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  • 1.
    Gerholm, Tove
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.
    Nods, headshakeas and the perception of multimodal constructions in child language2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Within gesture studies, gesture and speech is often conceived of as a single communicative system. This means that human production of gestures are temporally and semantically synchronized with the concurrent verbal phrase, or vice versa. These multimodal clusters are described as constructions where the modalities add different but interrelated content to a common semantic whole, an Utterance (e.g. Goldin-Meadow, 2009, 2011; Kendon, 2004; Murillo & Belinchón, 2012). While this appears to be true for a large amount of gesture types – in particular those who fall under the heading Co-speech Gestures (i.e. gesture that by definition co-occur with a spoken utterance) – there are other gestures that are less explored as to their relation to speech and multimodal meaning. Among these other gestures we find emblems, a vaguely defined group of gestures that are often claimed to carry a semantic meaning on their own, regardless of (optional) concurrent verbalizations (McNeill, 1992). The present study investigated two emblematic gesture forms – nods and headshakes – and their appearance and use in a longitudinal, naturalistic material of child-child and child-adult interaction. The data consists of 11 Swedish children in the ages 0;9 to 5;10 years of age, recorded during a period of 2 ½ years as they interacted with siblings, parents, and friends in their home environment. In all, 22 hours of video recordings were transcribed and analyzed. From the data we could conclude two main factors: i) even emblems appear to be largely speech dependent for their interpretation; and ii) nods and headshakes appear to follow different developmental trajectories and behave rather differently throughout the ages studied. These findings will be discussed in relation to language development in general and to the perceptive system of humans in particular.

  • 2.
    Hörberg, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.
    The neurophysiological correlate to grammatical function reanalysis in Swedish2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Language comprehension is assumed to proceed incrementally, and comprehenders commit to initial interpretations even in the absence of unambiguous information (e.g., Crocker 1994; Hawkins 2007). Initial ambiguous object arguments are therefore preferably interpreted as subjects, an interpretation that needs to be revised towards an object initial interpretation once the disambiguating information is encountered (e.g, de Vincenzi 1991; Haupt, Schlesewsky, Roehm, Friederici, & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, 2008). Most accounts of such grammatical function reanalyses (Haupt et al. 2008) assume that they involve phrase structure revisions, and do not differ from other syntactic reanalyses. A number of studies using measurements of event-related brain potentials (ERP:s) provide evidence for this view by showing that both reanalysis types engender similar neurophysiological responses (e.g., P600 effects) (e.g., Bornkessel, McElree, Schlesewsky, & Friederici, 2004; Friederici & Mecklinger, 1996; Matzke, Mai, Nager, Russeler, Munte, 2002). Others have claimed that grammatical function reanalyses rather involves revisions of the mapping of thematic roles to argument NP:s (Bornkessel & Schlesewsky, 2006; Bornkessel-Schlesewsky & Schlesewsky, 2009a, 2009b; Haupt et al., 2008). In line with this, it has been shown that grammatical function reanalysis during spoken language comprehension engender a N400 effect (Haupt et al., 2008), an effect which has been shown to correlate with general problems in the mapping of thematic roles to argument NP:s in a number of languages (see Bornkessel-Schlesewsky & Schlesewsky, 2009b for a review).

    This poster presents a study which investigated the ERP correlate to grammatical function reanalysis in Swedish. Post-verbal NP:s that disambiguated the interpretation of object-topicalized sentences towards an object-initial reading engendered a N400 effect with a local, left-parietal distribution. This ―reanalysis N400‖ effect provides further support for the view that grammatical function reanalysis is functionally distinct from syntactic reanalyses and rather involves a revision of the mapping of thematic roles to the sentence arguments.

    Bornkessel, I., McElree, B., Schlesewsky, M., & Friederici, A. D. (2004). Multi-dimensional contributions to garden path strength: Dissociating phrase structure from case marking. Journal of Memory and Language, 51(4), 495-522.

    Bornkessel, I., & Schlesewsky, M. (2006). The extended argument dependency model: A neurocognitive approach to sentence comprehension across languages. Psychological Review, 113(4), 787-821.

    Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., & Schlesewsky, M. (2009a). Processing syntax and morphology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., & Schlesewsky, M. (2009b). The role of prominence information in the real-time comprehension of transitive constructions: A cross-linguistic approach. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3(1), 19-58.

    Crocker, M. W. (1994). On the nature of the principle-based sentence processor. In C. Clifton, Jr., L. Frazier, & K. Rayner (Eds.), Perspectives on sentence processing (pp. 245–266). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

    de Vincenzi, M. (1991). Syntactic parsing strategies in Italian. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

    Friederici, A. D., & Mecklinger, A. (1996). Syntactic parsing as revealed by brain responses: First-pass and second-pass parsing processes. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 25(25), 157-176.

    Haupt, F. S., Schlesewsky, M., Roehm, D., Friederici, A. D., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2008). The status of subject-object reanalyses in the language comprehension architecture. Journal of Memory and Language, 59(1), 54-96.

    Matzke, M., Mai, H., Nager, W., Russeler, J., Munte, T. (2002). The costs of freedom: An ERP-study of noncanonical sentences. Clinical Neurophysiology, 113(6), 844-852.

  • 3.
    Hörberg, Thomas
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.
    Jaeger, T. Florian
    Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester.
    Deriving argument ordering biases from expectation-based processing2017In: Cognitive explanations in linguistic typology: Contemporary insights from language processing and language acquisition. 12th Conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology, Australian National University, Canberra, December 12-15, 201., 2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Much research suggests that principles of language processing and communication to some extent affect how grammars evolve over time (e.g., Futrell et al. 2015; Hawkins 2007). However, there are different views on how these principles operate. Some have proposed specific linguistic biases—such a preference for interpreting the initial NP as the subject (e.g., Bickel et al. 2015; Demiral et al. 2008). Others have proposed that language processing is expectation-based, drawing on statistical patterns in the input (e.g., MacDonald 2013; Trueswell et al. 1994), and that these expectation-based preferences shape language over time (Gildea & Jaeger 2015; Levy 2005). This includes the possibility that specific biases—such as the preference for a subject-initial interpretation—are reducible to the general principle of expectation-based processing (but see Bickel et al. 2015; Demiral et al. 2008; Wang et al. 2012). We test this possibility for the case of Swedish. We first conducted a large-scale corpus-based study to assess the relevant distributional patterns in the input. We then developed a predictive model based on those patterns, and compared these predictions against human processing preferences in a self-paced reading experiment.

    Background: Many languages, including Swedish, provide speakers with multiple ways of encoding arguments syntactically (word order) and morphologically (e.g., case). Speakers’ encoding preferences depend on, for example, semantic / referential (e.g., animacy and definiteness) and verb semantic information (e.g., volitionality and sentience; Bresnan et al. 2007; Hörberg 2016; for a cross-linguistic review, see Jaeger & Norcliffe 2009). This creates complex statistical patterns in the input to comprehenders: whether a given noun phrase should be interpreted as the subject or object depends on, for example, the referential and morphosyntactic properties of both the argument and the preceding context. Expectation-based accounts of language comprehension predict that language processing implicitly draws on these cues to assign grammatical functions to argument NPs (e.g., MacWhinney 2005). We test this prediction for the case of transitive sentences with two overt arguments in Swedish, which allows both SVO and OVS orders.

    Corpus study: 16552 transitive sentences were extracted from a syntactically annotated corpus of written Swedish. These were annotated for word order (SVO vs. OVS), NP animacy, definiteness, givenness, and case, as well as for the semantic class of the verb (such as volitionality and sentience). Mixed logistic regression models confirmed the predicted ordering preferences (e.g., animate before inanimate; word order freezing for otherwise ambiguous verb-argument combinations).

    Model: We then calculated the incremental predictions that a simulated comprehender with experience in Swedish would have after seeing the sentence up to and including the first NP (model 1), the verb (model 2), or the second NP (model 3). Each model provides estimates of the objective probability of SVO vs. OVS grammatical function assignment at each sentence region. Based on this estimate, we calculate the Bayesian surprise at each sentence region as the predicted processing cost experienced at that region (i.e., the relative entropy over the two possible grammatical function assignments before and after seeing the argument, cf. Kuperberg & Jaeger 2016). Bayesian surprise (over syntactic trees) is also the measure that has been argued to underlie (Levy 2008) the well-documented correlation between word surprisal and both processing times (Smith & Levy 2013) and certain neural responses (e.g., the N400 effect, Frank et al. 2015).

