Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 142
  • Ameka, F. K. (2006). Ewe serial verb constructions in their grammatical context. In A. Y. Aikhenvald, & R. M. W. Dixon (Eds.), Serial verb constructions: A cross-linguistic typology (pp. 124-143). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2006). Elements of the grammar of space in Ewe. In S. C. Levinson, & D. P. Wilkins (Eds.), Grammars of space: Explorations in cognitive diversity (pp. 359-399). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2006). Grammars in contact in the Volta Basin (West Africa): On contact induced grammatical change in Likpe. In A. Y. Aikhenvald, & R. M. W. Dixon (Eds.), Grammars in contact: A crosslinguistic typology (pp. 114-142). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2006). Interjections. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of language & linguistics (2nd ed., pp. 743-746). Oxford: Elsevier.
  • Ameka, F. K., & Wilkins, D. P. (2006). Interjections. In J.-O. Ostman, & J. Verschueren (Eds.), Handbook of pragmatics (pp. 1-22). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Ameka, F. K. (2006). Real descriptions: Reflections on native speaker and non-native speaker descriptions of a language. In F. K. Ameka, A. Dench, & N. Evans (Eds.), Catching language: The standing challenge of grammar writing (pp. 69-112). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Baayen, R. H. (2014). Productivity in language production. In D. Sandra, & M. Taft (Eds.), Morphological Structure, Lexical Representation and Lexical Access: A Special Issue of Language and Cognitive Processes (pp. 447-469). London: Routledge.

    Abstract

    Lexical statistics and a production experiment are used to gauge the extent to which the linguistic notion of morphological productivity is relevant for psycholinguistic theories of speech production in languages such as Dutch and English. Lexical statistics of productivity show that despite the relatively poor morphology of Dutch, new words are created often enough for the marginalisation of word formation in theories of speech production to be theoretically unattractive. This conclusion is supported by the results of a production experiment in which subjects freely created hundreds of productive, but only a handful of unproductive, neologisms. A tentative solution is proposed as to why the opposite pattern has been observed in the speech of jargonaphasics.
  • Bastiaansen, M. C. M., & Hagoort, P. (2006). Oscillatory neuronal dynamics during language comprehension. In C. Neuper, & W. Klimesch (Eds.), Event-related dynamics of brain oscillations (pp. 179-196). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Abstract

    Language comprehension involves two basic operations: the retrieval of lexical information (such as phonologic, syntactic, and semantic information) from long-term memory, and the unification of this information into a coherent representation of the overall utterance. Neuroimaging studies using hemo¬dynamic measures such as PET and fMRI have provided detailed information on which areas of the brain are involved in these language-related memory and unification operations. However, much less is known about the dynamics of the brain's language network. This chapter presents a literature review of the oscillatory neuronal dynamics of EEG and MEG data that can be observed during language comprehen¬sion tasks. From a detailed review of this (rapidly growing) literature the following picture emerges: memory retrieval operations are mostly accompanied by increased neuronal synchronization in the theta frequency range (4-7 Hz). Unification operations, in contrast, induce high-frequency neuronal synchro¬nization in the beta (12-30 Hz) and gamma (above 30 Hz) frequency bands. A desynchronization in the (upper) alpha frequency band is found for those studies that use secondary tasks, and seems to correspond with attentional processes, and with the behavioral consequences of the language comprehension process. We conclude that it is possible to capture the dynamics of the brain's language network by a careful analysis of the event-related changes in power and coherence of EEG and MEG data in a wide range of frequencies, in combination with subtle experimental manipulations in a range of language comprehension tasks. It appears then that neuronal synchrony is a mechanism by which the brain integrates the different types of information about language (such as phonological, orthographic, semantic, and syntactic infor¬mation) represented in different brain areas.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (2006). ‘Synthetic’ vs. ‘analytic’ in Romance: The importance of varieties. In R. Gess, & D. Arteaga (Eds.), Historical Romance linguistics: Retrospective and perspectives (pp. 287-304). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Broeder, D., & Van Uytvanck, D. (2014). Metadata formats. In J. Durand, U. Gut, & G. Kristoffersen (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Corpus Phonology (pp. 150-165). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Brown, P. (2006). A sketch of the grammar of space in Tzeltal. In S. C. Levinson, & D. P. Wilkins (Eds.), Grammars of space: Explorations in cognitive diversity (pp. 230-272). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    This paper surveys the lexical and grammatical resources for talking about spatial relations in the Mayan language Tzeltal - for describing where things are located, where they are moving, and how they are distributed in space. Six basic sets of spatial vocabulary are presented: i. existential locative expressions with ay ‘exist’, ii. deictics (demonstratives, adverbs, presentationals), iii. dispositional adjectives, often in combination with (iv) and (v), iv. body part relational noun locatives, v. absolute (‘cardinal’) directions, and vi. motion verbs, directionals and auxiliaries. The first two are used in minimal locative descriptions, while the others constitute the core resources for specifying in detail the location, disposition, orientation, or motion of a Figure in relation to a Ground. We find that Tzeltal displays a relative de-emphasis on deixis and left/right asymmetry, and a detailed attention to the spatial properties of objects.
  • Brown, P. (2006). Cognitive anthropology. In C. Jourdan, & K. Tuite (Eds.), Language, culture and society: Key topics in linguistic anthropology (pp. 96-114). Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    This is an appropriate moment to review the state of the art in cognitive anthropology, construed broadly as the comparative study of human cognition in its linguistic and cultural context. In reaction to the dominance of universalism in the 1970s and '80s, there have recently been a number of reappraisals of the relation between language and cognition, and the field of cognitive anthropology is flourishing in several new directions in both America and Europe. This is partly due to a renewal and re-evaluation of approaches to the question of linguistic relativity associated with Whorf, and partly to the inspiration of modern developments in cognitive science. This review briefly sketches the history of cognitive anthropology and surveys current research on both sides of the Atlantic. The focus is on assessing current directions, considering in particular, by way of illustration, recent work in cultural models and on spatial language and cognition. The review concludes with an assessment of how cognitive anthropology could contribute directly both to the broader project of cognitive science and to the anthropological study of how cultural ideas and practices relate to structures and processes of human cognition.
  • Brown, P. (2014). Gestures in native Mexico and Central America. In C. Müller, A. Cienki, E. Fricke, S. Ladewig, D. McNeill, & J. Bressem (Eds.), Body -language – communication: An international handbook on multimodality in human interaction. Volume 2 (pp. 1206-1215). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Abstract

