Publications

Displaying 1 - 34 of 34
  • 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.
  • Broersma, M. (2005). Phonetic and lexical processing in a second language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.58294.
  • Davids, N. (2009). Neurocognitive markers of phonological processing: A clinical perspective. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Filippi, P. (2005). Gilbert Ryle: Pensare la Mente. Master Thesis, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo.

    Abstract

    This study focuses on the main work of Gilbert Ryle, “The concept of Mind” (1949). Here the author demolishes what he refers to as the cartesian dogma of “the ghost in the machine”, highlighting the absurdity of categorical ordering in dualist systems, where mental activities are explained as separate from physical actions. Surprisingly, the Italian translator of “The concept of Mind”, Ferruccio Rossi-Landi, missed this key aspect of Ryle’s work, writing up what resulted into a significantly misleading translation. This can be clearly noticed from the title already: “Lo spirito come comportamento” [The ghost as behavior]. This erroneous translation affected the interpretation of “The concept of Mind” as a mere study on behavioral reductionism in Italy. Here, I argue in favor of the originality of Ryle’s approach in pointing out the socio-cultural dynamics as the non - physical dimensions of the human mind, and yet, linked to the human brain. In doing so, I trace the crucial influence of Wittgenstein’s philosophy in Ryle’s interpretation of the concept of mind, which helps in grasping a better understanding of his work. Wittgenstein’s influence shows clearly in Ryle’s conceptual operation of grounding the acquisition of dispositions and competences - which ultimately define the rational subjects as rational agents – in the shared background of social and cultural dynamics. In a nutshell, this social dimension is the defining characteristic of the human mind and of all human actions in Ryle’s philosophy. As Ryle argues in “On thinking” (1979), this intrinsic quality of human actions can reveal itself in actions that one performs absent-mindendly in everyday life, as well as in more complex ones: for instance, when the mind reflects upon itself.
  • 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.
  • Jesse, A. (2005). Towards a lexical fuzzy logical model of perception: The time-course of information in lexical identification of face-to-face speech. PhD Thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Abstract

    In face-to-face communication, information from the face as well as from the voice contributes to the identification of spoken words. This dissertation investigates the time-course of the evaluation and integration of visual and auditory speech in audiovisual word identification. A large-scale audiovisual gating study extends previous research on this topic by (1) using a set of words that includes all possible initial consonants in English in three vowel contexts, (2) tracking the information processing for individual words not only across modalities, but also over time, and (3) testing quantitative models of the time-course of multimodal word recognition. There was an advantage in accuracy for audiovisual speech over auditory-only and visual-only speech. Auditory performance was, however, close to ceiling while performance on visual-only trials was near the floor of the scale, but well above chance. Visual information was used at all gates to identify the presented words. Information theoretic feature analyses of the confusion matrices revealed that the auditory signal is highly informative about voicing, manner, frication, duration, and place of articulation. Visual speech is mostly informative about place of articulation, but also about frication and duration. The auditory signal provides more information about the place of articulation for back consonants, whereas the visual signal provides more information for the labial consonants. The data were sufficient to discriminate between models of audiovisual word recognition. The Fuzzy Logical Model of Perception (FLMP; Massaro, 1998) gave a better account of the confusion matrix data than additive models of perception. A dynamic version of the FLMP was expanded to account for the evaluation and integration of information over time. This dynamic FLMP provided a better description of the data than dynamic additive competitor models. The present study builds a good foundation to investigate the role of the complex interplay between stimulus information and the structure of the lexicon. It provides an important step in building a formal representation of a lexical dynamic FLMP that can account not only for the time-course of speech information and its perceptual processing, but also for lexical influences.
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1995). Epoche [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (100).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (1998). Kaleidoskop [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, (112).
  • Klein, W. (Ed.). (2005). Nicht nur Literatur [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 137.
  • Klein, W., & Dimroth, C. (Eds.). (2005). Spracherwerb [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 140.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Liszkowski, U. (2005). The role of infant pointing in the ontogeny of human communication and social cognition. PhD Thesis, University of Leipzig, Leipzig.
  • Lüpke, F. (2005). A grammar of Jalonke argument structure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.59381.
  • 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.
  • Poletiek, F. H., & Rassin E. (Eds.). (2005). Het (on)bewuste [Special Issue]. De Psycholoog.
  • De Ruiter, J. P. (1998). Gesture and speech production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2057686.
  • Salverda, A. P. (2005). Prosodically-conditioned detail in the recognition of spoken words. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.57311.

