Publications

Displaying 1 - 100 of 397
  • Arana, S. (2022). Abstract neural representations of language during sentence comprehension: Evidence from MEG and Behaviour. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Hahn, L. E. (2022). Infants' perception of sound patterns in oral language play. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Karadöller, D. Z. (2022). Development of spatial language and memory: Effects of language modality and late sign language exposure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lutzenberger, H. (2022). Kata Kolok phonology - Variation and acquisition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • De Rue, N. (2022). Phonological contrast and conflict in Dutch vowels: Neurobiological and psycholinguistic evidence from children and adults. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Schoenmakers, G.-J. (2022). Definite objects in the wild: A converging evidence approach to scrambling in the Dutch middle-field. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Shen, C. (2022). Individual differences in speech production and maximum speech performance. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Wolf, M. C. (2022). Spoken and written word processing: Effects of presentation modality and individual differences in experience to written language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Yu, X. (2021). Foreign language learning in study-abroad and at-home contexts. PhD Thesis, Raboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Bentum, M. (2021). Listening with great expectations: A study of predictive natural speech processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Cutler, A., Aslin, R. N., Gervain, J., & Nespor, M. (Eds.). (2021). Special issue in honor of Jacques Mehler, Cognition's founding editor [Special Issue]. Cognition, 213.
  • Evans, N., Levinson, S. C., & Sterelny, K. (Eds.). (2021). Thematic issue on evolution of kinship systems [Special Issue]. Biological theory, 16.
  • Eviatar, Z., & Huettig, F. (Eds.). (2021). Literacy and writing systems [Special Issue]. Journal of Cultural Cognitive Science.
  • Felker, E. R. (2021). Learning second language speech perception in natural settings. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Frances, C. (2021). Semantic richness, semantic context, and language learning. PhD Thesis, Universidad del País Vasco-Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Donostia.

