Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 604
  • Adank, P., & McQueen, J. M. (2007). The effect of an unfamiliar regional accent on spoken-word comprehension. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2007) (pp. 1925-1928). Dudweiler: Pirrot.

    Abstract

    This study aimed first to determine whether there is a delay associated with processing words in an unfamiliar regional accent compared to words in a familiar regional accent, and second to establish whether short-term exposure to an unfamiliar accent affects the speed and accuracy of comprehension of words spoken in that accent. Listeners performed an animacy decision task for words spoken in their own and in an unfamiliar accent. Next, they were exposed to approximately 20 minutes of speech in one of these two accents. After exposure, they repeated the animacy decision task. Results showed a considerable delay in word processing for the unfamiliar accent, but no effect of short-term exposure.
  • Aleman, A., Formisano, E., Koppenhagen, H., Hagoort, P., De Haan, E. H. F., & Kahn, R. S. (2005). The functional neuroanatomy of metrical stress evaluation of perceived and imagined spoken words. Cerebral Cortex, 15(2), 221-228. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhh124.

    Abstract

    We hypothesized that areas in the temporal lobe that have been implicated in the phonological processing of spoken words would also be activated during the generation and phonological processing of imagined speech. We tested this hypothesis using functional magnetic resonance imaging during a behaviorally controlled task of metrical stress evaluation. Subjects were presented with bisyllabic words and had to determine the alternation of strong and weak syllables. Thus, they were required to discriminate between weak-initial words and strong-initial words. In one condition, the stimuli were presented auditorily to the subjects (by headphones). In the other condition the stimuli were presented visually on a screen and subjects were asked to imagine hearing the word. Results showed activation of the supplementary motor area, inferior frontal gyrus (Broca's area) and insula in both conditions. In the superior temporal gyrus (STG) and in the superior temporal sulcus (STS) strong activation was observed during the auditory (perceptual) condition. However, a region located in the posterior part of the STS/STG also responded during the imagery condition. No activation of this same region of the STS was observed during a control condition which also involved processing of visually presented words, but which required a semantic decision from the subject. We suggest that processing of metrical stress, with or without auditory input, relies in part on cortical interface systems located in the posterior part of STS/STG. These results corroborate behavioral evidence regarding phonological loop involvement in auditory–verbal imagery.
  • Allen, S. E. M. (1998). A discourse-pragmatic explanation for the subject-object asymmetry in early null arguments. In A. Sorace, C. Heycock, & R. Shillcock (Eds.), Proceedings of the GALA '97 Conference on Language Acquisition (pp. 10-15). Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.

    Abstract

    The present paper assesses discourse-pragmatic factors as a potential explanation for the subject-object assymetry in early child language. It identifies a set of factors which characterize typical situations of informativeness (Greenfield & Smith, 1976), and uses these factors to identify informative arguments in data from four children aged 2;0 through 3;6 learning Inuktitut as a first language. In addition, it assesses the extent of the links between features of informativeness on one hand and lexical vs. null and subject vs. object arguments on the other. Results suggest that a pragmatics account of the subject-object asymmetry can be upheld to a greater extent than previous research indicates, and that several of the factors characterizing informativeness are good indicators of those arguments which tend to be omitted in early child language.
  • Allen, S. E. M. (1998). Categories within the verb category: Learning the causative in Inuktitut. Linguistics, 36(4), 633-677.
  • Allen, S., Ozyurek, A., Kita, S., Brown, A., Furman, R., Ishizuka, T., & Fujii, M. (2007). Language-specific and universal influences in children's syntactic packaging of manner and path: A comparison of English, Japanese, and Turkish. Cognition, 102, 16-48. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2005.12.006.

    Abstract

    Different languages map semantic elements of spatial relations onto different lexical and syntactic units. These crosslinguistic differences raise important questions for language development in terms of how this variation is learned by children. We investigated how Turkish-, English-, and Japanese-speaking children (mean age 3;8) package the semantic elements of Manner and Path onto syntactic units when both the Manner and the Path of the moving Figure occur simultaneously and are salient in the event depicted. Both universal and language-specific patterns were evident in our data. Children used the semantic-syntactic mappings preferred by adult speakers of their own languages, and even expressed subtle syntactic differences that encode different relations between Manner and Path in the same way as their adult counterparts (i.e., Manner causing vs. incidental to Path). However, not all types of semantics-syntax mappings were easy for children to learn (e.g., expressing Manner and Path elements in two verbal clauses). In such cases, Turkish- and Japanese-speaking children frequently used syntactic patterns that were not typical in the target language but were similar to patterns used by English-speaking children, suggesting some universal influence. Thus, both language-specific and universal tendencies guide the development of complex spatial expressions.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2005). "The woman is seeable" and "The woman perceives seeing": Undergoer voice constructions in Ewe and Likpe. In M. Dakubu, & E. Osam (Eds.), Studies in languages of the Volta Basin (pp. 43-62). Legon: University of Ghana. Department of Linguistics.
  • Ameka, F. K., & Essegbey, J. (2007). Cut and break verbs in Ewe and the causative alternation construction. Cognitive Linguistics, 18(2), 241-250. doi:10.1515/COG.2007.011.

    Abstract

    Ewe verbs covering the cutting and breaking domain divide into four morpho-syntactic classes that can be ranked according to agentivity. We demonstrate that the highly non-agentive break verbs participate in the causative-inchoative alternation while the highly agentive cut verbs do not, as expected from Guerssel et al.'s (1985) hypothesis. However, four verbs tso 'cut with precision', 'cut', 'snap-off', and dze 'split', are used transitively when an instrument is required for the severance to be effected, and intransitively when not. We reject a lexicalist analysis that would postulate polysemy for these verbs and argue for a construction approach.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2005). Forms of secondary predication in serializing languages: On depictives in Ewe. In N. P. Himmelmann, & E. Schultze-Berndt (Eds.), Secondary predication and adverbial modification: The typology of depictives (pp. 335-378). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2007). Grammatical borrowing in Likpe (Sɛkpɛlé). In Y. Matras, & J. Sakel (Eds.), Grammatical borrowing in cross-linguistic perspective (pp. 107-122). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Ameka, F. K., & Levinson, S. C. (2007). Introduction-The typology and semantics of locative predicates: Posturals, positionals and other beasts. Linguistics, 45(5), 847-872. doi:10.1515/LING.2007.025.

    Abstract

    This special issue is devoted to a relatively neglected topic in linguistics, namely the verbal component of locative statements. English tends, of course, to use a simple copula in utterances like “The cup is on the table”, but many languages, perhaps as many as half of the world's languages, have a set of alternate verbs, or alternate verbal affixes, which contrast in this slot. Often these are classificatory verbs of 'sitting', 'standing' and 'lying'. For this reason, perhaps, Aristotle listed position among his basic (“noncomposite”) categories.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2005). Multiverb constructions on the West African littoral: Microvariation and areal typology. In M. Vulchanova, & T. A. Afarli (Eds.), Grammar and beyond: Essays in honour of Lars Hellan (pp. 15-42). Oslo: Novus.
  • Ameka, F. K. (1998). Particules énonciatives en Ewe. Faits de langues, 6(11/12), 179-204.

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

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

    Abstract

    This special issue is devoted to a relatively neglected topic in linguistics, namely the verbal component of locative statements. English tends, of course, to use a simple copula in utterances like “The cup is on the table”, but many languages, perhaps as many as half of the world's languages, have a set of alternate verbs, or alternate verbal affixes, which contrast in this slot. Often these are classificatory verbs of ‘sitting’, ‘standing’ and ‘lying’. For this reason, perhaps, Aristotle listed position among his basic (“noncomposite”) categories.
  • Andics, A., McQueen, J. M., & Van Turennout, M. (2007). Phonetic content influences voice discriminability. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2007) (pp. 1829-1832). Dudweiler: Pirrot.