    The systematic study of kinesics, gaze, and gestural aspects of communication in Central American cultures is a recent phenomenon, most of it focussing on the Mayan cultures of southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. This article surveys ethnographic observations and research reports on bodily aspects of speaking in three domains: gaze and kinesics in social interaction, indexical pointing in adult and caregiver-child interactions, and co-speech gestures associated with “absolute” (geographically-based) systems of spatial reference. In addition, it reports how the indigenous co-speech gesture repertoire has provided the basis for developing village sign languages in the region. It is argued that studies of the embodied aspects of speech in the Mayan areas of Mexico and Central America have contributed to the typology of gestures and of spatial frames of reference. They have refined our understanding of how spatial frames of reference are invoked, communicated, and switched in conversational interaction and of the importance of co-speech gestures in understanding language use, language acquisition, and the transmission of culture-specific cognitive styles.
  • Brown, P., & Gaskins, S. (2014). Language acquisition and language socialization. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 187-226). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Brown, P. (2014). The interactional context of language learning in Tzeltal. In I. Arnon, M. Casillas, C. Kurumada, & B. Estigarriba (Eds.), Language in Interaction: Studies in honor of Eve V. Clark (pp. 51-82). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    This paper addresses the theories of Eve Clark about how children learn word meanings in western middle-class interactional contexts by examining child language data from a Tzeltal Maya society in southern Mexico where interaction patterns are radically different. Through examples of caregiver interactions with children 12-30 months old, I ask what lessons we can learn from how the details of these interactions unfold in this non-child-centered cultural context, and specifically, what aspects of the Tzeltal linguistic and interactional context might help to focus children’s attention on the meanings and the conventional forms of words being used around them.
  • Budwig, N., Narasimhan, B., & Srivastava, S. (2006). Interim solutions: The acquisition of early constructions in Hindi. In E. Clark, & B. Kelly (Eds.), Constructions in acquisition (pp. 163-185). Stanford: CSLI Publications.
  • Casillas, M. (2014). Taking the floor on time: Delay and deferral in children’s turn taking. In I. Arnon, M. Casillas, C. Kurumada, & B. Estigarribia (Eds.), Language in Interaction: Studies in honor of Eve V. Clark (pp. 101-114). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    A key part of learning to speak with others is figuring out when to start talking and how to hold the floor in conversation. For young children, the challenge of planning a linguistic response can slow down their response latencies, making misunderstanding, repair, and loss of the floor more likely. Like adults, children can mitigate their delays by using fillers (e.g., uh and um) at the start of their turns. In this chapter I analyze the onset and development of fillers in five children’s spontaneous speech from ages 1;6–3;6. My findings suggest that children start using fillers by 2;0, and use them to effectively mitigate delay in making a response.
  • Casillas, M. (2014). Turn-taking. In D. Matthews (Ed.), Pragmatic development in first language acquisition (pp. 53-70). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Conversation is a structured, joint action for which children need to learn a specialized set skills and conventions. Because conversation is a primary source of linguistic input, we can better grasp how children become active agents in their own linguistic development by studying their acquisition of conversational skills. In this chapter I review research on children’s turn-taking. This fundamental skill of human interaction allows children to gain feedback, make clarifications, and test hypotheses at every stage of development. I broadly review children’s conversational experiences, the types of turn-based contingency they must acquire, how they ask and answer questions, and when they manage to make timely responses
  • Chang, F., & Fitz, H. (2014). Computational models of sentence production: A dual-path approach. In M. Goldrick, & M. Miozzo (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of language production (pp. 70-89). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    Sentence production is the process we use to create language-specific sentences that convey particular meanings. In production, there are complex interactions between meaning, words, and syntax at different points in sentences. Computational models can make these interactions explicit and connectionist learning algorithms have been useful for building such models. Connectionist models use domaingeneral mechanisms to learn internal representations and these mechanisms can also explain evidence of long-term syntactic adaptation in adult speakers. This paper will review work showing that these models can generalize words in novel ways and learn typologically-different languages like English and Japanese. It will also present modeling work which shows that connectionist learning algorithms can account for complex sentence production in children and adult production phenomena like structural priming, heavy NP shift, and conceptual/lexical accessibility.
  • Chen, J. (2006). The acquisition of verb compounding in Mandarin. In E. V. Clark, & B. F. Kelly (Eds.), Constructions in acquisition (pp. 111-136). Stanford: CSLI Publications.
  • Cutler, A., & McQueen, J. M. (2014). How prosody is both mandatory and optional. In J. Caspers, Y. Chen, W. Heeren, J. Pacilly, N. O. Schiller, & E. Van Zanten (Eds.), Above and Beyond the Segments: Experimental linguistics and phonetics (pp. 71-82). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Speech signals originate as a sequence of linguistic units selected by speakers, but these units are necessarily realised in the suprasegmental dimensions of time, frequency and amplitude. For this reason prosodic structure has been viewed as a mandatory target of language processing by both speakers and listeners. In apparent contradiction, however, prosody has also been argued to be ancillary rather than core linguistic structure, making processing of prosodic structure essentially optional. In the present tribute to one of the luminaries of prosodic research for the past quarter century, we review evidence from studies of the processing of lexical stress and focal accent which reconciles these views and shows that both claims are, each in their own way, fully true.
  • Cutler, A. (2006). Rudolf Meringer. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (vol. 8) (pp. 12-13). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Abstract

    Rudolf Meringer (1859–1931), Indo-European philologist, published two collections of slips of the tongue, annotated and interpreted. From 1909, he was the founding editor of the cultural morphology movement's journal Wörter und Sachen. Meringer was the first to note the linguistic significance of speech errors, and his interpretations have stood the test of time. This work, rather than his mainstream philological research, has proven his most lasting linguistic contribution
  • Cutler, A. (2006). Van spraak naar woorden in een tweede taal. In J. Morais, & G. d'Ydewalle (Eds.), Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition (pp. 39-54). Brussels: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten.
  • Dediu, D., & Graham, S. A. (2014). Genetics and Language. In M. Aronoff (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199772810/obo-9780199772810-0184.xml.

