Ebru Evcen has a new publication in Proceedings of CogSci2022

Graduate student Ebru Evcen and the former faculty member Eva Wittenberg published the paper “Making Question under Discussion explicit shifts counterfactual interpretation” in Proceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Using eye-tracking data, the paper shows that comprehenders have tough time to think about the real world hearing a counterfactual utterance (e.g., If there had been zebras, then there would have been lions in the zoo) in general, but the absence of causal connection and well-defined QuD makes it even harder!

Ebru is presenting the paper in a short talk format (virtually) at the Annual Meeting of Cognitive Science Society (CogSci2022), which is held in Toronto, Canada on July 27-30, 2022.

Evcen, E., & Wittenberg, E. (2022). Making the Question Under Discussion explicit shifts counterfactual interpretation. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 44. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/43z0w42j

San Diego Linguistics Papers Issue 11: Allison Park on the linguistics of keysmashes

Have you ever been so flustered, amused, frustrated, or surprised that you… just… lkajhslkasdf?

Well, Allison Park sure has, and they’ve turned their experience with the online practice of keysmashing into a topic of serious linguistic study. In their recent paper ‘On the linguistic behavior of keysmashes’, Allison argues that keysmashes are fundamentally linguistic, behaving according to many of the normal criteria used for establishing that expression is ‘language’, like semanticity, standards of form, and arbitrariness. Then, Park goes on to evaluate the kinds of criteria which go into people’s judgements about whether a keysmash is ‘well formed’ and ‘acceptable’, finding that not only do keysmashes have to be the right length and have the right amount of repetition, but that the location on the keyboard of the characters used is crucial, along with other important characteristics.

For more information about this work, their findings, and the social, linguistic, and communicative goals of keysmashing, have a look at San Diego Linguistics Papers Issue 11 on eScholarship.

San Diego Linguistic Papers is the working papers archive of the Department of Linguistics at UC San Diego.

Anna Mai defends their dissertation and accepts post-doc position at the MPI for Psycholinguistics

Anna Mai successfully defended their dissertation “Contrast, Neutralization, and Systems of Invariance” on June 16, 2022. They will start a post-doc this fall at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Andrea Martin’s Language and Computation in Neural Systems group, investigating language-specific speech sound representation in the brain. Congratulations, Anna!

LSA Meet the Authors Webinar with Tory Sampson and Rachel I. Mayberry

Note: the following announcement is copied from the Linguistic Society of America’s Update #235.

Coming Soon: July Meet the Authors Webinar with Tory Sampson and Rachel I. Mayberry

Tory Sampson and Rachel MayberryJoin us later this month, on July 21, at noon Eastern, for our next “Meet the Authors” webinar. Authors Tory Sampson and Rachel I. Mayberry challenge the common assumption that ASL has no overt copula. They present evidence that one of the functions of the sign SELF in present-day ASL is as a copula. The sign evolved into its current function by way of a grammaticalization process called the “copula cycle” (Katz 1996). Join Drs. Sampson and Mayberry as they discuss their findings as published in their recent article in Language. The presentation will be made in ASL with interpretation.

Register for the webinar online

Tory Sampson and Rachel Mayberry have a new publication in Language

Graduate student Tory Sampson and faculty member Rachel Mayberry have a new publication in Language, titled “An Emerging SELF: The Copula Cycle in American Sign Language.” The abstract is as follows:

We question the commonly accepted assumption that American Sign Language (ASL) has no overt copula. We present evidence that one of the functions of the sign self in present-day ASL is as a copula. This sign evolved into its current function by way of a grammaticalization process called the ‘copula cycle’ (Katz 1996). The copula cycle consists of a deictic item transforming into a demonstrative pronoun and then into a copula by means of a series of syntactic reanalyses. We present corpus evidence from Old French Sign Language (LSF) in the 1850s, Old ASL in the 1910s, and present-day ASL dating to the 2000s and the late 2010s, and with these data analyze ASL examples of syntactic structures outlined by Li and Thompson (1977) that led to the increased use of self as a copula. We also find that self, which is not generally regarded as a pointing sign, follows the grammaticalization scheme for pointing signs outlined by Pfau and Steinbach (2006), indicating that the scheme may be used for signs that are derived from demonstratives. Ultimately, we conclude that ASL undergoes the same grammaticalization processes as spoken languages.

JJ Lim is awarded a Social Science Research Council Graduate Research Fellowship

Graduate student JJ Lim was awarded the Social Science Research Council Graduate Research Fellowship (SSRC GRF) by the Singapore Social Science Research Council and the Singapore Ministry of Education for his project titled `Investigation of agreement markers across Mongolian’.
The fellowship consists of a research grant, mentorship by faculty at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and an opportunity to visit Singapore to engage in research activities with NUS.

Recent publications

Mayberry, R. I. (2021). The radical idea that ASL is language: The linguistic bulwark of Professor Robert Hoffmeister’s vision. Foreword, in Enns, C., Henner, J., McQuarrie, L. (Eds.).  Discussing Bilingualism in Deaf Education: Essays in Honor of Robert Hoffmeister. Milton Park: Routledge.

Mayberry, R. I. & Wille, B. (2022). Lexical representation and access in sign languages.  In Anna Papafragou, John C. Trueswell & Lila R. Gleitman (Eds). The Oxford Handbook of the Mental Lexicon, pp. 597-614. DOI:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198845003.013.27

Matchin, W.,  Ilkbasaran, D., Hatrak, M., Roth, A., Villwock, A., Halgren, E., & Mayberry, R.I. (2022). The cortical organization of syntactic processing is supramodal: Evidence from American Sign Language. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 34, 2:224-235. DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_01790

Semushina, N.& Mayberry, R. I. (2022) Number Stroop effects in Arabic Digits and ASL number signs: The Impact of age and setting of language acquisition, Language Learning and Development, DOI: 10.1080/15475441.2022.2047689