    Abstract

    We present results from an experiment which shows that voice perception is influenced by the phonetic content of speech. Dutch listeners were presented with thirteen speakers pronouncing CVC words with systematically varying segmental content, and they had to discriminate the speakers’ voices. Results show that certain segments help listeners discriminate voices more than other segments do. Voice information can be extracted from every segmental position of a monosyllabic word and is processed rapidly. We also show that although relative discriminability within a closed set of voices appears to be a stable property of a voice, it is also influenced by segmental cues – that is, perceived uniqueness of a voice depends on what that voice says.
  • Andrieu, C., Figuerola, H., Jacquemot, E., Le Guen, O., Roullet, J., & Salès, C. (2005). Parfum de rose, odeur de sainteté: Un sermon Tzeltal sur la première sainte des Amériques. Ateliers du LESC, 29, 11-67. Retrieved from http://ateliers.revues.org/document174.html.
  • Baayen, R. H. (2005). Data mining at the intersection of psychology and linguistics. In A. Cutler (Ed.), Twenty-first century psycholinguistics: Four cornerstones (pp. 69-83). Mahwah: Erlbaum.
  • Baayen, R. H., & Moscoso del Prado Martín, F. (2005). Semantic density and past-tense formation in three Germanic languages. Language, 81(3), 666-698. doi:10.1353/lan.2005.0112.

    Abstract

    it is widely believed that the difference between regular and irregular verbs is restricted to form. This study questions that belief. We report a series of lexical statistics showing that irregular verbs cluster in denser regions in semantic space. Compared to regular verbs, irregular verbs tend to have more semantic neighbors that in turn have relatively many other semantic neighbors that are morphologically irregular. We show that this greater semantic density for irregulars is reflected in association norms, familiarity ratings, visual lexical-decision latencies, and word-naming latencies. Meta-analyses of the materials of two neuroimaging studies show that in these studies, regularity is confounded with differences in semantic density. Our results challenge the hypothesis of the supposed formal encapsulation of rules of inflection and support lines of research in which sensitivity to probability is recognized as intrinsic to human language.
  • Baayen, R. H. (2007). Storage and computation in the mental lexicon. In G. Jarema, & G. Libben (Eds.), The mental lexicon: Core perspectives (pp. 81-104). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • 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.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., Van der Linden, M., Ter Keurs, M., Dijkstra, T., & Hagoort, P. (2005). Theta responses are involved in lexico-semantic retrieval during language processing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17, 530-541. doi:10.1162/0898929053279469.

    Abstract

    Oscillatory neuronal dynamics, observed in the human electroencephalogram (EEG) during language processing, have been related to the dynamic formation of functionally coherent networks that serve the role of integrating the different sources of information needed for understanding the linguistic input. To further explore the functional role of oscillatory synchrony during language processing, we quantified event-related EEG power changes induced by the presentation of open-class (OC) words and closed-class (CC) words in a wide range of frequencies (from 1 to 30 Hz), while subjects read a short story. Word presentation induced three oscillatory components: a theta power increase (4–7 Hz), an alpha power decrease (10–12 Hz), and a beta power decrease (16–21 Hz). Whereas the alpha and beta responses showed mainly quantitative differences between the two word classes, the theta responses showed qualitative differences between OC words and CC words: A theta power increase was found over left temporal areas for OC words, but not for CC words. The left temporal theta increase may index the activation of a network involved in retrieving the lexical–semantic properties of the OC items.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2005). Living in two worlds. In W. R. Louis (Ed.), Burnt orange Britannia (pp. 732-744). Austin: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2007). Report on the XVIth International Conference on Historical Linguistic. General Linguistics, 43, 145-149.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2005). Innovation in Old French syntax and its Latin origins. In S. Kiss, L. Mondin, & G. Salvi (Eds.), Latin et langues romanes: Etudes de linguistique offertes à Jozsef Herman à l’occasion de son 80ème anniversaire (pp. 507-521). Tübingen: Niemeyer.

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  • Bauer, B. L. M. (1998). Impersonal verbs in Italic. Their development from an Indo-European perspective. Journal of Indo-European Studies, 26, 91-120.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (1998). Language loss in Gaul: Socio-historical and linguistic factors in language conflict. Southwest Journal of Linguistics, 15, 23-44.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2007). The definite article in Indo-European: Emergence of a new grammatical category? In E. Stark, E. Leiss, & W. Abraham (Eds.), Nominal determination: Typology, context constraints, and historical emergence (pp. 103-139). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Behnke, K. (1998). The acquisition of phonetic categories in young infants: A self-organising artificial neural network approach. PhD Thesis, University of Twente, Enschede. doi:10.17617/2.2057688.
  • Belke, E., Brysbaert, M., Meyer, A. S., & Ghyselinck, M. (2005). Age of acquisition effects in picture naming: Evidence for a lexical-semantic competition hypothesis. Cognition, 96, B45-B54. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2004.11.006.

    Abstract

    In many tasks the effects of frequency and age of acquisition (AoA) on reaction latencies are similar in size. However, in picture naming the AoA-effect is often significantly larger than expected on the basis of the frequency-effect. Previous explanations of this frequency-independent AoA-effect have attributed it to the organisation of the semantic system or to the way phonological word forms are stored in the mental lexicon. Using a semantic blocking paradigm, we show that semantic context effects on naming latencies are more pronounced for late-acquired than for early-acquired words. This interaction between AoA and naming context is likely to arise during lexical-semantic encoding, which we put forward as the locus for the frequency-independent AoA-effect.
  • Belke, E., Meyer, A. S., & Damian, M. F. (2005). Refractory effects in picture naming as assessed in a semantic blocking paradigm. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A, 58, 667-692. doi:10.1080/02724980443000142.

    Abstract

    In the cyclic semantic blocking paradigm participants repeatedly name sets of objects with semantically related names (homogeneous sets) or unrelated names (heterogeneous sets). The naming latencies are typically longer in related than in unrelated sets. In we replicated this semantic blocking effect and demonstrated that the effect only arose after all objects of a set had been shown and named once. In , the objects of a set were presented simultaneously (instead of on successive trials). Evidence for semantic blocking was found in the naming latencies and in the gaze durations for the objects, which were longer in homogeneous than in heterogeneous sets. For the gaze-to-speech lag between the offset of gaze on an object and the onset of the articulation of its name, a repetition priming effect was obtained but no blocking effect. showed that the blocking effect for speech onset latencies generalized to new, previously unnamed lexical items. We propose that the blocking effect is due to refractory behaviour in the semantic system.
  • Belke, E., & Meyer, A. S. (2007). Single and multiple object naming in healthy ageing. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22, 1178-1211. doi:10.1080/01690960701461541.

    Abstract

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

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  • Bien, H., Levelt, W. J. M., & Baayen, R. H. (2005). Frequency effects in compound production. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(49), 17876-17881.

