The focus sensitive element "sogar"
In order to guide the inferential processes in communication, languages use different mechanisms. Focus particles are one of these mechanisms because of their mainly procedural meaning focalizing the hearer's attention and guiding him to certain constituents (Blakemore 2002). Furthermore, focus sensitive elements relate the focus and its alternatives in a certain way. Scalar particles like German "sogar" do so in establishing a relation of likelihood presenting the focused element as the least expected element (König 1991).
Research area "Focus Operators"
The research group DPKog resorts to reading experiments and to the Visual World Paradigm (VWP), as well as to comprehension tests, to analyze how additive scalar focus operators condition information processing in different experimental conditions and in several languages.
VIPICOL - Visual Information Processing In the Context Of Language
The details on how language shapes visual behavior have mainly been studied using eye tracking. However, there are two (severe) problems. 1.) Visual information uptake is possible without directly fixating the region that contains the relevant information (parafoveal processing), and 2.) fixations reflect scene comprehension, object identification, as well as information retrieval from the mental lexicon, which makes it challenging to relate fixation patterns to specific phases during the verbalization process. The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an experimental procedure with which it will be possible to tackle the problems pointed out above.
Neural correlates of language processing in Chinese
This project is a cooperation between neurologists, physicists (Dept. of Neurology) and linguists (IDF). It investigates how vowels with different tonal distinctions are processed in the brain. Tonal differences in vowels play a crucial role for establishing differences in meaning in a tonal language such as Chinese. The processing of tone offers an interface between physiological and cognitive processing: highly relevant questions for researchers in the Dept. of Neurology include temporal and spatial aspects of neural processing of auditory stimuli of this type. For the linguists involved in the project, a great interest lies in investigating the role of higher cognitive structures and processes (i.e., language-related processing) in the processing of elementary auditory input.
Event duration estimations are modulated by grammatical aspect
This project investigates the effect of grammatical aspect marking on speakers’ estimations of the duration of highly familiar, everyday events.
LANG-ACROSS: Utterance structure in context - L1 & L2 acquisition in a cross-linguistic perspective
This project focuses on cognitive and linguistic determinants of language acquisition in a cross-linguistic perspective, with a main focus on conceptualizations of space and time.
Predicting object states in Mandarin Chinese - insights from the ba-construction
One of the most discussed phenomena in Mandarin Chinese is the so-called bǎ-construction. Besides other functions, the marker bǎ changes the canonical word order S-V-O to S-bǎ-O-V; it marks the noun to which it belongs as the direct object, and it signals that the corresponding referent (in a transitive sentence) must be interpreted as having changed from one state to another. It is this latter aspect that we focus on in the current project.
Processing discourse referents in Mandarin active and passive SOV sentences
In this project we ask, in how far information derived from the markers bèi and bǎ affect the interpretation of referents preceding and the prediction of referents following the markers.
A Case for Semantic Underspecification? The Representation of Aspectual Class Information for Motion Verbs and Directional Prepositions
This project investigates the cognitive processing of aspectual class (AC) information in descriptions of motion events. We specifically aim at what user behaviour under controlled conditions tells us about the way AC information is stored in the mental lexicon: Are verbs and directional prepositions stored with determinate information about their contribution to the AC of complex expressions in which they appear, or can their AC contribution – at least in some cases - be lexically underspecified.
Research area "Connectives"
The work of the research group DPKog in this field focuses on the processing of causal, adversative and concessive relations. Our research studies the effects that connectives have on the processing of information in different languages, depending on the linguistic features of discourse and on the characteristics of different participant groups.
Conceptualization in language production by patients diagnosed with schizophrenia
Cross-linguistic studies have shown that speakers of typologically different languages exhibit different patterns with regard to both event conceptualization, as well as the way spatial concepts are used to structure space. These differences affect the information selected as well as the perspective taken when describing situations. This project focuses on German and English native speakers diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Tracking gaze movement while construing and talking about events: a cross-linguistic approach
In this project, we deal with the interrelation between patterns in gaze movement, when watching dynamic video clips, and what is mentioned at what point, when talking about events.
