Publications

Displaying 1 - 33 of 33
  • Aarts, E. (2009). Resisting temptation: The role of the anterior cingulate cortex in adjusting cognitive control. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Baggio, G. (2009). Semantics and the electrophysiology of meaning: Tense, aspect, event structure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bauer, B. L. M. (1992). Du latin au français: Le passage d'une langue SOV à une langue SVO. 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.
  • Cholin, J. (2004). Syllables in speech production: Effects of syllable preparation and syllable frequency. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.60589.

    Abstract

    The fluent production of speech is a very complex human skill. It requires the coordination of several articulatory subsystems. The instructions that lead articulatory movements to execution are the result of the interplay of speech production levels that operate above the articulatory network. During the process of word-form encoding, the groundwork for the articulatory programs is prepared which then serve the articulators as basic units. This thesis investigated whether or not syllables form the basis for the articulatory programs and in particular whether or not these syllable programs are stored, separate from the store of the lexical word-forms. It is assumed that syllable units are stored in a so-called 'mental syllabary'. The main goal of this thesis was to find evidence of the syllable playing a functionally important role in speech production and for the assumption that syllables are stored units. In a variant of the implicit priming paradigm, it was investigated whether information about the syllabic structure of a target word facilitates the preparation (advanced planning) of a to-be-produced utterance. These experiments yielded evidence for the functionally important role of syllables in speech production. In a subsequent row of experiments, it could be demonstrated that the production of syllables is sensitive to frequency. Syllable frequency effects provide strong evidence for the notion of a mental syllabary because only stored units are likely to exhibit frequency effects. In a last study, effects of syllable preparation and syllable frequency were investigated in a combined study to disentangle the two effects. The results of this last experiment converged with those reported for the other experiments and added further support to the claim that syllables play a core functional role in speech production and are stored in a mental syllabary.

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  • Davids, N. (2009). Neurocognitive markers of phonological processing: A clinical perspective. 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.

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  • Frank, S. L. (2004). Computational modeling of discourse comprehension. PhD Thesis, Tilburg University, Tilburg.
  • 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.
  • Holler, J. (2004). Semantic and pragmatic aspects of representational gestures: Towards a unified model of communication in talk. PhD Thesis, University of Manchester, Manchester.
  • Kemps, R. J. J. K. (2004). Morphology in auditory lexical processing: Sensitivity to fine phonetic detail and insensitivity to suffix reduction. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59193.

    Abstract

    This dissertation investigates two seemingly contradictory properties of the speech perception system. On the one hand, listeners are extremely sensitive to the fine phonetic details in the speech signal. These subtle acoustic cues can reduce the temporal ambiguity between words that show initial segmental overlap, and can guide lexical activation. On the other hand, comprehension does not seem to be hampered at all by the drastic reductions that typically occur in casual speech. Complete segments, and sometimes even complete syllables, may be missing, but comprehension is seemingly unaffected. This thesis aims at elucidating how words are represented and accessed in the mental lexicon, by investigating these contradictory phenomena for the domain of morphology

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  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1998). Kaleidoskop [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (112).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1989). Kindersprache [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (73).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (2004). Philologie auf neuen Wegen [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 136.
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1992). Textlinguistik [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (86).
  • Klein, W., & Dimroth, C. (Eds.). (2009). Worauf kann sich der Sprachunterricht stützen? [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 153.
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (2004). Universitas [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik (LiLi), 134.
  • Kuzla, C. (2009). Prosodic structure in speech production and perception. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • De León, L., & Levinson, S. C. (Eds.). (1992). Space in Mesoamerican languages [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Phonetik, Sprachwissenschaft und Kommunikationsforschung, 45(6).
  • Meeuwissen, M. (2004). Producing complex spoken numerals for time and space. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.60607.

    Abstract

    This thesis addressed the spoken production of complex numerals for time and space. The production of complex numerical expressions like those involved in telling time (e.g., 'quarter to four') or producing house numbers (e.g., 'two hundred forty-five') has been almost completely ignored. Yet, adult speakers produce such expressions on a regular basis in everyday communication. Thus, no theory on numerical cognition or speech production is complete without an account of the production of multi-morphemic utterances such as complex numeral expressions. The main question of this thesis is which particular speech planning levels are involved in the naming and reading of complex numerals for time and space. More specifically, this issue was investigated by examining different modes of response (clock times versus house numbers), alternative input formats (Arabic digit versus alphabetic format; analog versus digital clock displays), and different expression types (relative 'quarter to four' versus absolute 'three forty-five' time expressions).

