Publications

Displaying 1 - 30 of 30
  • Aarts, E. (2009). Resisting temptation: The role of the anterior cingulate cortex in adjusting cognitive control. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Andics, A. (2013). Who is talking? Behavioural and neural evidence for norm-based coding in voice identity learning. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Baggio, G. (2009). Semantics and the electrophysiology of meaning: Tense, aspect, event structure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Behnke, K. (1998). The acquisition of phonetic categories in young infants: A self-organising artificial neural network approach. PhD Thesis, University of Twente, Enschede. doi:10.17617/2.2057688.
  • Davids, N. (2009). Neurocognitive markers of phonological processing: A clinical perspective. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Dolscheid, S. (2013). High pitches and thick voices: The role of language in space-pitch associations. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Fitz, H. (2009). Neural syntax. PhD Thesis, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation.

    Abstract

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

    Additional information

    http://dare.uva.nl/record/328271
  • Grabe, E. (1998). Comparative intonational phonology: English and German. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057683.
  • Hammond, J. (2009). The grammar of nouns and verbs in Whitesands, an oceanic language of Southern Vanuatu. Master Thesis, University of Sydney, Sydney.

    Abstract

    Whitesands is an under-described language of southern Vanuatu, and this thesis presents Whitesands-specific data based on primary in-situ field research. The thesis addresses the distinction of noun and verb word classes in the language. It claims that current linguistic syntax theory cannot account for the argument structure of canonical object-denoting roots. It is shown that there are distinct lexical noun and verb classes in Whitesands but this is only a weak dichotomy. Stronger is the NP and VP distinction, and this is achieved by employing a new theoretical approach that proposes functional categories and their selection of complements as crucial tests of distinction. This approach contrasts with previous analyses of parts of speech in Oceanic languages and cross-linguistically. It ultimately explains many of the syntactic phenomena seen in the language family, including the above argument assignment dilemma, the alienable possession of nouns with classifiers and also the nominalisation processes.
  • Hanique, I. (2013). Mental representation and processing of reduced words in casual speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Additional information

    Full Text (via Radboud)
  • Hayano, K. (2013). Territories of knowledge in Japanese conversation. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    This thesis focuses on one aspect of interactional competence: competence to manage knowledge distribution in conversation. In order to be considered competent in everyday interaction, participants need not only to index one another's knowledge states but also to engage in dynamic negotiation of knowledge distribution. Adopting the methodology of conversation analysis, the thesis investigates how participants' orientations to knowledge distribution, 'epistemicity', are manifested. The thesis examines three interactional environments: assessment sequences, informing sequences and polar question-answer sequences. A systematic analysis reveals that interactants orient to different aspects of knowledge in different environments, employing different grammatical resources. When they assess an object, they are concerned about who possesses 'epistemic primacy'. Japanese final particles and the practices of intensification serve together to claim epistemic primacy and provide support for the claim. It is also reported that interactants are oriented to achieve 'epistemic congruence' − consensus regarding how knowledge is distributed among them. When one provides the other with new information, the exchange commonly develops into a four-turn sequence, instead of a minimal adjacency pair. It is shown that this sequence organization allows interactants to achieve a balance between territories of experience, affiliation and empathy. In polar question-answer sequences, how (un)expected or novel a given piece of information is becomes an issue. Answers are found to be formulated such that they adopt epistemic stances that are assertive enough to match the level of (un)certainty expressed by questioners. The thesis contributes to our understanding of how social interaction is organized. It becomes clear from the findings that a wide range of aspects of language use and interactional organization are dominated by interactants' orientations to epistemicity. Participants manage knowledge distribution in everyday interaction, which may be the most fundamental means of managing their social statuses and relations.
  • Krämer, I. (2000). Interpreting indefinites: An experimental study of children's language comprehension. PhD Thesis, University of Utrecht, Utrecht. doi:10.17617/2.2057626.
  • Kuzla, C. (2009). Prosodic structure in speech production and perception. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Liszkowski, U. (2000). A belief about theory of mind: The relation between children's inhibitory control and their common sense psychological knowledge. Master Thesis, University of Essex.
  • Mulder, K. (2013). Family and neighbourhood relations in the mental lexicon: A cross-language perspective. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    We lezen en horen dagelijks duizenden woorden zonder dat het ons enige moeite lijkt te kosten. Toch speelt zich in ons brein ondertussen een complex mentaal proces af, waarbij tal van andere woorden dan het aangeboden woord, ook actief worden. Dit gebeurt met name wanneer die andere woorden overeenkomen met de feitelijk aangeboden woorden in spelling, uitspraak of betekenis. Deze activatie als gevolg van gelijkenis strekt zich zelfs uit tot andere talen: ook daarin worden gelijkende woorden actief. Waar liggen de grenzen van dit activatieproces? Activeer je bij het verwerken van het Engelse woord 'steam' ook het Nederlandse woord 'stram'(een zogenaamd 'buurwoord)? En activeer je bij 'clock' zowel 'clockwork' als 'klokhuis' ( twee morfolologische familieleden uit verschillende talen)? Kimberley Mulder onderzocht hoe het leesproces van Nederlands-Engelse tweetaligen wordt beïnvloed door zulke relaties. In meerdere experimentele studies vond ze dat tweetaligen niet alleen morfologische familieleden en orthografische buren activeren uit de taal waarin ze op dat moment lezen, maar ook uit de andere taal die ze kennen. Het lezen van een woord beperkt zich dus geenszins tot wat je eigenlijk ziet, maar activeert een heel netwerk van woorden in je brein.
  • Norcliffe, E. (2009). Head-marking in usage and grammar: A study of variation and change in Yucatec Maya. PhD Thesis, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