    Abstract

    Four experiments investigated the role of frequency information in compound production by independently varying the frequencies of the first and second constituent as well as the frequency of the compound itself. Pairs of Dutch noun-noun compounds were selected such that there was a maximal contrast for one frequency while matching the other two frequencies. In a position-response association task, participants first learned to associate a compound with a visually marked position on a computer screen. In the test phase, participants had to produce the associated compound in response to the appearance of the position mark, and we measured speech onset latencies. The compound production latencies varied significantly according to factorial contrasts in the frequencies of both constituting morphemes but not according to a factorial contrast in compound frequency, providing further evidence for decompositional models of speech production. In a stepwise regression analysis of the joint data of Experiments 1-4, however, compound frequency was a significant nonlinear predictor, with facilitation in the low-frequency range and a trend toward inhibition in the high-frequency range. Furthermore, a combination of structural measures of constituent frequencies and entropies explained significantly more variance than a strict decompositional model, including cumulative root frequency as the only measure of constituent frequency, suggesting a role for paradigmatic relations in the mental lexicon.
  • Bien, H. (2007). On the production of morphologically complex words with special attention to effects of frequency. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bohnemeyer, J., Enfield, N. J., Essegbey, J., Ibarretxe-Antuñano, I., Kita, S., Lüpke, F., & Ameka, F. K. (2007). Principles of event segmentation in language: The case of motion events. Language, 83(3), 495-532. doi:10.1353/lan.2007.0116.

    Abstract

    We examine universals and crosslinguistic variation in constraints on event segmentation. Previous typological studies have focused on segmentation into syntactic (Pawley 1987) or intonational units (Givón 1991). We argue that the correlation between such units and semantic/conceptual event representations is language-specific. As an alternative, we introduce the MACRO-EVENT PROPERTY (MEP): a construction has the MEP if it packages event representations such that temporal operators necessarily have scope over all subevents. A case study on the segmentation of motion events into macro-event expressions in eighteen genetically and typologically diverse languages has produced evidence of two types of design principles that impact motion-event segmentation: language-specific lexicalization patterns and universal constraints on form-to-meaning mapping.
  • Bohnemeyer, J. (1998). Sententiale Topics im Yukatekischen. In Z. Dietmar (Ed.), Deskriptive Grammatik und allgemeiner Sprachvergleich (pp. 55-85). Tübingen, Germany: Max-Niemeyer-Verlag.

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  • Bohnemeyer, J. (1998). Temporale Relatoren im Hispano-Yukatekischen Sprachkontakt. In A. Koechert, & T. Stolz (Eds.), Convergencia e Individualidad - Las lenguas Mayas entre hispanización e indigenismo (pp. 195-241). Hannover, Germany: Verlag für Ethnologie.
  • Bohnemeyer, J., & Brown, P. (2007). Standing divided: Dispositional verbs and locative predications in two Mayan languages. Linguistics, 45(5), 1105-1151. doi:0.1515/LING.2007.033.

    Abstract

    The Mayan languages Tzeltal and Yucatec have large form classes of “dispositional” roots which lexicalize spatial properties such as orientation, support/suspension/blockage of motion, and configurations of parts of an entity with respect to other parts. But speakers of the two languages deploy this common lexical resource quite differently. The roots are used in both languages to convey dispositional information (e.g., answering “how” questions), but Tzeltal speakers also use them in canonical locative descriptions (e.g., answering “where” questions), whereas Yucatec speakers only use dispositionals in locative predications when prompted by the context to focus on dispositional properties. We describe the constructions used in locative and dispositional descriptions in response to two different picture stimuli sets. Evidence against the proposal that Tzeltal uses dispositionals to compensate for its single, semantically generic preposition (Brown 1994; Grinevald 2006) comes from the finding that Tzeltal speakers use relational spatial nominals in the “Ground phrase” — the expression of the place at which an entity is located — about as frequently as Yucatec speakers. We consider several alternative hypotheses, including a possible larger typological difference that leads Tzeltal speakers, but not Yucatec speakers, to prefer “theme-specific” verbs not just in locative predications, but in any predication involving a theme argument.
  • Bonte, M. L., Mitterer, H., Zellagui, N., Poelmans, H., & Blomert, L. (2005). Auditory cortical tuning to statistical regularities in phonology. Clinical Neurophysiology, 16(12), 2765-2774. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2005.08.012.

    Abstract

    Objective: Ample behavioral evidence suggests that distributional properties of the language environment influence the processing of speech. Yet, how these characteristics are reflected in neural processes remains largely unknown. The present ERP study investigates neurophysiological correlates of phonotactic probability: the distributional frequency of phoneme combinations. Methods: We employed an ERP measure indicative of experience-dependent auditory memory traces, the mismatch negativity (MMN). We presented pairs of non-words that differed by the degree of phonotactic probability in a codified passive oddball design that minimizes the contribution of acoustic processes. Results: In Experiment 1 the non-word with high phonotactic probability (notsel) elicited a significantly enhanced MMN as compared to the non-word with low phonotactic probability (notkel). In Experiment 2 this finding was replicated with a non-word pair with a smaller acoustic difference (notsel–notfel). An MMN enhancement was not observed in a third acoustic control experiment with stimuli having comparable phonotactic probability (so–fo). Conclusions: Our data suggest that auditory cortical responses to phoneme clusters are modulated by statistical regularities of phoneme combinations. Significance: This study indicates that the language environment is relevant in shaping the neural processing of speech. Furthermore, it provides a potentially useful design for investigating implicit phonological processing in children with anomalous language functions like dyslexia.
  • Borgwaldt, S. R., Hellwig, F. M., & De Groot, A. M. B. (2005). Onset entropy matters: Letter-to-phoneme mappings in seven languages. Reading and Writing, 18, 211-229. doi:10.1007/s11145-005-3001-9.
  • Boroditsky, L., Gaby, A., & Levinson, S. C. (2007). Time in space. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field manual volume 10 (pp. 59-80). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.468721.

    Abstract

    This Field Manual entry has been superceded by the 2008 version: https://doi.org/10.17617/2.492932

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  • Böttner, M. (1998). A collective extension of relational grammar. Logic Journal of the IGPL, 6(2), 175-793. doi:10.1093/jigpal/6.2.175.

    Abstract

    Relational grammar was proposed in Suppes (1976) as a semantical grammar for natural language. Fragments considered so far are restricted to distributive notions. In this article, relational grammar is extended to collective notions.
  • Bowerman, M. (2007). Containment, support, and beyond: Constructing topological spatial categories in first language acquisition. In M. Aurnague, M. Hickmann, & L. Vieu (Eds.), The categorization of spatial entities in language and cognition (pp. 177-203). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Among children’s earliest spatial words are topological forms like ‘in’ and ‘on’. Although these forms name spatial relationships, they also presuppose a classification of ground objects into entities such as “containers” and “surfaces”; hence their relevance for a volume on “spatial entities”. Traditionally, researchers have assumed that semantic categories of space are universal, reflecting a human way of nonlinguistically perceiving and cognizing space. But, as this chapter discusses, spatial categories in fact differ strikingly across languages, and children begin to home in on language-specific classifications extremely early, before age two. Learners do not, it seems, draw only on purely nonlinguistic spatial concepts; they can also actively construct spatial categories on the basis of the linguistic input. Evidence is drawn primarily from research on children learning Korean vs. English.
  • Bowerman, M., & Choi, S. (2007). Kształtowanie znaczeń dla języka: Zjawiska uniwersalne i charakterystyczne dla danego języka w przyswajaniu kategorii semantycznych odnoszących się do przestrzeni [Reprint]. In B. Bokus, & G. W. Shugar (Eds.), Psychologia języka dziecka (pp. 386-424). Gdansk: Wydawnictwo Psychologiczne.

    Abstract

    Reprinted from: Bowerman, M. & Choi, S. (2001). Shaping meanings for language: Universal and language specific in the acquisition of spatial semantic categories. In M. Bowerman & S.L. Levinson (Eds.), Language acquisition and conceptual development (pp. 475-511). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bowerman, M. (2005). Linguistics. In B. Hopkins (Ed.), The Cambridge encyclopedia of child development (pp. 497-501). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bowerman, M., & Choi, S. (2007). Space under construction: Language-specific spatial categorization in first language acquisition [Reprint]. In V. Evans, B. K. Bergen, & J. Zinken (Eds.), The cognitive linguistic reader (pp. 849-879). London: Equinox Publishing.

