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Research Center for Language and Cognition (CLCG) CLCG colloquium

Schedule and speakers 2018

Dates 2018
Speaker & Title of Presentation
Time & Location
January 18

Lieke Verheijen & Wilbert Spooren

Title:What’s Up with WhatsApp? The Impact of Computer-Mediated Communication on Dutch Youths’ Writings


Harmonie 13.15.0043

January 25

(Extra CLCG colloqium!)

Elena Benedicto from Purdue University, US

Titte: Agents, classifiers, and serial verb constructions: Structural deconstruction of motion predicates in sign and spoken languages


Harmonie 1315.0043

February 15

(Extra CLCG colloqium!)

Josefin Lindgren from Uppsala University

Title: Int roducing and referring back to story characters in mono- and bilingual Swedish-speaking children’s narratives

12:00 to 12:45

Harmonie 13.15.0042

February 22

Deniz Baskent

Title: Speaker's voice; beyond who is talking to what they are saying


Harmonie 13.15.0042

March 22

Anne Breitbarth (Ghent University)

Title: The Parsed Corpus of Historical Low German (CHLG): Corpus building and first results


Harmonie 1315.0042

May 15

James Burridge (University of Portsmouth)

Title: Predicting the geographical dynamics of language


Harmonie 1313.0309

May 23

Natalie Schilling (Georgetown University)

Title: Forensic linguistics: Issues and case studies


OBS 34.002

October 4

Aude Noiray (University of Potsdam)

Title: Tracking spoken language development from infants to school-aged
children: a cross-sectional perspective

12:00 - 13:00

Harmonie 1312.0025

December 6
Jennifer Spenader (Artificial Intelligence, Groningen)

Title & abstract T.B.A.

12:00 - 13:00

Harmonie 1313.0309


Lieke Verheijen & Wilbert Spooren - What’s Up with WhatsApp? The Impact of Computer-Mediated Communication on Dutch Youths’ Writings

This presentation provides a synthesis of research into the impact of computer-mediated communication (CMC) on literacy. Since the informal language used by youths in CMC often deviates from Standard Dutch, social media are feared to have a negative impact on youths’ more formal literacy skills. We conducted two large-scale empirical studies to examine whether social media indeed affect the writings of Dutch youngsters at school or in university.

First, we carried out a correlational study, with 400 participants of different educational levels and age groups. Participants wrote essays to test their writing skills and filled in questionnaires to measure their CMC use. Results revealed that passive engagement with CMC, by heavy reliance on one’s mobile phone and consumption of social media messages, negatively relates to writing skills, whereas active and creative production of language via CMC – via various genres, from an earlier age, with many people, and including textisms – is positively related to writing skills. Moreover, lower educated youths’ writing turned out to be most at risk of being affected, but could also benefit most from social media.

Next, we conducted an experiment with 500 participants. Each class was divided into two groups: experimental groups spent fifteen minutes chatting via WhatsApp, while control groups coloured mandalas. Subsequently, all participants wrote stories and completed grammaticality judgement tasks, to test their productive and perceptive writing skills. The use of WhatsApp turned out to have no direct impact on performances on the writing tasks. Implications and suggestions for further research will be discussed.

Josefin Lindgren - Introducing and referring back to story characters in mono- and bilingual Swedish-speaking children’s narratives

Introducing and referring back to referents in discourse in a way that is understandable to the listener is important for adequate communication. It is not yet clear at which age children are able to introduce and refer back to referents appropriately; different ages have been reported in the literature. A number of factors such as discourse/task type, stimulus material, elicitation procedure and language structure has been offered as explanations for the different results. In addition, little is known about when Swedish-speaking children learn to use appropriate reference.

In this talk, I summarize and discuss findings from four recent studies on Swedish-speaking children’s ability to introduce and refer back to characters in fictional narratives. In Study 1, effects of age and stimulus material on the character introductions of monolingual Swedish 4–6-year-olds were analyzed. Study 2 dealt with anaphoric reference in the same children with a focus on effects of age, animacy, and topicality. Study 3 compared the character introductions of monolinguals to Swedish-German and Swedish-Turkish bilinguals. Finally, in Study 4, we analyzed Swedish-German bilinguals’ performance on comparable tasks in their two languages.   

These studies show that the stimulus material used and the child’s language background, influence the extent to which children are able to use appropriate referential forms at a certain age. Additionally, there were clear age effects for introductions but less so for reintroduction/maintenance.

Deniz Baskent - Speaker's voice; beyond who is talking to what they are saying

Speech communication is essential for humans, but hearing impairment, if not treated well, can pose a limitation. How speech perception mechanisms are altered with hearing impairment, especially in young (children) or older individuals, is one of the main topics of our research. In a new project, funded by NWO VICI, we now focus on an important aspect of speech, namely the voice (who said it), in interaction with linguistic content (what they said). Voice information can significantly contribute to communication, such as in conveying vocal emotions or enhancing speech segregation and comprehension in cocktail-party listening. These are also the very same situations where hearing-impaired listeners have most difficulties. Yet, our knowledge of voice processing and its role in speech comprehension, especially with hearing impairment, remains limited. Some of this limitation comes from technical aspects, as the acoustic cues defining voice and linguistic content are entangled in speech signals. Some comes from the difficulties in studying actual patient populations, which presents a very heterogeneous group with multiple factors that need to be taken into account. In this talk, I will present our new project and plans for overcoming these difficulties for a comprehensive approach to studying voice and speech perception in hearing impairment.

Anne Breitbarth - T he Parsed Corpus of Historical Low German (CHLG): Corpus building and first results

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James Burridge (University of Portsmouth) - Predicting the geographical dynamics of language

Language is evolving everywhere, all the time. As a result, people from different parts of a language area may use their language in quite different ways. This geographical variation has often been visualized using “isoglosses”: lines marking the approximate geographical boundaries of different linguistic features. In this talk I will introduce a simple mathematical model in which domains of distinctive language use emerge spontaneously, with transition zones in between. I will show that the shapes of domain boundaries (isoglosses) feel a form of surface tension and are also warped and moved by variations in population density in a predictable way. I will make comparison between the model’s predictions, and the dialect areas of various countries, and I will show how features such as hierarchical diffusion, fanning, isogloss bundles and city dialects can be explained in a simple may. Finally, I will point out a connection between linguistics and physics: according to the model, isoglosses behave much like domain walls between different atomic orderings in certain magnetic or crystalline materials. Perhaps both communities have been studying similar phenomena but at very different length scales, for some time.

Aude Noiray (University of Potsdam) - Tracking spoken language development from infants to school-aged children: a cross-sectional perspective

In the first years of life, children learn to speak their native
language in parallel to developing perceptual, motor, lexical and
phonological knowledge. While most of those competences have been well
studied in the last decades (albeit often separately), work addressing
the development of speech production ability has lagged due to
practical difficulties in measuring speech articulation in the young
age. In this talk, I will present recent research using ultrasound
imaging to address the maturation of spoken language from the first
year of life at a time when infants have had limited exposure and
practice speaking their native language to the first years into
primary school. I will focus on the development of coarticulation, an
essential mechanism for spoken language fluency which develops rather
effortlessly in typically developing children but has been identified
as a core symptom of certain developmental disorders (e.g., childhood
apraxia of speech, SLI or stuttering).

Laatst gewijzigd:06 mei 2024 11:22