    Abstract

    Many Mayan languages make use of a special dependent verb form (the Agent Focus, or AF verb form), which alternates with the normal transitive verb form (the synthetic verb form) of main clauses when the subject of a transitive verb is focused, questioned or relativized. It has been a centerpiece of research in Mayan morphosyntax over the last forty years, due to its puzzling formal and distributional properties. In this dissertation I show how a usage-oriented approach to the phenomenon can provide important insights into this area of grammar which resists any categorical explanation. I propose that the historical origins of these special verb forms can be traced to the emergence of head marking. Drawing on cross-linguistic and historical data, I argue that the special verbs that occur in A-bar dependencies in Yucatec and a range of head-marking languages are byproducts of the frequency-sensitive gramaticalization process by which independent pronouns become pronominal inflection on verbs. I show that the relatively low frequency of adjacent pronoun-verb combinations in extraction contexts (where gaps are more frequent than resumptive pronouns) can give rise to asymmetric patterns of pronoun grammaticalization, and thus lead to the emergence of these morphological alternations. The asymmetric frequency distributions of gaps and RPs (within and across languages) in turn can be explained by processing preferences. I present three experiments which show that Yucatec speakers are more likely to use the resumptive verb form in embedded environments, and where the antecedent is indefinite. Specifically, these studies indicate the need to bring discourse-level processing principles into the account of what have often been taken to be autonomously sentence-internal phenomena: factors such as distance and the referential salience of the antecedent have been shown to influence referential form choice in discourse, suggesting that the same cognitive principles lie behind both types of variation. More generally, the Yucatec studies demonstrate that production preferences in Yucatec relative clauses reflect patterns of RP/gap distributions that have been attested across grammars. The Highest Subject Restriction (the ban on subject RPs in local dependencies), which is apparently a categorical constraint in many languages, is reflected probabilistically in Yucatec in terms of production preferences. The definiteness restriction (RPs are obligatory with indefinite antecedents), which has been reported categorically in other languages, is also visible probabilistically in Yucatec production. This lends some statistically robust support to the view that typological patterns can arise via the conventionalization of processing preferences.
  • Ortega, G. (2013). Acquisition of a signed phonological system by hearing adults: The Role of sign structure and iconcity. PhD Thesis, University College London, London.