    Abstract

    Reprinted from Bowerman, M. & Choi, S. (2003). Space under construction: Language-specific spatial categorization in first language acquisition. In D. Gentner & S. Goldin-Meadow (Eds.), Language in Mind (pp. 387-427). Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • 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.
  • Bowerman, M. (2005). Why can't you "open" a nut or "break" a cooked noodle? Learning covert object categories in action word meanings. In L. Gershkoff-Stowe, & D. H. Rakison (Eds.), Building object categories in developmental time (pp. 209-243). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Bramão, I., Mendonça, A., Faísca, L., Ingvar, M., Petersson, K. M., & Reis, A. (2007). The impact of reading and writing skills on a visuo-motor integration task: A comparison between illiterate and literate subjects. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 13(2), 359-364. doi:10.1017/S1355617707070440.

    Abstract

    Previous studies have shown a significant association between reading skills and the performance on visuo-motor tasks. In order to clarify whether reading and writing skills modulate non-linguistic domains, we investigated the performance of two literacy groups on a visuo-motor integration task with non-linguistic stimuli. Twenty-one illiterate participants and twenty matched literate controls were included in the experiment. Subjects were instructed to use the right or the left index finger to point to and touch a randomly presented target on the right or left side of a touch screen. The results showed that the literate subjects were significantly faster in detecting and touching targets on the left compared to the right side of the screen. In contrast, the presentation side did not affect the performance of the illiterate group. These results lend support to the idea that having acquired reading and writing skills, and thus a preferred left-to-right reading direction, influences visual scanning. (JINS, 2007, 13, 359–364
  • Braun, B. (2007). Effects of dialect and context on the realisation of German prenuclear accents. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2007) (pp. 961-964). Dudweiler: Pirrot.

    Abstract

    We investigated whether alignment differences reported for Southern and Northern German speakers (Southerners align peaks in prenuclear accents later than Northerners) are carried over to the production of different functional categories such as contrast. To this end, the realisation of non-contrastive theme accents is compared with those in contrastive theme-rheme pairs such as ‘Sam rented a truck and Johanna rented a car.’ We found that when producing this ‘double-contrast’, speakers mark contrast both phonetically by delaying and rising the peak of the theme accent (‘Johanna’) and/or phonologically by a change in rheme accent type (from high to falling ‘car’). The effect of dialect is complex: a) only in non-contrastive contexts produced with a high rheme accent Southerners align peaks later than Northerners; b) peak delay as a means to signal functional contrast is not used uniformly by the two varieties. Dialect clearly affects the realisation of prenuclear accents but its effect is conditioned by the pragmatic and intonational context.
  • Braun, B., Weber, A., & Crocker, M. (2005). Does narrow focus activate alternative referents? In Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology (pp. 1709-1712).

    Abstract

    Narrow focus refers to accent placement that forces one interpretation of a sentence, which is then often perceived contrastively. Narrow focus is formalised in terms of alternative sets, i.e. contextually or situationally salient alternatives. In this paper, we investigate whether this model is valid also in human utterance processing. We present an eye-tracking experiment to study listeners’ expectations (i.e. eye-movements) with respect to upcoming referents. Some of the objects contrast in colour with objects that were previously referred to, others do not; the objects are referred to with either a narrow focus on the colour adjective or with broad focus on the noun. Results show that narrow focus on the adjective increases early fixations to contrastive referents. Narrow focus hence activates alternative referents in human utterance processing
  • Braun, B. (2005). Production and perception of thematic contrast in German. Oxford: Lang.
  • De Bree, E., Janse, E., & Van de Zande, A. M. (2007). Stress assignment in aphasia: Word and non-word reading and non-word repetition. Brain and Language, 103, 264-275. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2007.07.003.

    Abstract

    This paper investigates stress assignment in Dutch aphasic patients in non-word repetition, as well as in real-word and non-word reading. Performance on the non-word reading task was similar for the aphasic patients and the control group, as mainly regular stress was assigned to the targets. However, there were group differences on the real-word reading and non-word repetition tasks. Unlike the non-brain-damaged group, the patients showed a strong regularization tendency in their repetition of irregular patterns. The patients’ stress error patterns suggest an impairment in retention or retrieval of targets with irregular stress patterns. Limited verbal short-term memory is proposed as a possible underlying cause for the stress difficulties.
  • Bresnan, J., Cueni, A., Nikitina, T., & Baayen, R. H. (2007). Predicting the dative alternation. In G. Bouma, I. Kraemer, & J. Zwarts (Eds.), Cognitive foundations of interpretation (pp. 69-94). Amsterdam: KNAW.

    Abstract

    Theoretical linguists have traditionally relied on linguistic intuitions such as grammaticality judgments for their data. But the massive growth of computer-readable texts and recordings, the availability of cheaper, more powerful computers and software, and the development of new probabilistic models for language have now made the spontaneous use of language in natural settings a rich and easily accessible alternative source of data. Surprisingly, many linguists believe that such ‘usage data’ are irrelevant to the theory of grammar. Four problems are repeatedly brought up in the critiques of usage data— 1. correlated factors seeming to support reductive theories, 2. pooled data invalidating grammatical inference, 3. syntactic choices reducing to lexical biases, and 4. cross-corpus differences undermining corpus studies. Presenting a case study of work on the English dative alternation, we show first,that linguistic intuitions of grammaticality are deeply flawed and seriously underestimate the space of grammatical possibility, and second, that the four problems in the critique of usage data are empirical issues that can be resolved by using modern statistical theory and modelling strategies widely used in other fields. The new models allow linguistic theory to solve more difficult problems than it has in the past, and to build convergent projects with psychology, computer science, and allied fields of cognitive science.
  • Broeder, D., Brugman, H., & Senft, G. (2005). Documentation of languages and archiving of language data at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. Linguistische Berichte, no. 201, 89-103.
  • Broersma, M. (2007). Kettle hinders cat, shadow does not hinder shed: Activation of 'almost embedded' words in nonnative listening. In H. van Hamme, & R. van Son (Eds.), Proceedings of Interspeech 2007 (pp. 1893-1896). Adelaide: Causal Productions.

    Abstract

    A Cross-Modal Priming experiment investigated Dutch listeners’ perception of English words. Target words were embedded in a carrier word (e.g., cat in catalogue) or ‘almost embedded’ in a carrier word except for a mismatch in the perceptually difficult /æ/-/ε/ contrast (e.g., cat in kettle). Previous results showed a bias towards perception of /ε/ over /æ/. The present study shows that presentation of carrier words either containing an /æ/ or an /ε/ led to long lasting inhibition of embedded or ‘almost embedded’ words with an /æ/, but not of words with an /ε/. Thus, both catalogue and kettle hindered recognition of cat, whereas neither schedule nor shadow hindered recognition of shed.
  • Broersma, M., & Van de Ven, M. (2007). More flexible use of perceptual cues in nonnative than in native listening: Preceding vowel duration as a cue for final /v/-/f/. In Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech (New Sounds 2007).

    Abstract

    Three 2AFC experiments investigated Dutch and English listeners’ use of preceding vowel duration for the English final /v/-/f/ contrast. Dutch listeners used vowel duration more flexibly than English listeners did: they could use vowel duration as accurately as native listeners, but were better at ignoring it when it was misleading.
  • Broersma, M. (2005). Perception of familiar contrasts in unfamiliar positions. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 117(6), 3890-3901. doi:10.1121/1.1906060.
  • Broersma, M. (2005). Phonetic and lexical processing in a second language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.58294.