    Self-paced reading experiment (45 participants, 64 items): Participants read transitive sentences that varied with respect to word order (SVO vs. OVS), NP1 animacy (animate vs. inanimate) and verb class (volitional vs. experiencer). By-region reading times on NP1, the verb, and NP2 were well-described by the region-specific Bayesian surprise calculated from our model. For example, reading times in the NP2 region observed in locally ambiguous, object-initial sentences were mitigated when the animacy of NP1 and its interaction with the verb class bias towards an object-initial word order.

    Conclusions: Taken together, these findings indicate that comprehenders take advantage of statistical regularities in their previous language input during on-line grammatical function assignment, as predicted by expectation-based accounts. The model correctly predicts a subject-firstbias for Swedish, as well as incremental changes in the strength of this bias over the course of the sentence, dependent on the verb and argument properties.

    Bickel, B., Witzlack-Makarevich, A., Choudhary, K. K., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-

    Schlesewsky, I. (2015). The Neurophysiology of Language Processing Shapes the Evolution of Grammar: Evidence from Case Marking. PLOS ONE, 10(8), e0132819.

    Bresnan, J., Cueni, A., Nikitina, T., Baayen, R. H., & others. (2007). Predicting the dative alternation. Cognitive Foundations of Interpretation, 69–94.Demiral, Ş. B.,

    Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2008). On the universality of language comprehension strategies: Evidence from Turkish. Cognition, 106(1), 484–500.

    Frank, S. L., Otten, L. J., Galli, G., & Vigliocco, G. (2015). The ERP response to the amount of information conveyed by words in sentences. Brain and Language, 140, 1–11.

    Futrell, R., Mahowald, K., & Gibson, E. (2015). Large-scale evidence of dependency length minimization in 37 languages. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 33(112), 10336–10341.

    Gildea, D., & Jaeger, F. T. (2015, October). Human languages order information efficiently.

    Hawkins, J. A. (2007). Processing typology and why psychologists need to know about it. New Ideas in Psychology, 25(2), 87–107.

    Hörberg, T. (2016). Probabilistic and Prominence-driven Incremental Argument Interpretation in Swedish (PhD thesis). Stockholm University, Stockholm.Jaeger, T. F., &

    Norcliffe, E. J. (2009). The Cross-linguistic Study of Sentence Production. Language and Linguistics Compass, 3(4), 866–887.

    Kuperberg, G. R., & Jaeger, T. F. (2016). What do we mean by prediction in language comprehension? Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31(1), 32–59.

    Levy, R. (2005). Probabilistic Models of Word Order and Syntactic Discontinuity (PhD thesis). Stanford University, Stanford.Levy, R. (2008). Expectation-based syntactic comprehension. Cognition, 106(3), 1126–1177.

    MacDonald, M. C. (2013). How language production shapes language form and comprehension. Frontiers in Psychology, 4.MacWhinney, B. (2005). Extending the Competition Model. International Journal of Bilingualism, 9(7), 69–84.

    Smith, N. J., & Levy, R. (2013). The effect of word predictability on reading time is logarithmic. Cognition, 128(3), 302–319.

    Trueswell, J. C., Tanenhaus, M. K., & Garnsey, S. M. (1994). Semantic Influences on Parsing: Use of Thematic Role Information in Syntactic Ambiguity Resolution. Journal of Memory and Language, 1994(33), 285–318.

    Wang, L., Schlesewsky, M., Philipp, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I. (2012). The Role of Animacy in Online Argument Interpretation in Mandarin Chinese. In M. Lamers & P. de Swart (Eds.), Case, Word Order and Prominence (Vol. 40, pp. 91–119). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands

  • 4.
    Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.
    Vejdemo, Susanne
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.
    Sahlgren, Magnus
    "Hot and cold — universal or language-specific"?2012Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Veselinova, Ljuba
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.
    Applying the Negative Existential Cycle on the Uralic Language Family2012Conference paper (Refereed)
1 - 5 of 5
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  • nn-NO
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