    Abstract

    As knowing a foreign language becomes a necessity in the modern world, a large portion of the population is faced with the challenge of learning a language in a classroom. This, in turn, presents a unique set of difficulties. Acquiring a language with limited and artificial exposure makes learning new information and vocabulary particularly difficult. The purpose of this thesis is to help us understand how we can compensate—at least partially—for these difficulties by presenting information in a way that aids learning. In particular, I focused on variables that affect semantic richness—meaning the amount and variability of information associated with a word. Some factors that affect semantic richness are intrinsic to the word and others pertain to that word’s relationship with other items and information. This latter group depends on the context around the to-be- learned items rather than the words themselves. These variables are easier to manipulate than intrinsic qualities, making them more accessible tools for teaching and understanding learning. I focused on two factors: emotionality of the surrounding semantic context and contextual diversity. Publication 1 (Frances, de Bruin, et al., 2020b) focused on content learning in a foreign language and whether the emotionality—positive or neutral—of the semantic context surrounding key information aided its learning. This built on prior research that showed a reduction in emotionality in a foreign language. Participants were taught information embedded in either positive or neutral semantic contexts in either their native or foreign language. When they were then tested on these embedded facts, participants’ performance decreased in the foreign language. But, more importantly, they remembered better the information from the positive than the neutral semantic contexts. In Publication 2 (Frances, de Bruin, et al., 2020a), I focused on how emotionality affected vocabulary learning. I taught participants the names of novel items described either in positive or neutral terms in either their native or foreign language. Participants were then asked to recall and recognize the object's name—when cued with its image. The effects of language varied with the difficulty of the task—appearing in recall but not recognition tasks. Most importantly, learning the words in a positive context improved learning, particularly of the association between the image of the object and its name. In Publication 3 (Frances, Martin, et al., 2020), I explored the effects of contextual diversity—namely, the number of texts a word appears in—on native and foreign language word learning. Participants read several texts that had novel pseudowords. The total number of encounters with the novel words was held constant, but they appeared in 1, 2, 4, or 8 texts in either their native or foreign language. Increasing contextual diversity—i.e., the number of texts a word appeared in—improved recall and recognition, as well as the ability to match the word with its meaning. Using a foreign language only affected performance when participants had to quickly identify the meaning of the word. Overall, I found that the tested contextual factors related to semantic richness—i.e., emotionality of the semantic context and contextual diversity—can be manipulated to improve learning in a foreign language. Using positive emotionality not only improved learning in the foreign language, but it did so to the same extent as in the native language. On a theoretical level, this suggests that the reduction in emotionality in a foreign language is not ubiquitous and might relate to the way in which that language as learned. The third article shows an experimental manipulation of contextual diversity and how this can affect learning of a lexical item, even if the amount of information known about the item is kept constant. As in the case of emotionality, the effects of contextual diversity were also the same between languages. Although deducing words from context is dependent on vocabulary size, this does not seem to hinder the benefits of contextual diversity in the foreign language. Finally, as a whole, the articles contained in this compendium provide evidence that some aspects of semantic richness can be manipulated contextually to improve learning and memory. In addition, the effects of these factors seem to be independent of language status—meaning, native or foreign—when learning new content. This suggests that learning in a foreign and a native language is not as different as I initially hypothesized, allowing us to take advantage of native language learning tools in the foreign language, as well.
  • Greenfield, M. D., Honing, H., Kotz, S. A., & Ravignani, A. (Eds.). (2021). Synchrony and rhythm interaction: From the brain to behavioural ecology [Special Issue]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376.
  • Huisman, J. L. A. (2021). Variation in form and meaning across the Japonic language family: With a focus on the Ryukyuan languages. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Kaufeld, G. (2021). Investigating spoken language comprehension as perceptual inference. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Levshina, N., & Moran, S. (Eds.). (2021). Efficiency in human languages: Corpus evidence for universal principles [Special Issue]. Linguistics Vanguard, 7(s3).
  • Lopopolo, A. (2021). Properties, structures and operations: Studies on language processing in the brain using computational linguistics and naturalistic stimuli. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Manhardt, F. (2021). A tale of two modalities. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Mickan, A. (2021). What was that Spanish word again? Investigations into the cognitive mechanisms underlying foreign language attrition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Postema, M. (2021). Left-right asymmetry of the human brain: Associations with neurodevelopmental disorders and genetic factors. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Redl, T. (2021). Masculine generic pronouns: Investigating the processing of an unintended gender cue. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Schubotz, L. (2021). Effects of aging and cognitive abilities on multimodal language production and comprehension in context. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Todorova, L. (2021). Language bias in visually driven decisions: Computational neurophysiological mechanisms. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Trompenaars, T. (2021). Bringing stories to life: Animacy in narrative and processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Tsoukala, C. (2021). Bilingual sentence production and code-switching: Neural network simulations. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Van Dijk, C. N. (2021). Cross-linguistic influence during real-time sentence processing in bilingual children and adults. PhD Thesis, Raboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Van Paridon, J. (2021). Speaking while listening: Language processing in speech shadowing and translation. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • van der Burght, C. L. (2021). The central contribution of prosody to sentence processing: Evidence from behavioural and neuroimaging studies. PhD Thesis, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig.
  • Verhoef, E. (2021). Why do we change how we speak? Multivariate genetic analyses of language and related traits across development and disorder. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Vernes, S. C., Janik, V. M., Fitch, W. T., & Slater, P. J. B. (Eds.). (2021). Vocal learning in animals and humans [Special Issue]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 376.
  • Azar, Z. (2020). Effect of language contact on speech and gesture: The case of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals in the Netherlands. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Baranova, J. (2020). Reasons for every-day activities. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Barthel, M. (2020). Speech planning in dialogue: Psycholinguistic studies of the timing of turn taking. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Creemers, A. (2020). Morphological processing and the effects of semantic transparency. PhD Thesis, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
  • Favier, S. (2020). Individual differences in syntactic knowledge and processing: Exploring the role of literacy experience. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Gerakaki, S. (2020). The moment in between: Planning speech while listening. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Hubers, F. (2020). Two of a kind: Idiomatic expressions by native speakers and second language learners. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Iacozza, S. (2020). Exploring social biases in language processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lattenkamp, E. Z. (2020). Vocal learning in the pale spear-nosed bat, Phyllostomus discolor. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Mongelli, V. (2020). The role of neural feedback in language unification: How awareness affects combinatorial processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Raviv, L. (2020). Language and society: How social pressures shape grammatical structure. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Rodd, J. (2020). How speaking fast is like running: Modelling control of speaking rate. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Terporten, R. (2020). The power of context: How linguistic contextual information shapes brain dynamics during sentence processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Thorin, J. (2020). Can you hear what you cannot say? The interactions of speech perception and production during non-native phoneme learning. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Tourtouri, E. N. (2020). Rational redundancy in situated communication. PhD Thesis, Saarland University, Saarbrücken.