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  • Broersma, M. (2007). Why the 'president' does not excite the 'press: The limits of spurious lexical activation in L2 listening. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetics Sciences (ICPhS 2007) (pp. 1909-1912). Dudweiler: Pirrot.

    Abstract

    Two Cross-Modal Priming experiments assessed lexical activation of unintended words for nonnative (Dutch) and English native listeners. Stimuli mismatched words in final voicing, which in earlier studies caused spurious lexical activation for Dutch listeners. The stimuli were embedded in or cut out of a carrier (PRESident). The presence of a longer lexical competitor in the signal or as a possible continuation of it prevented spurious lexical activation of mismatching words (press).
  • Brown, P. (2007). 'She had just cut/broken off her head': Cutting and breaking verbs in Tzeltal. Cognitive Linguistics, 18(2), 319-330. doi:10.1515/COG.2007.019.

    Abstract

    This paper describes the lexical resources for expressing events of cutting and breaking (C&B hereafter) in the Mayan language Tzeltal. This notional set of verbs is not a class in any grammatical sense; C&B verbs are formally undistinguishable from many other transitive state-change verbs. But they nicely reveal the characteristic specificity of Tzeltal verb semantics: C&B actions are finely differentiated according to the spatial and textural properties of the theme object, with no superordinate term meaning 'either cut in general' or 'break in general'. The paper characterizes the semantics of these verbs and shows that in the great majority of cases it does not predict their argument structure.
  • Brown, P. (1998). [Review of the book by A.J. Wootton, Interaction and the development of mind]. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 4(4), 816-817.
  • Brown, A. (2005). [Review of the book The resilience of language: What gesture creation in deaf children can tell us about how all children learn language by Susan Goldin-Meadow]. Linguistics, 43(3), 662-666.
  • 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, A., & Gullberg, M. (2005). Convergence in emerging and established language system: Evidence from speech and gesture in L1 Japanese. In Y. Terao, & k. Sawasaki (Eds.), Handbook of the 7th International Conference of the Japanese Society for Language Sciences (pp. 172-173). Tokyo: JSLS.
  • 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, A. (2007). Crosslinguistic influence in first and second languages: Convergence in speech and gesture. PhD Thesis, Boston University, Boston.

    Abstract

    Research on second language acquisition typically focuses on how a first language (L1) influences a second language (L2) in different linguistic domains and across modalities. This dissertation, in contrast, explores interactions between languages in the mind of a language learner by asking 1) can an emerging L2 influence an established L1? 2) if so, how is such influence realized? 3) are there parallel influences of the L1 on the L2? These questions were investigated for the expression of Manner (e.g. climb, roll) and Path (e.g. up, down) of motion, areas where substantial crosslinguistic differences exist in speech and co-speech gesture. Japanese and English are typologically distinct in this domain; therefore, narrative descriptions of four motion events were elicited from monolingual Japanese speakers (n=16), monolingual English speakers (n=13), and native Japanese speakers with intermediate knowledge of English (narratives elicited in both their L1 and L2, n=28). Ways in which Path and Manner were expressed at the lexical, syntactic, and gestural levels were analyzed in monolingual and non-monolingual production. Results suggest mutual crosslinguistic influences. In their L1, native Japanese speakers with knowledge of English displayed both Japanese- and English-like use of morphosyntactic elements to express Path and Manner (i.e. a combination of verbs and other constructions). Consequently, non-monolingual L1 discourse contained significantly more Path expressions per clause, with significantly greater mention of Goal of motion than monolingual Japanese and English discourse. Furthermore, the gestures of non-monolingual speakers diverged from their monolingual counterparts with differences in depiction of Manner and gesture perspective (character versus observer). Importantly, non-monolingual production in the L1 was not ungrammatical, but simply reflected altered preferences. As for L2 production, many effects of L1 influence were seen, crucially in areas parallel to those described above. Overall, production by native Japanese speakers who knew English differed from that of monolingual Japanese and English speakers. But L1 and L2 production within non-monolingual individuals was similar. These findings imply a convergence of L1-L2 linguistic systems within the mind of a language learner. Theoretical and methodological implications for SLA research and language assessment with respect to the 'native speaker standard language' are discussed.
  • Brown, P. (2007). Culture-specific influences on semantic development Acquiring the Tzeltal 'benefactive' construction. In B. Pfeiler (Ed.), Learning indigenous languages: Child language acquisition in Mesoamerica (pp. 119-154). Mouton de Gruyter: Berlin.

    Abstract

    Three-place predicates are an important locus for examining how children acquire argument structure and how this process is influenced by the typology of the language they are learning as well as by culturally-specific semantic categories. From a typological perspective, there is reason to expect children to have some trouble expressing three-participant events, given the considerable variation across languages in how these are linguistically coded. Verbs of transfer (‘give’, ‘receive’, etc.) are often considered to be the verbs which canonically appear with three arguments (e.g., Slobin 1985, Gleitman 1990). Yet in the Mayan language Tzeltal, verbs other than transfer verbs appear routinely in the ditransitive construction. Although the three participants are rarely all overtly expressed as NPs, this construction ensures that the ‘recipient’ or or ‘affectee’ participant is overtly marked on the verb. Tzeltal children’s early acquisition of this construction (well before the age of 3;0) shows that they are sensitive to its abstract constructional meaning of ‘affected’ third participant: they do not go initially for ‘transfer’ meanings but are attuned to benefactive or malefactive uses despite the predominance of the verb ‘give’ in the input with this construction. This poses a challenge to acquisition theories (Goldberg 2001, Ninio 1999) that see construction meaning arising from the meaning of the verb most frequently used in a construction.
  • Brown, P. (1998). Early Tzeltal verbs: Argument structure and argument representation. In E. Clark (Ed.), Proceedings of the 29th Annual Stanford Child Language Research Forum (pp. 129-140). Stanford: CSLI Publications.

    Abstract

    The surge of research activity focussing on children's acquisition of verbs (e.g., Tomasello and Merriman 1996) addresses some fundamental questions: Just how variable across languages, and across individual children, is the process of verb learning? How specific are arguments to particular verbs in early child language? How does the grammatical category 'Verb' develop? The position of Universal Grammar, that a verb category is early, contrasts with that of Tomasello (1992), Pine and Lieven and their colleagues (1996, in press), and many others, that children develop a verb category slowly, gradually building up subcategorizations of verbs around pragmatic, syntactic, and semantic properties of the language they are exposed to. On this latter view, one would expect the language which the child is learning, the cultural milieu and the nature of the interactions in which the child is engaged, to influence the process of acquiring verb argument structures. This paper explores these issues by examining the development of argument representation in the Mayan language Tzeltal, in both its lexical and verbal cross-referencing forms, and analyzing the semantic and pragmatic factors influencing the form argument representation takes. Certain facts about Tzeltal (the ergative/ absolutive marking, the semantic specificity of transitive and positional verbs) are proposed to affect the representation of arguments. The first 500 multimorpheme combinations of 3 children (aged between 1;8 and 2;4) are examined. It is argued that there is no evidence of semantically light 'pathbreaking' verbs (Ninio 1996) leading the way into word combinations. There is early productivity of cross-referencing affixes marking A, S, and O arguments (although there are systematic omissions). The paper assesses the respective contributions of three kinds of factors to these results - structural (regular morphology), semantic (verb specificity) and pragmatic (the nature of Tzeltal conversational interaction).
  • Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (2007). Gesichtsbedrohende Akte [reprint: Face-threatening acts, 1987]. In S. K. Herrmann, S. Kraemer, & H. Kuch (Eds.), Verletzende Worte: Die Grammatik sprachlicher Missachtung (pp. 59-88). Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

    Abstract

    This article is a reprint of parts of chapters 2 and 3 from Brown and Levinson (1987) discussing the concept of 'Face Threatening Acts'.
  • Brown, P. (1998). How and why are women more polite: Some evidence from a Mayan community. In J. Coates (Ed.), Language and gender (pp. 81-99). Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Brown, P. (2005). Linguistic politeness. In U. Ammon, N. Dittmar, K. J. Mattheier, & P. Trudgill (Eds.), Sociolinguistics: An international handbook of the science of language and society (pp. 1410-1416). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Abstract

    This is an encyclopedia entry surveying research and theoretical approaches to politeness phenomena in language usage.
  • Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1998). Politeness, introduction to the reissue: A review of recent work. In A. Kasher (Ed.), Pragmatics: Vol. 6 Grammar, psychology and sociology (pp. 488-554). London: Routledge.