    Abstract

    This article surveys what is currently known about the complex interplay between genetics and the language sciences. It focuses not only on the genetic architecture of language and speech, but also on their interactions on the cultural and evolutionary timescales. Given the complexity of these issues and their current state of flux and high dynamism, this article surveys the main findings and topics of interest while also briefly introducing the main relevant methods, thus allowing the interested reader to fully appreciate and understand them in their proper context. Of course, not all the relevant publications and resources are mentioned, but this article aims to select the most relevant, promising, or accessible for nonspecialists.

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  • Dediu, D. (2014). Language and biology: The multiple interactions between genetics and language. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 686-707). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Dediu, D., & Levinson, S. C. (2014). The time frame of the emergence of modern language and its implications. In D. Dor, C. Knight, & J. Lewis (Eds.), The social origins of language (pp. 184-195). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Dingemanse, M., & Floyd, S. (2014). Conversation across cultures. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 447-480). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Drude, S., Trilsbeek, P., Sloetjes, H., & Broeder, D. (2014). Best practices in the creation, archiving and dissemination of speech corpora at the Language Archive. In S. Ruhi, M. Haugh, T. Schmidt, & K. Wörner (Eds.), Best Practices for Spoken Corpora in Linguistic Research (pp. 183-207). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Drude, S. (2006). On the position of the Awetí language in the Tupí family. In W. Dietrich, & H. Symeonidis (Eds.), Guarani y "Maweti-Tupi-Guarani. Estudios historicos y descriptivos sobre una familia lingüistica de America del Sur (pp. 11-45). Berlin: LIT Verlag.

    Abstract

    Conclusion In this study we have examined the evidence for the exact genetic position of the Awetí language in the large Tupí family, especially evidence for an internal classification of the larger branch of Tupí called “Mawetí-Guaraní” which comprises the Tupí-Guaraní family, Awetí and Sateré-Mawé. As it turns out, we did not find any clear example of an uncommon sound change which would have happened after the separation of the antecessor of one branch but before the split between the other two. There is some just probability that Awetí belongs somewhat closer to Tupí-Guaraní within Mawetí-Guaraní (configuration A in Table 1), but we did not find any conclusive evidence. All we have are some weak indications the majority of which, however, point in this direction: • a higher number of cognates found between Awetí and proto-Tupí-Guarani; • lexicostatistic results (number of cognates in a 100-item-word-list proposed by Swadesh); • loss of long vowels in Awetí and Tupí-Guaraní, but not in Sateré-Mawé; • some sound changes suggest that in the development to Awetí and to proto-Tupí-Guaraní velar segments changes to dental segments (cf. the discussion of the correspondence set j : t : w); • possibly some of the correspondence sets given in Table 20. We consider it to be too soon to conclude that there is a branch Awetí + Tupí-Guaraní of Mawetí-Guaraní, opposed to Sateré-Mawé, but if there is any grouping, this hypothesis is most promising. 29
  • Drude, S. (2014). Reduplication as a tool for morphological and phonological analysis in Awetí. In G. G. Gómez, & H. Van der Voort (Eds.), Reduplication in Indigenous languages of South America (pp. 185-216). Leiden: Brill.
  • Dunn, M. (2014). Gender determined dialect variation. In G. G. Corbett (Ed.), The expression of gender (pp. 39-68). Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Dunn, M. (2014). Language phylogenies. In C. Bowern, & B. Evans (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of historical linguistics (pp. 190-211). London: Routlege.
  • Emmorey, K., & Ozyurek, A. (2014). Language in our hands: Neural underpinnings of sign language and co-speech gesture. In M. S. Gazzaniga, & G. R. Mangun (Eds.), The cognitive neurosciences (5th ed., pp. 657-666). Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2014). Causal dynamics of language. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 325-342). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Enfield, N. J., Kockelman, P., & Sidnell, J. (2014). Interdisciplinary perspectives. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 599-602). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Enfield, N. J., Kockelman, P., & Sidnell, J. (2014). Introduction: Directions in the anthropology of language. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 1-24). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2014). Human agency and the infrastructure for requests. In P. Drew, & E. Couper-Kuhlen (Eds.), Requesting in social interaction (pp. 35-50). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Abstract

    This chapter discusses some of the elements of human sociality that serve as the social and cognitive infrastructure or preconditions for the use of requests and other kinds of recruitments in interaction. The notion of an agent with goals is a canonical starting point, though importantly agency tends not to be wholly located in individuals, but rather is socially distributed. This is well illustrated in the case of requests, in which the person or group that has a certain goal is not necessarily the one who carries out the behavior towards that goal. The chapter focuses on the role of semiotic (mostly linguistic) resources in negotiating the distribution of agency with request-like actions, with examples from video-recorded interaction in Lao, a language spoken in Laos and nearby countries. The examples illustrate five hallmarks of requesting in human interaction, which show some ways in which our ‘manipulation’ of other people is quite unlike our manipulation of tools: (1) that even though B is being manipulated, B wants to help, (2) that while A is manipulating B now, A may be manipulated in return later; (3) that the goal of the behavior may be shared between A and B, (4) that B may not comply, or may comply differently than requested, due to actual or potential contingencies, and (5) that A and B are accountable to one another; reasons may be asked for, and/or given, for the request. These hallmarks of requesting are grounded in a prosocial framework of human agency.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2006). Heterosemy and the grammar-lexicon trade-off. In F. Ameka, A. Dench, & N. Evans (Eds.), Catching Language (pp. 297-320). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2006). Laos - language situation. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (vol. 6) (pp. 698-700). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Abstract

