with virtually every aspect of grammar and of language affected. In addition, affected members have a severe orofacial dyspraxia, and their speech is largely incomprehensible to the naive listener. We initiated a genome-wide search for linkage in the KE family and have identified a region on chromosome 7 which co-segregates with the speech and language disorder (maximum lod score = 6.62 at theta = 0.0), confirming autosomal dominant inheritance with full penetrance. Further analysis of microsatellites from within the region enabled us to fine map the locus responsible (designated SPCH1) to a 5.6-cM interval in 7q31, thus providing an important step towards its identification. Isolation of SPCH1 may offer the first insight into the molecular genetics of the developmental process that culminates in speech and language.

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