    Abstract

    The research presented in this dissertation examined the influence of prosodically-conditioned detail on the recognition of spoken words. The main finding is that subphonemic information in the speech signal that is conditioned by constituent-level prosodic structure can affect lexical processing systematically. It was shown that such information, as indicated by and estimated from the lengthening of speech sounds in the vicinity of prosodic boundaries, can help listeners to distinguish onset-embedded words (e.g. 'ham') from longer words that have this word embedded at their onset (e.g. 'hamster'). Furthermore, it was shown that variation in the realization of a spoken word that is associated with its position in the prosodic structure of an utterance can effect lexical processing. The pattern of competitor activation associated with the recognition of a monosyllabic spoken word in utterance-final position, where the realization of the word is strongly affected by the utterance boundary, is different from that associated with the recognition of the same word in utterance-medial position, where the realization of the word is less strongly affected by the following prosodic-word boundary. Taken together, the findings attest to the extraordinary sensitivity of the spoken-word recogntion system by demonstrating the relevance for lexical processing of very fine-grained phonetic detail conditioned by prosodic structure.

    Additional information

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  • Scharenborg, O. (2005). Narrowing the gap between automatic and human word recognition. PhD Thesis, [S.l.: s.n.].

    Abstract

    RU Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 16 september 2005
  • 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
  • Seifart, F. (2005). The structure and use of shape-based noun classes in Miraña (North West Amazon). PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.60378.

    Abstract

    Miraña, an endangered Witotoan language spoken in the Colombian Amazon region, has an inventory of over 60 noun class markers, most of which denote the shape of nominal referents. Class markers in this language are ubiquitous in their uses for derivational purposes in nouns and for agreement marking in virtually all other nominal expressions, such as pronouns, numerals, demonstratives, and relative clauses, as well as in verbs. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of this system by giving equal attention to its morphosyntactic, semantic, and discourse-pragmatic properties. The particular properties of this system raise issues in a number of ongoing theoretical discussions, in particular the typology of systems of nominal classification and the typology of reference tracking.

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  • Sidnell, J., & Stivers, T. (Eds.). (2005). Multimodal Interaction [Special Issue]. Semiotica, 156.
  • 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.
  • Wassenaar, M. (2005). Agrammatic comprehension: An electrophysiological approach. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.60340.

    Abstract

    This dissertation focuses on syntactic comprehension problems in patients with Broca's aphasia from an electrophysiological perspective. The central objective of this dissertation was to further explore what syntax-related event-related brain potential (ERP) effects can reveal about the nature of the deficit that underlies syntactic comprehension problems in patients with Broca's aphasia. Chapter two to four describe experiments in which event-related brain potentials were recorded while subjects (Broca patients, non-aphasic patients with a right-hemisphere lesion, and healthy elderly controls) were presented with sentences that contained either violations of syntactic constraints or were syntactically correct. Chapter two investigates ERP effects of subject-verb agreement violations in the different subject groups, and seeks to answer the following questions: Do agrammatic comprehenders show sensitivity to subject-verb agreement violations as indicated by a syntax-related ERP effect? In addition, does the severity of the syntactic comprehension impairment in the Broca patients affect the ERP responses? Chapter three describes an investigation of whether Broca patients show sensitivity to violations of word order as indicated by a syntax-related ERP effect, and whether the ERP responses in the Broca patients are affected by the severity of their syntactic comprehension impairment. Chapter four reports on ERP effects of violations of word-category. In addition, also a semantic violation condition was added to track possible dissociations in the sensitivity to semantic and syntactic information in the Broca patients. Chapter five describes the development of a paradigm in which the electrophysiological approach and the classical sentence-picture matching approach are combined. In this chapter, the ERP method is applied to study on-line thematic role assignment in Broca patients during sentence-picture matching. Also the relation between ERP effects and behavioral responses is pursued. Finally, Chapter 6 provides a summary of the main findings of the experiments and a general discussion.

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  • Willems, R. M. (2009). Neural reflections of meaning in gesture, language, and action. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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