    Laos features a high level of linguistic diversity, with more than 70 languages from four different major language families (Tai, Mon-Khmer, Hmong-Mien, Tibeto-Burman). Mon-Khmer languages were spoken in Laos earlier than other languages, with incoming migrations by Tai speakers (c. 2000 years ago) and Hmong-Mien speakers (c. 200 years ago). There is widespread language contact and multilingualism in upland minority communities, while lowland-dwelling Lao speakers are largely monolingual. Lao is the official national language. Most minority languages are endangered, with a few exceptions (notably Hmong and Kmhmu). There has been relatively little linguistic research on languages of Laos, due to problems of both infrastructure and administration.
  • Enfield, N. J., & Sidnell, J. (2014). Language presupposes an enchronic infrastructure for social interaction. In D. Dor, C. Knight, & J. Lewis (Eds.), The social origins of language (pp. 92-104). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Enfield, N. J., Sidnell, J., & Kockelman, P. (2014). System and function. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 25-28). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2014). The item/system problem. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 48-77). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Enfield, N. J. (2014). Transmission biases in the cultural evolution of language: Towards an explanatory framework. In D. Dor, C. Knight, & J. Lewis (Eds.), The social origins of language (pp. 325-335). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Ernestus, M., & Giezenaar, G. (2014). Een goed verstaander heeft maar een half woord nodig. In B. Bossers (Ed.), Vakwerk 9: Achtergronden van de NT2-lespraktijk: Lezingen conferentie Hoeven 2014 (pp. 81-92). Amsterdam: BV NT2.
  • Ernestus, M., & Baayen, R. H. (2006). The functionality of incomplete neutralization in Dutch: The case of past-tense formation. In L. Goldstein, D. Whalen, & C. Best (Eds.), Laboratory Phonology 8 (pp. 27-49). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Fisher, S. E. (2006). How can animal studies help to uncover the roles of genes implicated in human speech and language disorders? In G. S. Fisch, & J. Flint (Eds.), Transgenic and knockout models of neuropsychiatric disorders (pp. 127-149). Totowa, NJ: Humana Press.

    Abstract

    The mysterious human propensity for acquiring speech and language has fascinated scientists for decades. A substantial body of evidence suggests that this capacity is rooted in aspects of neurodevelopment that are specified at the genomic level. Researchers have begun to identify genetic factors that increase susceptibility to developmental disorders of speech and language, thereby offering the first molecular entry points into neuronal mechanisms underlying human vocal communication. The identification of genetic variants influencing language acquisition facilitates the analysis of animal models in which the corresponding orthologs are disrupted. At face value, the situation raises aperplexing question: if speech and language are uniquely human, can any relevant insights be gained from investigations of gene function in other species? This chapter addresses the question using the example of FOXP2, a gene implicated in a severe monogenic speech and language disorder. FOXP2 encodes a transcription factor that is highly conserved in vertebrate species, both in terms of protein sequence and expression patterns. Current data suggest that an earlier version of this gene, present in the common ancestor of humans, rodents, and birds, was already involved in establishing neuronal circuits underlying sensory-motor integration and learning of complex motor sequences. This may have represented one of the factors providing a permissive neural environment for subsequent evolution of vocal learning. Thus, dissection of neuromolecular pathways regulated by Foxp2 in nonlinguistic species is a necessary prerequisite for understanding the role of the human version of the gene in speech and language.
  • Fitz, H. (2006). Church's thesis and physical computation. In A. Olszewski, J. Wolenski, & R. Janusz (Eds.), Church's Thesis after 70 years (pp. 175-219). Frankfurt a. M: Ontos Verlag.
  • Fitz, H. (2014). Computermodelle für Spracherwerb und Sprachproduktion. Forschungsbericht 2014 - Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik. In Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Jahrbuch 2014. München: Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved from http://www.mpg.de/7850678/Psycholinguistik_JB_2014?c=8236817.

    Abstract

    Relative clauses are a syntactic device to create complex sentences and they make language structurally productive. Despite a considerable number of experimental studies, it is still largely unclear how children learn relative clauses and how these are processed in the language system. Researchers at the MPI for Psycholinguistics used a computational learning model to gain novel insights into these issues. The model explains the differential development of relative clauses in English as well as cross-linguistic differences
  • Floyd, S. (2014). 'We’ as social categorization in Cha’palaa: A language of Ecuador. In T.-S. Pavlidou (Ed.), Constructing collectivity: 'We' across languages and contexts (pp. 135-158). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    This chapter connects the grammar of the first person collective pronoun in the Cha’palaa language of Ecuador with its use in interaction for collective reference and social category membership attribution, addressing the problem posed by the fact that non-singular pronouns do not have distributional semantics (“speakers”) but are rather associational (“speaker and relevant associates”). It advocates a cross-disciplinary approach that jointly considers elements of linguistic form, situated usages of those forms in instances of interaction, and the broader ethnographic context of those instances. Focusing on large-scale and relatively stable categories such as racial and ethnic groups, it argues that looking at how speakers categorize themselves and others in the speech situation by using pronouns provides empirical data on the status of macro-social categories for members of a society