    Abstract

    This article is a reprint of chapter 1, the introduction to Brown and Levinson, 1987, Politeness: Some universals in language usage (Cambridge University Press).
  • Brown, P. (2007). Principles of person reference in Tzeltal conversation. In N. Enfield, & T. Stivers (Eds.), Person reference in interaction: Linguistic, cultural, and social perspectives (pp. 172-202). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    This paper focuses on ‘minimality’ in initial references to persons in the Mayan language Tzeltal, spoken in southern Mexico. Inspection of initial person-referring expressions in 25 Tzeltal videotaped conversations reveals that, in this language, if speaker and/or recipient are related through ‘kinship’ to the referent, a kin term (or other relational term like ‘namesake’) is the default option for initial reference to persons. Additionally, further specification via names and/or geographical location (of home base) is also often used to home in on the referent (e.g. ‘your-cousin Alonzo’, ‘our mother’s brother behind the mountain’). And often (~ 70 cases in the data examined) initial references to persons combine more than one referring expression, for example: ‘this old man my brother-in-law old man Antonio here in the pines’, or ‘the father of that brother-in-law of yours the father-in-law of your elder-sister Xmaruch’. Seen in the light of Schegloff’s (1979, 1996) two basic preferences for referring to persons in conversation: (i.) for a recognitional form and (ii.) for a minimal form, these Tzeltal person-referring expressions seem to be relatively elaborated. This paper examines the sequential contexts where such combinations appear, and proposes a third preference operative in Tzeltal (and possibly in other kinship-term-based systems) for associating the referent as closely as possible to the participants.
  • Brown, P. (1998). La identificación de las raíces verbales en Tzeltal (Maya): Cómo lo hacen los niños? Función, 17-18, 121-146.

    Abstract

    This is a Spanish translation of Brown 1997.
  • Brown, P. (2005). What does it mean to learn the meaning of words? [Review of the book How children learn the meanings of words by Paul Bloom]. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14(2), 293-300. doi:10.1207/s15327809jls1402_6.
  • Burenhult, N. (2005). A grammar of Jahai. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Byun, K.-S. (2007). Becoming friends with Korean Sign Language. Cheonan: Chungnam Association of the Deaf.
  • Cablitz, G., Ringersma, J., & Kemps-Snijders, M. (2007). Visualizing endangered indigenous languages of French Polynesia with LEXUS. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference Information Visualization (IV07) (pp. 409-414). IEEE Computer Society.

    Abstract

    This paper reports on the first results of the DOBES project ‘Towards a multimedia dictionary of the Marquesan and Tuamotuan languages of French Polynesia’. Within the framework of this project we are building a digital multimedia encyclopedic lexicon of the endangered Marquesan and Tuamotuan languages using a new tool, LEXUS. LEXUS is a web-based lexicon tool, targeted at linguists involved in language documentation. LEXUS offers the possibility to visualize language. It provides functionalities to include audio, video and still images to the lexical entries of the dictionary, as well as relational linking for the creation of a semantic network knowledge base. Further activities aim at the development of (1) an improved user interface in close cooperation with the speech community and (2) a collaborative workspace functionality which will allow the speech community to actively participate in the creation of lexica.
  • Cameron-Faulkner, T., & Kidd, E. (2007). I'm are what I'm are: The acquisition of first-person singular present BE. Cognitive Linguistics, 18(1), 1-22. doi:10.1515/COG.2007.001.

    Abstract

    The present study investigates the development of am in the speech of one English-speaking child, Scarlett (aged 4;6–5;6). We show that am is infrequent in the speech addressed to children; the acquisition of this form of BE presents a unique insight into the processes underlying language development because children have little evidence regarding its correct use. Scarlett produced a pervasive error where she overextended are to first-person singular contexts where am was required (e.g., I'm are trying, When are I'm finished?). Am gradually emerged in her speech on what appears to be a construction-specific basis. The findings of the study are used in support of a usage-based, constructivisit approach to language development.
  • Carota, F. (2007). Collaborative use of contrastive markers Contextual and co-textual implications. In A. Fetzer (Ed.), Context and Appropriateness: Micro meets macro (pp. 235-260). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    The study presented in this paper examines the context-dependence and dialogue functions of the contrastive markers of Italian ma (but), invece (instead), mentre (while) and per (nevertheless) within task-oriented dialogues. Corpus data evidence their sensitivity to a acognitive interpersonal context, conceived as a common ground. Such a cognitive state - shared by co-participants through the coordinative process of grounding - interacts with the global dialogue structure, which is cognitively shaped by ``meta-negotiating{''} and grounding the dialogue topic. Locally, the relation between the current dialogue structural units and the global dialogue topic is said to be specified by information structure, in particular intra-utterance themes. It is argued that contrastive markers re-orient the co-participants' cognitive states towards grounding ungrounded topical aspects to be meta-negotiated. They offer a collaborative context-updating strategy, tracking the status of common ground during dialogue topic management.
  • 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, J. (2007). 'He cut-break the rope': Encoding and categorizing cutting and breaking events in Mandarin. Cognitive Linguistics, 18(2), 273-285. doi:10.1515/COG.2007.015.

    Abstract

    Abstract Mandarin categorizes cutting and breaking events on the basis of fine semantic distinctions in the causal action and the caused result. I demonstrate the semantics of Mandarin C&B verbs from the perspective of event encoding and categorization as well as argument structure alternations. Three semantically different types of predicates can be identified: verbs denoting the C&B action subevent, verbs encoding the C&B result subevent, and resultative verb compounds (RVC) that encode both the action and the result subevents. The first verb of an RVC is basically dyadic, whereas the second is monadic. RVCs as a whole are also basically dyadic, and do not undergo detransitivization.
  • Chen, X. S., Rozhdestvensky, T. S., Collins, L. J., Schmitz, J., & Penny, D. (2007). Combined experimental and computational approach to identify non-protein-coding RNAs in the deep-branching eukaryote Giardia intestinalis. Nucleic Acids Research, 35, 4619-4628. doi:10.1093/nar/gkm474.

    Abstract

    Non-protein-coding RNAs represent a large proportion of transcribed sequences in eukaryotes. These RNAs often function in large RNA–protein complexes, which are catalysts in various RNA-processing pathways. As RNA processing has become an increasingly important area of research, numerous non-messenger RNAs have been uncovered in all the model eukaryotic organisms. However, knowledge on RNA processing in deep-branching eukaryotes is still limited. This study focuses on the identification of non-protein-coding RNAs from the diplomonad parasite Giardia intestinalis, showing that a combined experimental and computational search strategy is a fast method of screening reduced or compact genomes. The analysis of our Giardia cDNA library has uncovered 31 novel candidates, including C/D-box and H/ACA box snoRNAs, as well as an unusual transcript of RNase P, and double-stranded RNAs. Subsequent computational analysis has revealed additional putative C/D-box snoRNAs. Our results will lead towards a future understanding of RNA metabolism in the deep-branching eukaryote Giardia, as more ncRNAs are characterized.
  • Chen, A., & Den Os, E. (2005). Effects of pitch accent type on interpreting information status in synthetic speech. In Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology (pp. 1913-1916).
  • Chen, J. (2005). Interpreting state-change: Learning the meaning of verbs and verb compounds in Mandarin. In Proceedings of the 29th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development.