    Abstract

    Contrary to the Gricean maxims of Quantity (Grice, 1975), it has been repeatedly shown that speakers often include redundant information in their utterances (over- specifications). Previous research on referential communication has long debated whether this redundancy is the result of speaker-internal or addressee-oriented processes, while it is also unclear whether referential redundancy hinders or facilitates comprehension. We present a bounded-rational account of referential redundancy, according to which any word in an utterance, even if it is redundant, can be beneficial to comprehension, to the extent that it facilitates the reduction of listeners’ uncertainty regarding the target referent in a co-present visual scene. Information-theoretic metrics, such as Shannon’s entropy (Shannon, 1948), were employed in order to quantify this uncertainty in bits of information, and gain an estimate of the cognitive effort related to referential processing. Under this account, speakers may, therefore, utilise redundant adjectives in order to reduce the visually-determined entropy (and thereby their listeners’ cognitive effort) more uniformly across their utterances. In a series of experiments, we examined both the comprehension and the production of over-specifications in complex visual contexts. Our findings are in line with the bounded-rational account. Specifically, we present evidence that: (a) in view of complex visual scenes, listeners’ processing and identification of the target referent may be facilitated by the use of redundant adjectives, as well as by a more uniform reduction of uncertainty across the utterance, and (b) that, while both speaker-internal and addressee-oriented processes are at play in the production of over-specifications, listeners’ processing concerns may also influence the encoding of redundant adjectives, at least for some speakers, who encode redundant adjectives more frequently when these adjectives contribute to a more uniform reduction of referential entropy.
  • Trujillo, J. P. (2020). Movement speaks for itself: The kinematic and neural dynamics of communicative action and gesture. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Uhlmann, M. (2020). Neurobiological models of sentence processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Zheng, X. (2020). Control and monitoring in bilingual speech production: Language selection, switching and intrusion. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Zormpa, E. (2020). Memory for speaking and listening. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Basnakova, J. (2019). Beyond the language given: The neurobiological infrastructure for pragmatic inferencing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Drijvers, L. (2019). On the oscillatory dynamics underlying speech-gesture integration in clear and adverse listening conditions. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Fairs, A. (2019). Linguistic dual-tasking: Understanding temporal overlap between production and comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Fisher, S. E., & Tilot, A. K. (Eds.). (2019). Bridging senses: Novel insights from synaesthesia [Special Issue]. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 374.
  • Goriot, C. (2019). Early-English education works no miracles: Cognitive and linguistic development in mainstream, early-English, and bilingual primary-school pupils in the Netherlands. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Hömke, P. (2019). The face in face-to-face communication: Signals of understanding and non-understanding. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Maslowski, M. (2019). Fast speech can sound slow: Effects of contextual speech rate on word recognition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Nijveld, A. (2019). The role of exemplars in speech comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Poort, E. D. (2019). The representation of cognates and interlingual homographs in the bilingual lexicon. PhD Thesis, University College London, London, UK.

    Abstract

    Cognates and interlingual homographs are words that exist in multiple languages. Cognates, like “wolf” in Dutch and English, also carry the same meaning. Interlingual homographs do not: the word “angel” in English refers to a spiritual being, but in Dutch to the sting of a bee. The six experiments included in this thesis examined how these words are represented in the bilingual mental lexicon. Experiment 1 and 2 investigated the issue of task effects on the processing of cognates. Bilinguals often process cognates more quickly than single-language control words (like “carrot”, which exists in English but not Dutch). These experiments showed that the size of this cognate facilitation effect depends on the other types of stimuli included in the task. These task effects were most likely due to response competition, indicating that cognates are subject to processes of facilitation and inhibition both within the lexicon and at the level of decision making. Experiment 3 and 4 examined whether seeing a cognate or interlingual homograph in one’s native language affects subsequent processing in one’s second language. This method was used to determine whether non-identical cognates share a form representation. These experiments were inconclusive: they revealed no effect of cross-lingual long-term priming. Most likely this was because a lexical decision task was used to probe an effect that is largely semantic in nature. Given these caveats to using lexical decision tasks, two final experiments used a semantic relatedness task instead. Both experiments revealed evidence for an interlingual homograph inhibition effect but no cognate facilitation effect. Furthermore, the second experiment found evidence for a small effect of cross-lingual long-term priming. After comparing these findings to the monolingual literature on semantic ambiguity resolution, this thesis concludes that it is necessary to explore the viability of a distributed connectionist account of the bilingual mental lexicon.