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  • Floyd, S. (2014). Four types of reduplication in the Cha'palaa language of Ecuador. In H. van der Voort, & G. Goodwin Gómez (Eds.), Reduplication in Indigenous Languages of South America (pp. 77-114). Leiden: Brill.
  • Furman, R., & Ozyurek, A. (2006). The use of discourse markers in adult and child Turkish oral narratives: Şey, yani and işte. In S. Yagcioglu, & A. Dem Deger (Eds.), Advances in Turkish linguistics (pp. 467-480). Izmir: Dokuz Eylul University Press.
  • Gast, V., & Levshina, N. (2014). Motivating w(h)-Clefts in English and German: A hypothesis-driven parallel corpus study. In A.-M. De Cesare (Ed.), Frequency, Forms and Functions of Cleft Constructions in Romance and Germanic: Contrastive, Corpus-Based Studies (pp. 377-414). Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Hagoort, P. (2014). Introduction to section on language and abstract thought. In M. S. Gazzaniga, & G. R. Mangun (Eds.), The cognitive neurosciences (5th ed., pp. 615-618). Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Hagoort, P., & Levinson, S. C. (2014). Neuropragmatics. In M. S. Gazzaniga, & G. R. Mangun (Eds.), The cognitive neurosciences (5th ed., pp. 667-674). Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Hagoort, P. (2006). On Broca, brain and binding. In Y. Grodzinsky, & K. Amunts (Eds.), Broca's region (pp. 240-251). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Hagoort, P. (2006). Het zwarte gat tussen brein en bewustzijn. In J. Janssen, & J. Van Vugt (Eds.), Brein en bewustzijn: Gedachtensprongen tussen hersenen en mensbeeld (pp. 9-24). Damon: Nijmegen.
  • Hammarström, H. (2014). Basic vocabulary comparison in South American languages. In P. Muysken, & L. O'Connor (Eds.), Language contact in South America (pp. 56-72). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hammarström, H. (2014). Papuan languages. In M. Aronoff (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies in linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/OBO/9780199772810-0165.
  • Hammond, J. (2014). Switch-reference antecedence and subordination in Whitesands (Oceanic). In R. van Gijn, J. Hammond, D. Matić, S. van Putten, & A. V. Galucio (Eds.), Information structure and reference tracking in complex sentences. (pp. 263-290). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Whitesands is an Oceanic language of the southern Vanuatu subgroup. Like the related languages of southern Vanuatu, Whitesands has developed a clause-linkage system which monitors referent continuity on new clauses – typically contrasting with the previous clause. In this chapter I address how the construction interacts with topic continuity in discourse. I outline the morphosyntactic form of this anaphoric co-reference device. From a functionalist perspective, I show how the system is used in natural discourse and discuss its restrictions with respect to relative and complement clauses. I conclude with a discussion on its interactions with theoretical notions of information structure – in particular the nature of presupposed versus asserted clauses, information back- and foregrounding and how these affect the use of the switch-reference system
  • Holler, J. (2014). Experimental methods in co-speech gesture research. In C. Mueller, A. Cienki, D. McNeill, & E. Fricke (Eds.), Body -language – communication: An international handbook on multimodality in human interaction. Volume 1 (pp. 837-856). Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Huettig, F. (2014). Role of prediction in language learning. In P. J. Brooks, & V. Kempe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language development (pp. 479-481). London: Sage Publications.
  • Jordens, P., & Dimroth, C. (2006). Finiteness in children and adults learning Dutch. In N. Gagarina, & I. Gülzow (Eds.), The acquisition of verbs and their grammar: The effect of particular languages (pp. 173-200). Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Jordens, P. (2006). Inversion as an artifact: The acquisition of topicalization in child L1- and adult L2-Dutch. In S. H. Foster-Cohen, M. Medved Krajnovic, & J. Mihaljevic Djigunovic (Eds.), EUROSLA Yearbook 6 (pp. 101-120).
  • Kashima, Y., Kashima, E. S., & Kidd, E. (2014). Language and culture. In T. M. Holtgraves (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Language and Social Psychology (pp. 46-61). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Kendrick, K. H., & Drew, P. (2014). The putative preference for offers over requests. In P. Drew, & E. Couper-Kuhlen (Eds.), Requesting in Social Interaction (pp. 87-113). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

    Abstract

    Requesting and offering are closely related, insofar as they are activities associated with someone’s need for assistance. It has been supposed (e.g., Schegloff 2007) that requests and offers are not equivalent actions – specifically that offers are preferred actions and requests are dispreferred. We review the evidence for this claim across a corpus of requests and offers and demonstrate that the empirical evidence does not support the claim for a putative preference for offers over requests. Further consideration of the often symbiotic relationships between requesting and offering, particularly in face-to-face interactions, reveals a more complex picture of the ways in which people recruit others to help, or in which others are mobilized to help.
  • Kidd, E. (2006). The acquisition of complement clause constructions. In E. V. Clark, & B. F. Kelly (Eds.), Constructions in acquisition (pp. 311-332). Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information.
  • Klein, W. (2006). On finiteness. In V. Van Geenhoven (Ed.), Semantics in acquisition (pp. 245-272). Dordrecht: Springer.