    Abstract

    The phonological system of a sign language comprises meaningless sub-lexical units that define the structure of a sign. A number of studies have examined how learners of a sign language as a first language (L1) acquire these components. However, little is understood about the mechanism by which hearing adults develop visual phonological categories when learning a sign language as a second language (L2). Developmental studies have shown that sign complexity and iconicity, the clear mapping between the form of a sign and its referent, shape in different ways the order of emergence of a visual phonology. The aim of the present dissertation was to investigate how these two factors affect the development of a visual phonology in hearing adults learning a sign language as L2. The empirical data gathered in this dissertation confirms that sign structure and iconicity are important factors that determine L2 phonological development. Non-signers perform better at discriminating the contrastive features of phonologically simple signs than signs with multiple elements. Handshape was the parameter most difficult to learn, followed by movement, then orientation and finally location which is the same order of acquisition reported in L1 sign acquisition. In addition, the ability to access the iconic properties of signs had a detrimental effect in phonological development because iconic signs were consistently articulated less accurately than arbitrary signs. Participants tended to retain the iconic elements of signs but disregarded their exact phonetic structure. Further, non-signers appeared to process iconic signs as iconic gestures at least at the early stages of sign language acquisition. The empirical data presented in this dissertation suggest that non-signers exploit their gestural system as scaffolding of the new manual linguistic system and that sign L2 phonological development is strongly influenced by the structural complexity of a sign and its degree of iconicity.
  • Poellmann, K. (2013). The many ways listeners adapt to reductions in casual speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Puccini, D. (2013). The use of deictic versus representational gestures in infancy. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Rommers, J. (2013). Seeing what's next: Processing and anticipating language referring to objects. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Rowland, C. F. (2000). The grammatical acquisition of wh-questions in early English multi-word speech. PhD Thesis, University of Nottingham, UK.

    Abstract

    Recent studies of wh-question acquisition have tended to come from the nativist side of the language acquisition debate with little input from a constructivist perspective. The present work was designed to redress the balance, first by presenting a detailed description of young children's wh-question acquisition data, second, by providing detailed critiques of two nativist theories of wh- question acquisition, and third, by presenting a preliminary account of young children's wh-question development from a constructivist perspective. Analyses of the data from twelve 2 to 3 year old children collected over a year and of data from an older child (Adam from the Brown corpus, 1973) are described and three conclusions are drawn. First it is argued that the data suggest that children's knowledge of how to form wh-questions builds up gradually as they learn how to combine lexical items such as wh-words and auxiliaries in specific ways. Second, it is concluded that two nativist theories of grammatical development (Radford, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, Valian, Lasser & Mandelbaum, 1992) fail to account successfully for the wh-question data produced by the children. Third, it is asserted that the lexically-specific nature of children's early wh-questions is compatible with a lexical constructivist view of development, which proposes that the language learning mechanism learns by picking up high frequency lexical patterns from the input. The implications of these conclusions for theories of language development and future research are discussed.
  • De Ruiter, J. P. (1998). Gesture and speech production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057686.
  • Schimke, S. (2009). The acquisition of finiteness by Turkish learners of German and Turkish learners of French: Investigating knowledge of forms and functions in production and comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    Sarah Schimke onderzocht hoe mensen die op volwassen leeftijd naar een ander land verhuizen de taal van dit land leren, ook zonder veel taalinstructie te krijgen. Twee groepen werden onderzocht: Turkse immigranten in Frankrijk en Turkse immigranten in Duitsland. De resultaten laten zien dat volwassen leerlingen in het begin van het verwervingsproces een gemakkelijkere variatie van de doeltaal creëren. Er worden wel woorden van de doeltaal verworven en gebruikt, maar er wordt een gesimplificeerde grammatica toegepast. In het bijzonder gebruiken leerlingen in deze fase geen finietheid, dus geen morfologische variaties van werkwoorden. Schimke toont aan dat als finietheid wordt verworven, dit de grammatica van de leerlingen sterk verandert en dat deze veel sterker op de doeltaalgrammatica begint te lijken. Ook toont ze aan dat dit proces door karakteristieken van de doeltaal, zoals de woordvolgorde en de complexiteit van de morfologie, wordt beïnvloed
  • Schultze-Berndt, E. (2000). Simple and complex verbs in Jaminjung: A study of event categorisation in an Australian language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057716.
  • Shao, Z. (2013). Contributions of executive control to individual differences in word production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Van der Zande, P. (2013). Hearing and seeing speech: Perceptual adjustments in auditory-visual speech processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    promotie op 5 september 2013

    Additional information

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Van Putten, S. (2009). Talking about motion in Avatime. Master Thesis, Leiden University.
  • Verhagen, J. (2009). Finiteness in Dutch as a second language. PhD Thesis, VU University, Amsterdam.
  • Willems, R. M. (2009). Neural reflections of meaning in gesture, language, and action. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Witteman, M. J. (2013). Lexical processing of foreign-accented speech: Rapid and flexible adaptation. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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