The Language Comprehension Lab will have a talk at AMLaP 2017 in Lancaster, UK:
Complexity matters only when it matters: Pronominal object and event reference rapidly access different aspects of situation models.
Talk by Eva Wittenberg, Shota Momma, Elsi Kaiser, & Jeremy Skipper.
Sara Goico, a graduate student in anthropology, and Rachel Mayberry, a professor in linguistics, received an NSF rapid grant, “Language emergence from inception.” They will study how deaf children living in Iquitos, Peru, who know no sign or spoken language, gesture with their families before entering school for the first time, and how their gestures change over time as they communicate with one another in the school.
1st year PhD student Michael Obiri-Yeboah will present a paper on vowel harmony in Gua with Sharon Rose at the 48th Annual Conference on African Linguistics at Indian University in April. He also received funding to attend the NSF-DEL sponsored Summer School in Documentary Linguistics: Methods and Data Management at the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana to further his research on Gua.
Our alumna Emily Morgan (Ph.D. 2016), who is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at Tufts University, is one of the invited speakers at The 30th CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, which will take place March 30 – April 1, 2017 at MIT, Cambridge MA.
Congratulations to our graduate student Anne Therese Frederiksen for receiving an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant to study the ‘Interplay between Language and Cognition in American Sign Language Referential Cohesion’!
Our alumnus Dr. Ryan Lepic (Ph.D., 2015), who is currently a lecturer in our department, has just accepted a three-year post-doc in the Goldin-Meadow Laboratory at the University of Chicago. He will be contributing to the lab’s on-going research on the role of gesture in math learning. He will move to Chicago in June. Congratulations, Ryan!
Many members of our department presented at the Linguistics Society of America’s 91st Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas on January 5-8. They are listed below in bold and in alphabetical order, together with their co-authors and the titles of their presentations:
“The acquisition of Greek clitic construction prosody: an acoustic analysis”
Angeliki Athanasopoulou, Irene Vogel (University of Delaware), Hossep Dolatian (University of Delaware)
“Are the acoustic properties of canonical and non-canonical stress the same?”
“Apparent ‘sufficiently similar’ degemination in Catalan is due to coalescence”
“Designing a language and the design of language”
Meilin Zhan (MIT), Roger Levy (MIT), and Andrew Kehler
“Testing a Bayesian pronoun interpretation model with Chinese ba and bei”
“A usage-based analysis of the THEME construction in ASL”
Ryan Lepic and Corrine Occhino (University of New Mexico)
“Sign language structure: a construction-theoretic perspective”
“Non-stationarity and other critical mathematical problems for channel coding-based explanations of variation in language production”
Savithry Namboodiripad and Grant Goodall
“Formal acceptability experiments as a tool for exploring variation in constituent order”
Titus von der Malsburg (University of Potsdam), Till Poppels, Roger Levy (MIT)
“The President gave her inauguration speech: explicit belief and implicit expectations in language production and comprehension”
An open access article by Eva Wittenberg and Roger Levy has just appeared in Journal of Memory and Language! Here’s the abstract:
When we hear an event description, our mental construal is not only based on lexical items, but also on the message’s syntactic structure. This has been well-studied in the domains of causation, event participants, and object conceptualization. Less studied are the construals of temporality and numerosity as a function of syntax. We present a theory of how syntax affects the construal of event similarity and duration in a way that is systematically predictable from the interaction of mass/count syntax and verb semantics, and test these predictions in six studies. Punctive events in count syntax (give a kiss) and durative events in mass syntax (give advice) are construed as taking less time than in transitive frame (kiss and advise). Durative verbs in count syntax (give a talk), however, result in a semantic shift, orthogonal to duration estimates. These results demonstrate how syntactic and semantic structure together systematically affect event construal.