    Abstract

    The distinction between finite and non-finite verb forms is well-established but not particularly well-defined. It cannot just be a matter of verb morphology, because it is also made when there is hardly any morphological difference: by far most English verb forms can be finite as well as non-finite. More importantly, many structural phenomena are clearly associated with the presence or absence of finiteness, a fact which is clearly reflected in the early stages of first and second language acquisition. In syntax, these include basic word order rules, gapping, the licensing of a grammatical subject and the licensing of expletives. In semantics, the specific interpretation of indefinite noun phrases is crucially linked to the presence of a finite element. These phenomena are surveyed, and it is argued that finiteness (a) links the descriptive content of the sentence (the 'sentence basis') to its topic component (in particular, to its topic time), and (b) it confines the illocutionary force to that topic component. In a declarative main clause, for example, the assertion is confined to a particular time, the topic time. It is shown that most of the syntactic and semantic effects connected to finiteness naturally follow from this assumption.
  • Kockelman, P., Enfield, N. J., & Sidnell, J. (2014). Process and formation. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 183-186). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Konopka, A. E., & Brown-Schmidt, S. (2014). Message encoding. In V. Ferreira, M. Goldrick, & M. Miozzo (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of language production (pp. 3-20). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Kopecka, A. (2006). The semantic structure of motion verbs in French: Typological perspectives. In M. Hickmann, & Roberts S. (Eds.), Space in languages: Linguistic systems and cognitive categories (pp. 83-102). Amsterdam: Benjamins.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (2014). From Rousseau to Suppes: On diaries and probabilistic grammars. In C. E. Crangle, A. García de la Sienra, & H. E. Longino (Eds.), Foundations and methods from mathematics to neuroscience: Essays inspired by Patrick Suppes (pp. 149-156). Stanford, CA: CSLI publications.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (1962). Motion breaking and the perception of causality. In A. Michotte (Ed.), Causalité, permanence et réalité phénoménales: Etudes de psychologie expérimentale (pp. 244-258). Louvain: Publications Universitaires.
  • Levelt, W. J. M. (2014). Über Sprachtätigkeit - Untersuchungen zum Sprechvorgang. In Orden pour le mérite für Wissenschaft und Künste (Ed.), Reden und Gedenkworte. Band 2012-2013 (pp. 37-62). Berlin: Wallstein Verlag.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2006). Introduction: The evolution of culture in a microcosm. In S. C. Levinson, & P. Jaisson (Eds.), Evolution and culture: A Fyssen Foundation Symposium (pp. 1-41). Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2014). Pragmatics as the origin of recursion. In F. Lowenthal, & L. Lefebvre (Eds.), Language and recursion (pp. 3-13). Berlin: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-9414-0_1.

    Abstract

    There has been a recent spate of work on recursion as a central design feature of language and specifically of syntax. This short report points out that there is little evidence that unlimited recursion, understood as centre embedding, is typical of natural language syntax. Nevertheless, embedded pragmatic construals seem available in every language. Further, much deeper centre embedding can be found in dialogue or conversation structure than can be found in syntax. Existing accounts for the ‘performance’ limitations on centre embedding are thus thrown in doubt. Dialogue materials suggest that centre embedding is perhaps a core part of the human interaction system and is for some reason much more highly restricted in syntax than in other aspects of cognition
  • Levinson, S. C. (2014). Language evolution. In N. J. Enfield, P. Kockelman, & J. Sidnell (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of linguistic anthropology (pp. 309-324). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Levinson, S. C., & Wilkins, D. P. (2006). Patterns in the data: Towards a semantic typology of spatial description. In S. C. Levinson, & D. P. Wilkins (Eds.), Grammars of space: Explorations in cognitive diversity (pp. 512-552). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Levinson, S. C., & Wilkins, D. P. (2006). The background to the study of the language of space. In S. C. Levinson, & D. P. Wilkins (Eds.), Grammars of space: Explorations in cognitive diversity (pp. 1-23). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Levinson, S. C. (2006). The language of space in Yélî Dnye. In S. C. Levinson, & D. P. Wilkins (Eds.), Grammars of space: Explorations in cognitive diversity (pp. 157-203). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Liszkowski, U. (2014). Pointing. In P. Brooks, & V. Kempe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of language development (Vol. 15) (pp. 471-473). London: Sage.
  • Liszkowski, U. (2006). Infant pointing at twelve months: Communicative goals, motives, and social-cognitive abilities. In N. J. Enfield, & S. C. Levinson (Eds.), Roots of human sociality: culture, cognition and interaction (pp. 153-178). New York: Berg.
  • Martins, M., Raju, A., & Ravignani, A. (2014). Evaluating the role of quantitative modeling in language evolution. In L. McCrohon, B. Thompson, T. Verhoef, & H. Yamauchi (Eds.), The Past, Present and Future of Language Evolution Research: Student volume of the 9th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (pp. 84-93). Tokyo: EvoLang9 Organising Committee.

    Abstract

    Models are a flourishing and indispensable area of research in language evolution. Here we highlight critical issues in using and interpreting models, and suggest viable approaches. First, contrasting models can explain the same data and similar modelling techniques can lead to diverging conclusions. This should act as a reminder to use the extreme malleability of modelling parsimoniously when interpreting results. Second, quantitative techniques similar to those used in modelling language evolution have proven themselves inadequate in other disciplines. Cross-disciplinary fertilization is crucial to avoid mistakes which have previously occurred in other areas. Finally, experimental validation is necessary both to sharpen models' hypotheses, and to support their conclusions. Our belief is that models should be interpreted as quantitative demonstrations of logical possibilities, rather than as direct sources of evidence. Only an integration of theoretical principles, quantitative proofs and empirical validation can allow research in the evolution of language to progress.
  • Matic, D. (2014). Clues to information structure in field data. In D. El Zarka, & S. Heidinger (Eds.), Methodological Issues in the Study of Information Structure (pp. 25-42). Graz: Graz University Press.
  • Matić, D., Van Gijn, R., & Van Valin Jr., R. D. (2014). Information structure and reference tracking in complex sentences: An overview. In R. van Gijn, J. Hammond, D. Matić, S. van Putten, & A. Galucio (Eds.), Information structure and reference tracking in complex sentences. (pp. 1-42). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    This volume is dedicated to exploring the crossroads where complex sentences and information management – more specifically information structure (IS) and reference tracking (RT) – come together. Complex sentences are a highly relevant but understudied domain for studying notions of IS and RT. On the one hand, a complex sentence can be studied as a mini-unit of discourse consisting of two or more elements describing events, situations, or processes, with its own internal information-structural and referential organisation. On the other hand, complex sentences can be studied as parts of larger discourse structures, such as narratives or conversations, in terms of how their information-structural characteristics relate to this wider context.We first focus on the interrelatedness of IS and RT (Section 1) and then define and discuss the notion of complex sentences and their subtypes in Section 2. Section 3 surveys issues of IS in complex sentences, while Section 4 focuses on RT in complex sentences. Sections 5 and 6 briefly consider IS and RT in a wider discourse context. Section 5 discusses the interaction between IS, RT, and other discourse factors, and Section 6 focuses on ways in which a specific RT system, switch reference, can function as an RT device beyond the sentence.
  • Matić, D. (2014). Questions and syntactic islands in Tundra Yukaghir. In R. van Gijn, J. Hammond, D. Matić, S. van Putten, & A. Galucio (Eds.), Information structure and reference tracking in complex sentences (pp. 127-162). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    No island effects are observable in Tundra Yukaghir questions, which are possible in virtually all syntactic environments. It is argued that this feature of Tundra Yukaghir relates to its capability of explicitly marking focus domains. If a question word occurs in a syntactic island, the whole island is morphologically treated as a focus domain. In order to take scope and function as question markers, question words must remain within the focus domain, i.e. in the island clause. This syntactic configuration is reflected in the semantics of question islands, which are used to inquire about the identity of the whole island, not merely the denotation of the question word.
  • Mickan, A., Schiefke, M., & Anatol, S. (2014). Key is a llave is a Schlüssel: A failure to replicate an experiment from Boroditsky et al. 2003. In M. Hilpert, & S. Flach (Eds.), Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association (pp. 39-50). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. doi:doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2014-0004.