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

    Abstract

    Many Mayan languages make use of a special dependent verb form (the Agent Focus, or AF verb form), which alternates with the normal transitive verb form (the synthetic verb form) of main clauses when the subject of a transitive verb is focused, questioned or relativized. It has been a centerpiece of research in Mayan morphosyntax over the last forty years, due to its puzzling formal and distributional properties. In this dissertation I show how a usage-oriented approach to the phenomenon can provide important insights into this area of grammar which resists any categorical explanation. I propose that the historical origins of these special verb forms can be traced to the emergence of head marking. Drawing on cross-linguistic and historical data, I argue that the special verbs that occur in A-bar dependencies in Yucatec and a range of head-marking languages are byproducts of the frequency-sensitive gramaticalization process by which independent pronouns become pronominal inflection on verbs. I show that the relatively low frequency of adjacent pronoun-verb combinations in extraction contexts (where gaps are more frequent than resumptive pronouns) can give rise to asymmetric patterns of pronoun grammaticalization, and thus lead to the emergence of these morphological alternations. The asymmetric frequency distributions of gaps and RPs (within and across languages) in turn can be explained by processing preferences. I present three experiments which show that Yucatec speakers are more likely to use the resumptive verb form in embedded environments, and where the antecedent is indefinite. Specifically, these studies indicate the need to bring discourse-level processing principles into the account of what have often been taken to be autonomously sentence-internal phenomena: factors such as distance and the referential salience of the antecedent have been shown to influence referential form choice in discourse, suggesting that the same cognitive principles lie behind both types of variation. More generally, the Yucatec studies demonstrate that production preferences in Yucatec relative clauses reflect patterns of RP/gap distributions that have been attested across grammars. The Highest Subject Restriction (the ban on subject RPs in local dependencies), which is apparently a categorical constraint in many languages, is reflected probabilistically in Yucatec in terms of production preferences. The definiteness restriction (RPs are obligatory with indefinite antecedents), which has been reported categorically in other languages, is also visible probabilistically in Yucatec production. This lends some statistically robust support to the view that typological patterns can arise via the conventionalization of processing preferences.
  • O'Connor, L. (2004). Motion, transfer, and transformation: The grammar of change in Lowland Chontal. PhD Thesis, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara.

    Abstract

    Typologies are critical tools for linguists, but typologies, like grammars, are known to leak. This book addresses the question of typological overlap from the perspective of a single language. In Lowland Chontal of Oaxaca, a language of southern Mexico, change events are expressed with three types of predicates, and each predicate type corresponds to a different language type in the well-known typology of lexicalization patterns established by Talmy and elaborated by others. O’Connor evaluates the predictive powers of the typology by examining the consequences of each predicate type in a variety of contexts, using data from narrative discourse, stimulus response, and elicitation. This is the first de­tailed look at the lexical and grammatical resources of the verbal system in Chontal and their relation to semantics of change. The analysis of how and why Chontal speakers choose among these verbal resources to achieve particular communicative and social goals serves both as a documentation of an endangered language and a theoretical contribution towards a typology of language use.
  • Rossano, F. (2004). Per una semiotica dell'interazione: Analisi del rapporto tra sguardo, corpo e parola in alcune interazione faccia a faccia. Master Thesis, Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
  • 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
  • Schmiedtová, B. (2004). At the same time.. The expression of simultaneity in learner varieties. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59569.

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  • Van den Brink, D. (2004). Contextual influences on spoken-word processing: An electrophysiological approach. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57773.

    Abstract

    The aim of this thesis was to gain more insight into spoken-word comprehension and the influence of sentence-contextual information on these processes using ERPs. By manipulating critical words in semantically constraining sententes, in semantic or syntactic sense, and examining the consequences in the electrophysiological signal (e.g., elicitation of ERP components such as the N400, N200, LAN, and P600), three questions were tackled: I At which moment is context information used in the spoken-word recognition process? II What is the temporal relationship between lexical selection and integration of the meaning of a spoken word into a higher-order level representeation of the preceding sentence? III What is the time course of the processing of different sources of linguistic information obtained from the context, such as phonological, semantic and syntactic information, during spoken-word comprehension? From the results of this thesis it can be concluded that sentential context already exerts an influence on spoken-word processing at approximately 200 ms after word onset. In addition, semantic integration is attempted before a spoken word can be selected on the basis of the acoustic signal, i.e. before lexical selection is completed. Finally, knowledge of the syntactic category of a word is not needed before semantic integration can take place. These findings, therefore, were interpreted as providing evidence for an account of cascaded spoken-word processing that proclaims an optimal use of contextual information during spoken-word identification. Optimal use is accomplished by allowing for semantic and syntactic processing to take place in parallel after bottom-up activation of a set of candidates, and lexical integration to proceed with a limited number of candidates that still match the acoustic input

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  • Van Alphen, P. M. (2004). Perceptual relevance of prevoicing in Dutch. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.58551.

    Abstract

    In this dissertation the perceptual relevance of prevoicing in Dutch was investigated. Prevoicing is the presence of vocal fold vibration during the closure of initial voiced plosives (negative voice onset time). The presence or absence of prevoicing is generally used to describe the difference between voiced and voiceless Dutch plosives. The first experiment described in this dissertation showed that prevoicing is frequently absent in Dutch and that several factors affect the production of prevoicing. A detailed acoustic analysis of the voicing distinction identified several acoustic correlates of voicing. Prevoicing appeared to be by far the best predictor. Perceptual classification data revealed that prevoicing was indeed the strongest cue that listeners use when classifying plosives as voiced or voiceless. In the cases where prevoicing was absent, other acoustic cues influenced classification, such that some of these tokens were still perceived as being voiced. In the second part of this dissertation the influence of prevoicing variation on spoken-word recognition was examined. In several cross-modal priming experiments two types of prevoicing variation were contrasted: a difference between the presence and absence of prevoicing (6 versus 0 periods of prevoicing) and a difference in the amount of prevoicing (12 versus 6 periods). All these experiments indicated that primes with 12 and 6 periods of prevoicing had the same effect on lexical decisions to the visual targets. The primes without prevoicing had a different effect, but only when their voiceless counterparts were real words. Phonetic detail appears to influence lexical access only when it is useful: In Dutch, the presence versus absence of prevoicing is informative, while the amount of prevoicing is not.

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  • Van Putten, S. (2009). Talking about motion in Avatime. Master Thesis, Leiden University.
  • Verhagen, J. (2009). Finiteness in Dutch as a second language. PhD Thesis, VU University, Amsterdam.
  • Willems, R. M. (2009). Neural reflections of meaning in gesture, language, and action. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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