Top-down influences on event apprehension
Not much is known about apprehension, the earliest stage of information processing in elicited language production studies, using pictorial stimuli. For example, (1) is the process influenced by the specific type of information that a speaker needs as a starting point for the preverbal message? (2) Is it a process that can be adapted to the specific time constraints of a task? To broaden our understanding of apprehension, we analyze landing positions and onset latencies of first fixations on visual stimuli given short stimulus presentation times, presupposing that the first fixation directly results from information processing during apprehension.
Visual attention as a window to cognitive processing – A new method to analyze eye tracking data elicited from dynamic scenes
The goal of this project is to develop a new method for the analysis of eye tracking data, which can be used to investigate attention allocation patterns of humans who are presented with dynamic stimuli.
The interaction of discourse salience, visual information uptake, and syntactic encoding in Mandarin Chinese
In this project we contrast Chinese and German with respect to how linguistic "givenness" affects speaker's lexical and syntactic choices.
Referential coherence in first and second language learners
In this research, it was investigated how monolingual and bilingual learners of German between the age of 5 and 10 resolve anaphoric pronouns. A visual world paradigm was employed to measure what parts of a visual stimulus participants attend to while presented with short spoken texts, in which a sentence that starts with a gender encoding anaphoric pronoun follows a sentence in which two referents are mentioned.
Gender processing and representation in the mental lexicon of bilinguals
Grammatical gender processing in an L2 has caused much debate in the latest research. While researchers mostly agree that gender markers in pre-position are used by native speakers in real-time comprehension as predictive cues for the following noun, there is still no agreement on whether L2 speakers process gender information. Another issue concerns how gender is represented in the L2 mental lexicon.
Phonological co-activation in Portugese-German bilinguals
Previous studies on spoken language processing in late bilinguals (e.g. Spivey und Marian 1999; Canseco Gonzalez et al. 2010) revealed contradictory findings regarding the activation of the irrelevant L1 during L2 listening. Using the visual world paradigm we show evidence for nonselective access in Portuguese late learners of German during spoken language processing.
Eye-movements as indicator for pre-articulatory self-monitoring
Previous speech production studies suggest that our viewing behavior is guided by the need for specific information relevant during conceptualization and encoding processes. However, to what extent viewing behavior also reflects information processing during self-monitoring is an open question.
Event segmentation in verbal and non verbal tasks under a cross linguistic perspective
In the study we test the role of linguistically shaped event units for segmenting the continuous flow of visual input. Given fundamental cross-linguistic differences in the description of motion events in French and German event unit formation in both a verbal as well as a non-verbal task was tested. The results show significant differences between language groups in both tasks.
Working with a microscope is a skill that needs to be acquired and that develops with training and experience. The main goal of this project is to use eye tracking as an on-line method for competence assessment in microscopy.
Language and Cognition in Early Stages of Dementia
This project focuses on the question in how far linguistic and other cognitive processes are proportionally or disproportionally affected by age-related cognitive-decline.
'Serial-verb-constructions' in motion event encoding - morphological, syntactic, and contextual aspects
In the domain of motion event encoding, Mandarin Chinese is often referred to when it comes to languages that are 'in between' the well-known verb-framed vs. satellite-framed distinction (Talmy 1985). Slobin (2004) classified Mandarin as an equipollently-framed language, i.e., path and manner information is distributed over two "equal" verbs. The structure that Slobin had in mind when he made this proposal is the so called "serial-verb-construction". However, a closer look at Mandarin Chinese raises quite a few questions which 1) relate to the context in which speakers actually use a serial verb construction, and 2) whether or not, it is even justified to analyze the lexical units that are combined, as being verbs. These two questions are in the focus of this project.
Translanguaging and the Bilingual Brain
Investigating how the reading comprehension of translingual texts impacts cognitive processes with a special focus on working memory.
The construction of multimodal discourse of poverty in the Colombian digital media
This bi-national research project aims to incorporate the analytical potential of experimental research methodologies in the area of pragmatics to the study of multimodal discourse of poverty and welfare in the Colombian digital media.
Discourse, Cognition and Linguistic Markers: Empirical Studies on Text Processing with Eye Tracking Technology
The eye tracking technology is used to prove the hypothesis that discourse markers are linguistic elements which guide the processing of information and reduce the cognitive effort during that process. To do so we collect data about the reading behavior under controlled conditions while participants read texts of different typologies in L1 and L2.