    Abstract

    In this paper, we present two attempts to replicate a widely-cited but never fully published experiment in which German and Spanish speakers were asked to associate adjectives with nouns of masculine and feminine grammati-cal gender (Boroditsky et al. 2003). The researchers claim that speakers associ-ated more stereotypically female adjectives with grammatically feminine nouns and more stereotypically male adjectives with grammatically masculine nouns. We were not able to replicate the results either in a word association task or in an analogous primed lexical decision task. This suggests that the results of the original experiment were either an artifact of some non-documented aspect of the experimental procedure or a statistical fluke. The question whether speakers assign sex-based interpretations to grammatical gender categories at all cannot be answered definitively, as the results in the published literature vary consider-ably. However, our experiments show that if such an effect exists, it is not strong enough to be measured indirectly via the priming of adjectives by nouns.
  • Mitterer, H., & Cutler, A. (2006). Speech perception. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (vol. 11) (pp. 770-782). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Abstract

    The goal of speech perception is understanding a speaker's message. To achieve this, listeners must recognize the words that comprise a spoken utterance. This in turn implies distinguishing these words from other minimally different words (e.g., word from bird, etc.), and this involves making phonemic distinctions. The article summarizes research on the perception of phonemic distinctions, on how listeners cope with the continuity and variability of speech signals, and on how phonemic information is mapped onto the representations of words. Particular attention is paid to theories of speech perception and word recognition.
  • Moulin, C. A., Souchay, C., Bradley, R., Buchanan, S., Karadöller, D. Z., & Akan, M. (2014). Déjà vu in older adults. In B. L. Schwartz, & A. S. Brown (Eds.), Tip-of-the-tongue states and related phenomena (pp. 281-304). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Muysken, P., Hammarström, H., Birchall, J., Danielsen, S., Eriksen, L., Galucio, A. V., Van Gijn, R., Van de Kerke, S., Kolipakam, V., Krasnoukhova, O., Müller, N., & O'Connor, L. (2014). The languages of South America: Deep families, areal relationships, and language contact. In P. Muysken, & L. O'Connor (Eds.), Language contact in South America (pp. 299-323). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Nordhoff, S., & Hammarström, H. (2014). Archiving grammatical descriptions. In P. K. Austin (Ed.), Language Documentation and Description. Vol. 12 (pp. 164-186). London: SOAS.

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  • O'Connor, L., & Kolipakam, V. (2014). Human migrations, dispersals, and contacts in South America. In L. O'Connor, & P. Muysken (Eds.), The native languages of South America: Origins, development, typology (pp. 29-55). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • O'Connor, L. (2006). Sobre los predicados complejos en el Chontal de la baja. In A. Oseguera (Ed.), Historia y etnografía entre los Chontales de Oaxaca (pp. 119-161). Oaxaca: Instituto Nacional de Antroplogía e Historia.
  • Petersson, K. M., & Reis, A. (2006). Characteristics of illiterate and literate cognitive processing: Implications of brain- behavior co-constructivism. In P. B. Baltes, P. Reuter-Lorenz, & F. Rösler (Eds.), Lifespan development and the brain: The perspective of biocultural co-constructivism (pp. 279-305). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Abstract

    Literacy and education represent essential aspects of contemporary society and subserve important aspects of socialization and cultural transmission. The study of illiterate subjects represents one approach to investigate the interactions between neurobiological and cultural factors in cognitive development, individual learning, and their influence on the functional organization of the brain. In this chapter we review some recent cognitive, neuroanatomic, and functional neuroimaging results indicating that formal education influences important aspects of the human brain. Taken together this provides strong support for the idea that the brain is modulated by literacy and formal education, which in turn change the brains capacity to interact with its environment, including the individual's contemporary culture. In other words, the individual is able to participate in, interact with, and actively contribute to the process of cultural transmission in new ways through acquired cognitive skills.
  • Poletiek, F. H. (2006). Natural sampling of stimuli in (artificial) grammar learning. In K. Fiedler, & P. Juslin (Eds.), Information sampling and adaptive cognition (pp. 440-455). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Reesink, G. (2014). Topic management and clause combination in the Papuan language Usan. In R. Van Gijn, J. Hammond, D. Matic, S. van Putten, & A.-V. Galucio (Eds.), Information Structure and Reference Tracking in Complex Sentences. (pp. 231-262). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Abstract

    This chapter describes topic management in the Papuan language Usan. The notion of ‘topic’ is defined by its pre-theoretical meaning ‘what someone’s speech is about’. This notion cannot be restricted to simple clausal or sentential constructions, but requires the wider context of long stretches of natural text. The tracking of a topic is examined in its relationship to clause combining mechanisms. Coordinating clause chaining with its switch reference mechanism is contrasted with subordinating strategies called ‘domain-creating’ constructions. These different strategies are identified by language-specific signals, such as intonation and morphosyntactic cues like nominalizations and scope of negation and other modalities.
  • Rietveld, T., & Chen, A. (2006). How to obtain and process perceptual judgements of intonational meaning. In S. Sudhoff, D. Lenertová, R. Meyer, S. Pappert, P. Augurzky, I. Mleinek, N. Richter, & J. Schliesser (Eds.), Methods in empirical prosody research (pp. 283-319). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Roberts, S. G. (2014). Monolingual Biases in Simulations of Cultural Transmission. In V. Dignum, & F. Dignum (Eds.), Perspectives on Culture and Agent-based Simulations (pp. 111-125). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-01952-9_7.