    Additional information

    full text via UCL
  • Rojas-Berscia, L. M. (2019). From Kawapanan to Shawi: Topics in language variation and change. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Sollis, E. (2019). A network of interacting proteins disrupted in language-related disorders. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Van Rhijn, J. R. (2019). The role of FoxP2 in striatal circuitry. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • De Vos, J. (2019). Naturalistic word learning in a second language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Corps, R. E. (2018). Coordinating utterances during conversational dialogue: The role of content and timing predictions. PhD Thesis, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.
  • Croijmans, I. (2018). Wine expertise shapes olfactory language and cognition. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Drozdova, P. (2018). The effects of nativeness and background noise on the perceptual learning of voices and ambiguous sounds. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Estruch, S. B. (2018). Characterization of transcription factors in monogenic disorders of speech and language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Franken, M. K. (2018). Listening for speaking: Investigations of the relationship between speech perception and production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.

    Abstract

    Speaking and listening are complex tasks that we perform on a daily basis, almost without conscious effort. Interestingly, speaking almost never occurs without listening: whenever we speak, we at least hear our own speech. The research in this thesis is concerned with how the perception of our own speech influences our speaking behavior. We show that unconsciously, we actively monitor this auditory feedback of our own speech. This way, we can efficiently take action and adapt articulation when an error occurs and auditory feedback does not correspond to our expectation. Processing the auditory feedback of our speech does not, however, automatically affect speech production. It is subject to a number of constraints. For example, we do not just track auditory feedback, but also its consistency. If auditory feedback is more consistent over time, it has a stronger influence on speech production. In addition, we investigated how auditory feedback during speech is processed in the brain, using magnetoencephalography (MEG). The results suggest the involvement of a broad cortical network including both auditory and motor-related regions. This is consistent with the view that the auditory center of the brain is involved in comparing auditory feedback to our expectation of auditory feedback. If this comparison yields a mismatch, motor-related regions of the brain can be recruited to alter the ongoing articulations.

    Additional information

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Hill, C. (2018). Person reference and interaction in Umpila/Kuuku Ya'u narrative. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Huettig, F., Kolinsky, R., & Lachmann, T. (Eds.). (2018). The effects of literacy on cognition and brain functioning [Special Issue]. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 33(3).
  • Janssen, R. (2018). Let the agents do the talking: On the influence of vocal tract anatomy no speech during ontogeny. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Kirsch, J. (2018). Listening for the WHAT and the HOW: Older adults' processing of semantic and affective information in speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Koch, X. (2018). Age and hearing loss effects on speech processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Kolipakam, V. (2018). A holistic approach to understanding pre-history. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Kung, C. (2018). Speech comprehension in a tone language: The role of lexical tone, context, and intonation in Cantonese-Chinese. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Long, M. (2018). The lifelong interplay between language and cognition: From language learning to perspective-taking, new insights into the ageing mind. PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.
  • Mainz, N. (2018). Vocabulary knowledge and learning: Individual differences in adult native speakers. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Ostarek, M. (2018). Envisioning language: An exploration of perceptual processes in language comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Shitova, N. (2018). Electrophysiology of competition and adjustment in word and phrase production. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Sikora, K. (2018). Executive control in language production by adults and children with and without language impairment. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

    Abstract

    The present study examined how the updating, inhibiting, and shifting abilities underlying executive control influence spoken noun-phrase production. Previous studies provided evidence that updating and inhibiting, but not shifting, influence picture naming response time (RT). However, little is known about the role of executive control in more complex forms of language production like generating phrases. We assessed noun-phrase production using picture description and a picture-word interference procedure. We measured picture description RT to assess length, distractor, and switch effects, which were assumed to reflect, respectively, the updating, inhibiting, and shifting abilities of adult participants. Moreover, for each participant we obtained scores on executive control tasks that measured verbal and nonverbal updating, nonverbal inhibiting, and nonverbal shifting. We found that both verbal and nonverbal updating scores correlated with the overall mean picture description RTs. Furthermore, the length effect in the RTs correlated with verbal but not nonverbal updating scores, while the distractor effect correlated with inhibiting scores. We did not find a correlation between the switch effect in the mean RTs and the shifting scores. However, the shifting scores correlated with the switch effect in the normal part of the underlying RT distribution. These results suggest that updating, inhibiting, and shifting each influence the speed of phrase production, thereby demonstrating a contribution of all three executive control abilities to language production.