    Abstract

    This study investigates how Mandarin-speaking children interpret state-change verbs. In Mandarin, state-change is typically encoded with resultative verb compounds (RVCs), in which the first verb (V1) specifies an action and the second (V2) a result, for example, zhai-xia 'pick-descend' (= pick, pick off/down). Unlike English state-change verb such as pick, smash, mix and fill, the action verb (V1) may imply a state-change but it does not entail it; the state-change is specified by the additional result verb (V2). Previous studies have shown that children learning English and German tend to neglect the state-change meaning in monomorphemic state-change verbs like mix and fill (Gentner, 1978; Gropen et al, 1991) and verb-particle constructions like abplücken 'pick off' (Wittek, 1999, 2000) - they do not realize that this meaning is entailed. This study examines how Mandarin-speaking children interpret resultative verb compounds and the first verb of an RVC. Four groups of Mandarin-speaking children (mean ages 2;6, 3;6, 4;6, 6;1) and an adult group participated in a judgment task. The results show that Mandarin-speaking children know from a very young age that RVCs entail a state-change; ironically, however, they make a mistake that is just the opposite to that made by the learners of English and German: they often incorrectly interpret the action verb (V1) of an RVC as if it, in itself, also entails a state-change, even though it does not. This result suggests that children do not have a uniform strategy for interpreting verb meaning, but are influenced by the language-specific lexicalization patterns they encounter in their language.
  • Chen, A., & Fikkert, P. (2007). Intonation of early two-word utterances in Dutch. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2007) (pp. 315-320). Dudweiler: Pirrot.

    Abstract

    We analysed intonation contours of two-word utterances from three monolingual Dutch children aged between 1;4 and 2;1 in the autosegmentalmetrical framework. Our data show that children have mastered the inventory of the boundary tones and nuclear pitch accent types (except for L*HL and L*!HL) at the 160-word level, and the set of nondownstepped pre-nuclear pitch accents (except for L*) at the 230-word level, contra previous claims on the mastery of adult-like intonation contours before or at the onset of first words. Further, there is evidence that intonational development is correlated with an increase in vocabulary size. Moreover, we found that children show a preference for falling contours, as predicted on the basis of universal production mechanisms. In addition, the utterances are mostly spoken with both words accented independent of semantic relations expressed and information status of each word across developmental stages, contra prior work. Our study suggests a number of topics for further research.
  • Chen, A. (2007). Intonational realisation of topic and focus by Dutch-acquiring 4- to 5-year-olds. In J. Trouvain, & W. J. Barry (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2007) (pp. 1553-1556). Dudweiler: Pirott.

    Abstract

    This study examined how Dutch-acquiring 4- to 5-year-olds use different pitch accent types and deaccentuation to mark topic and focus at the sentence level and how they differ from adults. The topic and focus were non-contrastive and realised as full noun phrases. It was found that children realise topic and focus similarly frequently with H*L, whereas adults use H*L noticeably more frequently in focus than in topic in sentence-initial position and nearly only in focus in sentence-final position. Further, children frequently realise the topic with an accent, whereas adults mostly deaccent the sentence-final topic and use H*L and H* to realise the sentence-initial topic because of rhythmic motivation. These results show that 4- and 5-year-olds have not acquired H*L as the typical focus accent and deaccentuation as the typical topic intonation yet. Possibly, frequent use of H*L in sentence-initial topic in adult Dutch has made it difficult to extract the functions of H*L and deaccentuation from the input.
  • Chen, A., Den Os, E., & De Ruiter, J. P. (2007). Pitch accent type matters for online processing of information status: Evidence from natural and synthetic speech. The Linguistic Review, 24(2), 317-344. doi:10.1515/TLR.2007.012.

    Abstract

    Adopting an eyetracking paradigm, we investigated the role of H*L, L*HL, L*H, H*LH, and deaccentuation at the intonational phrase-final position in online processing of information status in British English in natural speech. The role of H*L, L*H and deaccentuation was also examined in diphonesynthetic speech. It was found that H*L and L*HL create a strong bias towards newness, whereas L*H, like deaccentuation, creates a strong bias towards givenness. In synthetic speech, the same effect was found for H*L, L*H and deaccentuation, but it was delayed. The delay may not be caused entirely by the difference in the segmental quality between synthetic and natural speech. The pitch accent H*LH, however, appears to bias participants' interpretation to the target word, independent of its information status. This finding was explained in the light of the effect of durational information at the segmental level on word recognition.
  • Chen, A. (2007). Language-specificity in the perception of continuation intonation. In C. Gussenhoven, & T. Riad (Eds.), Tones and tunes II: Phonetic and behavioural studies in word and sentence prosody (pp. 107-142). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Abstract

    This paper addressed the question of how British English, German and Dutch listeners differ in their perception of continuation intonation both at the phonological level (Experiment 1) and at the level of phonetic implementation (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, preference scores of pitch contours to signal continuation at the clause-boundary were obtained from these listener groups. It was found that among contours with H%, British English listeners had a strong preference for H*L H%, as predicted. Unexpectedly, British English listeners rated H* H% noticeably more favourably than L*H H%; Dutch listeners largely rated H* H% more favourably than H*L H% and L*H H%; German listeners rated these contours similarly and seemed to have a slight preference for H*L H%. In Experiment 2, the degree to which a final rise was perceived to express continuation was established for each listener group in a made-up language. It was found that although all listener groups associated a higher end pitch with a higher degree of continuation likelihood, the perceived meaning difference for a given interval of end pitch heights varied with the contour shape of the utterance final syllable. When it was comparable to H* H%, British English and Dutch listeners perceived a larger meaning difference than German listeners; when it was comparable to H*L H%, British English listeners perceived a larger difference than German and Dutch listeners. This shows that language-specificity in continuation intonation at the phonological level affects the perception of continuation intonation at the phonetic level.
  • Chen, A., & De Ruiter, J. P. (2005). The role of pitch accent type in interpreting information status. Proceedings from the Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, 41(1), 33-48.

    Abstract

    The present study set out to pin down the role of four pitch accents, fall (H*L), rise-fall (L*HL), rise (L*H), fall-rise (H*LH), as well as deaccentuation, in interpreting new vs. given information in British English by the eyetracking paradigm. The pitch accents in question were claimed to convey information status in theories of English intonational meaning. There is, however, no consensus on the postulated roles of these pitch accents. Results clearly show that pitch accent type can and does matter when interpreting information status. The effects can be reflected in the mean proportions of fixations to the competitor in a selected time window. These patterns are also present in proportions of fixations to the target but to a lesser extent. Interestingly, the effects of pitch accent types are also reflected in how fast the participants could adjust their decision as to which picture to move before the name of the picture was fully revealed. For example, when the competitor was a given entity, the proportion of fixations to the competitor increased initially in most accent conditions in the first as a result of subjects' bias towards a given entity, but started to decrease substantially earlier in the H*L condition than in the L*H and deaccentuation conditions.
  • Chen, A. (2005). Universal and language-specific perception of paralinguistic intonational meaning. Utrecht: LOT.
  • Cho, T., & McQueen, J. M. (2005). Prosodic influences on consonant production in Dutch: Effects of prosodic boundaries, phrasal accent and lexical stress. Journal of Phonetics, 33(2), 121-157. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2005.01.001.