    Abstract

    Recent research suggests that the evolution of language is affected by the inductive biases of its learners. I suggest that there is an implicit assumption that one of these biases is to expect a single linguistic system in the input. Given the prevalence of bilingual cultures, this may not be a valid abstraction. This is illustrated by demonstrating that the ‘minimal naming game’ model, in which a shared lexicon evolves in a population of agents, includes an implicit mutual exclusivity bias. Since recent research suggests that children raised in bilingual cultures do not exhibit mutual exclusivity, the individual learning algorithm of the agents is not as abstract as it appears to be. A modification of this model demonstrates that communicative success can be achieved without mutual exclusivity. It is concluded that complex cultural phenomena, such as bilingualism, do not necessarily result from complex individual learning mechanisms. Rather, the cultural process itself can bring about this complexity.
  • Roberts, S. G., & Quillinan, J. (2014). The Chimp Challenge: Working memory in chimps and humans. In L. McCrohon, B. Thompson, T. Verhoef, & H. Yamauchi (Eds.), The Past, Present and Future of Language Evolution Research: Student volume of the 9th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (pp. 31-39). Tokyo: EvoLang9 Organising Committee.

    Abstract

    Matsuzawa (2012) presented work at Evolang demonstrating the working memory abilities of chimpanzees. (Inoue & Matsuzawa, 2007) found that chimpanzees can correctly remember the location of 9 randomly arranged numerals displayed for 210ms - shorter than an average human eye saccade. Humans, however, perform poorly at this task. Matsuzawa suggests a semantic link hypothesis: while chimps have good visual, eidetic memory, humans are good at symbolic associations. The extra information in the semantic, linguistic links that humans possess increase the load on working memory and make this task difficult for them. We were interested to see if a wider search could find humans that matched the performance of the chimpanzees. We created an online version of the experiment and challenged people to play. We also attempted to run a non-semantic version of the task to see if this made the task easier. We found that, while humans can perform better than Inoue and Matsuzawa (2007) suggest, chimpanzees can perform better still. We also found no evidence to support the semantic link hypothesis.
  • Rossi, G. (2014). When do people not use language to make requests? In P. Drew, & E. Couper-Kuhlen (Eds.), Requesting in social interaction (pp. 301-332). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Abstract

    In everyday joint activities (e.g. playing cards, preparing potatoes, collecting empty plates), participants often request others to pass, move or otherwise deploy objects. In order to get these objects to or from the requestee, requesters need to manipulate them, for example by holding them out, reaching for them, or placing them somewhere. As they perform these manual actions, requesters may or may not accompany them with language (e.g. Take this potato and cut it or Pass me your plate). This study shows that adding or omitting language in the design of a request is influenced in the first place by a criterion of recognition. When the requested action is projectable from the advancement of an activity, presenting a relevant object to the requestee is enough for them to understand what to do; when, on the other hand, the requested action is occasioned by a contingent development of the activity, requesters use language to specify what the requestee should do. This criterion operates alongside a perceptual criterion, to do with the affordances of the visual and auditory modality. When the requested action is projectable but the requestee is not visually attending to the requester’s manual behaviour, the requester can use just enough language to attract the requestee’s attention and secure immediate recipiency. This study contributes to a line of research concerned with the organisation of verbal and nonverbal resources for requesting. Focussing on situations in which language is not – or only minimally – used, it demonstrates the role played by visible bodily behaviour and by the structure of everyday activities in the formation and understanding of requests.
  • Rowland, C. F., Noble, C. H., & Chan, A. (2014). Competition all the way down: How children learn word order cues to sentence meaning. In B. MacWhinney, A. Malchukov, & E. Moravcsik (Eds.), Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage (pp. 125-143). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Abstract

    Most work on competing cues in language acquisition has focussed on what happens when cues compete within a certain construction. There has been far less work on what happens when constructions themselves compete. The aim of the present chapter was to explore how the acquisition mechanism copes when constructions compete in a language. We present three experimental studies, all of which focus on the acquisition of the syntactic function of word order as a marker of the Theme-Recipient relation in ditransitives (form-meaning mapping). In Study 1 we investigated how quickly English children acquire form-meaning mappings when there are two competing structures in the language. We demonstrated that English speaking 4-year- olds, but not 3-year-olds, correctly interpreted both preposition al and double object datives, assigning Theme and Recipient participant roles on the basis of word order cues. There was no advantage for the double object dative despite its greater frequency in child directed speech. In Study 2 we looked at acquisition in a language which has no dative alternation –Welsh–to investigate how quickly children acquire form-meaning mapping when there is no competing structure. We demonstrated that Welsh children (Study 2) acquired the prepositional dative at age 3 years, which was much earlier than English children. Finally, in Study 3 we examined bei2 (give) ditransitives in Cantonese, to investigate what happens when there is no dative alternation (as in Welsh), but when the child hears alternative, and possibly competing, word orders in the input. Like the English 3-year-olds, the Cantonese 3-year-olds had not yet acquired the word order marking constraints of bei2 ditransitives. We conclude that there is not only competition between cues but competition between constructions in language acquisition. We suggest an extension to the competition model (Bates & MacWhinney, 1982) whereby generalisations take place across constructions as easily as they take place within constructions, whenever there are salient similarities to form the basis of the generalisation.

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