    Additional information

    full text via Radboud Repository
  • Stoehr, A. (2018). Speech production, perception, and input of simultaneous bilingual preschoolers: Evidence from voice onset time. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Tromp, J. (2018). Indirect request comprehension in different contexts. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Brand, S. (2017). The processing of reduced word pronunciation variants by natives and learners: Evidence from French casual speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Guadalupe, T. (2017). The biology of variation in anatomical brain asymmetries. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Hartung, F. (2017). Getting under your skin: The role of perspective and simulation of experience in narrative comprehension. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Heyselaar, E. (2017). Influences on the magnitude of syntactic priming. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Hoey, E. (2017). Lapse organization in interaction. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Kunert, R. (2017). Music and language comprehension in the brain. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lam, N. H. L. (2017). Comprehending comprehension: Insights from neuronal oscillations on the neuronal basis of language. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Lewis, A. G. (2017). Explorations of beta-band neural oscillations during language comprehension: Sentence processing and beyond. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Little, H. (Ed.). (2017). Special Issue on the Emergence of Sound Systems [Special Issue]. The Journal of Language Evolution, 2(1).
  • Lockwood, G. (2017). Talking sense: The behavioural and neural correlates of sound symbolism. PhD Thesis, Radboud University, Nijmegen.
  • Manrique, E. (2017). Achieving mutual understanding in Argentine Sign Language (LSA). PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Moers, C. (2017). The neighbors will tell you what to expect: Effects of aging and predictability on language processing. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Montero-Melis, G. (2017). Thoughts in Motion: The Role of Long-Term L1 and Short-Term L2 Experience when Talking and Thinking of Caused Motion. PhD Thesis, Stockholm University, Centre for Research on Bilingualism, Stockholm.

    Abstract

    This thesis is about whether language affects thinking. It deals with the linguistic relativity hypothesis, which proposes that the language we speak influences the way we think. This hypothesis is investigated in the domain of caused motion (e.g., ‘The man rolled the tyre into the garage’), by looking at Spanish and Swedish, two languages that show striking differences in how motion events are encoded. The thesis consists of four studies. The first two focus on native speakers of Spanish and Swedish. Study I compares how Spanish and Swedish speakers describe the same set of caused motion events, directing the spotlight at how variable the descriptions are in each language. The results confirm earlier findings from semantic typology regarding the dominant ways of expressing the events in each language: Spanish behaves like a verb-framed language and Swedish like a satellite-framed language (Talmy, 2000). Going beyond previous findings, the study demonstrates—using the tools of entropy and Monte Carlo simulations—that there is markedly more variability in Spanish than in Swedish descriptions. Study II tests whether differences in how Spanish and Swedish speakers describe caused motion events are reflected in how they think about such events. Using a novel similarity arrangement task, it is found that Spanish and Swedish speakers partly differ in how they represent caused motion events if they can access language during the task. However, the differences disappear when the possibility to use language is momentarily blocked by an interference task. The last two studies focus on Swedish learners of Spanish as a second language (L2). Study III explores how Swedish learners (compared to native Spanish speakers) adapt their Spanish motion descriptions to recently encountered input. Using insights from the literature on structural priming, we find that Swedish learners initially expect to encounter in their L2, Spanish, those verb types that are typical in Swedish (manner verbs like ‘roll’) but that, with increasing proficiency, their expectations become increasingly attuned to the typical Spanish pattern of using path verbs (like ‘enter’). These expectations are reflected in the way L2 learners adapt their own production to the Spanish input. Study IV asks whether recent linguistic experience in an L2 can affect how L2 learners think about motion events. It is found that encountering motion descriptions in the L2 that emphasize different types of information (path or manner) leads L2 speakers to perceive similarity along different dimensions in a subsequent similarity arrangement task. Taken together, the thesis argues that the study of the relation between language and thought affords more valuable insights when not posed as an either-or question (i.e., does language affect thought or not?). In this spirit, the thesis contributes to the wider aim of investigating the conditions under which language does or does not affect thought and explores what the different outcomes tell us about language, thought, and the intricate mechanisms that relate them.
  • Neger, T. M. (2017). Learning from the (un)expected: Age and individual differences in statistical learning and perceptual learning in speech. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen. doi:10.17617/2.2482848.
  • Sauppe, S. (2017). The role of voice and word order in incremental sentence processing: Studies on sentence production and comprehension in Tagalog and German. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.
  • Schoot, L. (2017). Language processing in a conversation context. PhD Thesis, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen.

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