    Abstract

    Prosodic influences on phonetic realizations of four Dutch consonants (/t d s z/) were examined. Sentences were constructed containing these consonants in word-initial position; the factors lexical stress, phrasal accent and prosodic boundary were manipulated between sentences. Eleven Dutch speakers read these sentences aloud. The patterns found in acoustic measurements of these utterances (e.g., voice onset time (VOT), consonant duration, voicing during closure, spectral center of gravity, burst energy) indicate that the low-level phonetic implementation of all four consonants is modulated by prosodic structure. Boundary effects on domain-initial segments were observed in stressed and unstressed syllables, extending previous findings which have been on stressed syllables alone. Three aspects of the data are highlighted. First, shorter VOTs were found for /t/ in prosodically stronger locations (stressed, accented and domain-initial), as opposed to longer VOTs in these positions in English. This suggests that prosodically driven phonetic realization is bounded by language-specific constraints on how phonetic features are specified with phonetic content: Shortened VOT in Dutch reflects enhancement of the phonetic feature {−spread glottis}, while lengthened VOT in English reflects enhancement of {+spread glottis}. Prosodic strengthening therefore appears to operate primarily at the phonetic level, such that prosodically driven enhancement of phonological contrast is determined by phonetic implementation of these (language-specific) phonetic features. Second, an accent effect was observed in stressed and unstressed syllables, and was independent of prosodic boundary size. The domain of accentuation in Dutch is thus larger than the foot. Third, within a prosodic category consisting of those utterances with a boundary tone but no pause, tokens with syntactically defined Phonological Phrase boundaries could be differentiated from the other tokens. This syntactic influence on prosodic phrasing implies the existence of an intermediate-level phrase in the prosodic hierarchy of Dutch.
  • Cho, T. (2005). Prosodic strengthening and featural enhancement: Evidence from acoustic and articulatory realizations of /a,i/ in English. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 117(6), 3867-3878. doi:10.1121/1.1861893.
  • Cho, T., McQueen, J. M., & Cox, E. A. (2007). Prosodically driven phonetic detail in speech processing: The case of domain-initial strengthening in English. Journal of Phonetics, 35(2), 210-243. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2006.03.003.

    Abstract

    We explore the role of the acoustic consequences of domain-initial strengthening in spoken-word recognition. In two cross-modal identity-priming experiments, listeners heard sentences and made lexical decisions to visual targets, presented at the onset of the second word in two-word sequences containing lexical ambiguities (e.g., bus tickets, with the competitor bust). These sequences contained Intonational Phrase (IP) or Prosodic Word (Wd) boundaries, and the second word's initial Consonant and Vowel (CV, e.g., [tI]) was spliced from another token of the sequence in IP- or Wd-initial position. Acoustic analyses showed that IP-initial consonants were articulated more strongly than Wd-initial consonants. In Experiment 1, related targets were post-boundary words (e.g., tickets). No strengthening effect was observed (i.e., identity priming effects did not vary across splicing conditions). In Experiment 2, related targets were pre-boundary words (e.g., bus). There was a strengthening effect (stronger priming when the post-boundary CVs were spliced from IP-initial than from Wd-initial position), but only in Wd-boundary contexts. These were the conditions where phonetic detail associated with domain-initial strengthening could assist listeners most in lexical disambiguation. We discuss how speakers may strengthen domain-initial segments during production and how listeners may use the resulting acoustic correlates of prosodic strengthening during word recognition.
  • Christoffels, I. K., Firk, C., & Schiller, N. O. (2007). Bilingual language control: An event-related brain potential study. Brain Research, 1147, 192-208. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2007.01.137.

    Abstract

    This study addressed how bilingual speakers switch between their first and second language when speaking. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) and naming latencies were measured while unbalanced German (L1)-Dutch (L2) speakers performed a picture-naming task. Participants named pictures either in their L1 or in their L2 (blocked language conditions), or participants switched between their first and second language unpredictably (mixed language condition). Furthermore, form similarity between translation equivalents (cognate status) was manipulated. A cognate facilitation effect was found for L1 and L2 indicating phonological activation of the non-response language in blocked and mixed language conditions. The ERP data also revealed small but reliable effects of cognate status. Language switching resulted in equal switching costs for both languages and was associated with a modulation in the ERP waveforms (time windows 275-375 ms and 375-475 ms). Mixed language context affected especially the L1, both in ERPs and in latencies, which became slower in L1 than L2. It is suggested that sustained and transient components of language control should be distinguished. Results are discussed in relation to current theories of bilingual language processing.
  • Christoffels, I. K., Formisano, E., & Schiller, N. O. (2007). The neural correlates of verbal feedback processing: An fMRI study employing overt speech. Human Brain Mapping, 28(9), 868-879. doi:10.1002/hbm.20315.

    Abstract

    Speakers use external auditory feedback to monitor their own speech. Feedback distortion has been found to increase activity in the superior temporal areas. Using fMRI, the present study investigates the neural correlates of processing verbal feedback without distortion. In a blocked design, the following conditions were presented: (1) overt picture-naming, (2) overt picture-naming while pink noise was presented to mask external feedback, (3) covert picture-naming, (4) listening to the picture names (previously recorded from participants' own voices), and (5) listening to pink noise. The results show that auditory feedback processing involves a network of different areas related to general performance monitoring and speech-motor control. These include the cingulate cortex and the bilateral insula, supplementary motor area, bilateral motor areas, cerebellum, thalamus and basal ganglia. Our findings suggest that the anterior cingulate cortex, which is often implicated in error-processing and conflict-monitoring, is also engaged in ongoing speech monitoring. Furthermore, in the superior temporal gyrus, we found a reduced response to speaking under normal feedback conditions. This finding is interpreted in the framework of a forward model according to which, during speech production, the sensory consequence of the speech-motor act is predicted to attenuate the sensitivity of the auditory cortex. Hum Brain Mapp 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
  • 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.
  • Coombs, P. J., Graham, S. A., Drickamer, K., & Taylor, M. E. (2005). Selective binding of the scavenger receptor C-type lectin to Lewisx trisaccharide and related glycan ligands. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 280, 22993-22999. doi:10.1074/jbc.M504197200.

    Abstract

    The scavenger receptor C-type lectin (SRCL) is an endothelial receptor that is similar in organization to type A scavenger receptors for modified low density lipoproteins but contains a C-type carbohydrate-recognition domain (CRD). Fragments of the receptor consisting of the entire extracellular domain and the CRD have been expressed and characterized. The extracellular domain is a trimer held together by collagen-like and coiled-coil domains adjacent to the CRD. The amino acid sequence of the CRD is very similar to the CRD of the asialoglycoprotein receptor and other galactose-specific receptors, but SRCL binds selectively to asialo-orosomucoid rather than generally to asialoglycoproteins. Screening of a glycan array and further quantitative binding studies indicate that this selectivity results from high affinity binding to glycans bearing the Lewis(x) trisaccharide. Thus, SRCL shares with the dendritic cell receptor DC-SIGN the ability to bind the Lewis(x) epitope. However, it does so in a fundamentally different way, making a primary binding interaction with the galactose moiety of the glycan rather than the fucose residue. SRCL shares with the asialoglycoprotein receptor the ability to mediate endocytosis and degradation of glycoprotein ligands. These studies suggest that SRCL might be involved in selective clearance of specific desialylated glycoproteins from circulation and/or interaction of cells bearing Lewis(x)-type structures with the vascular endothelium.
  • 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.

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