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ResearchCenter for Language and CognitionResearchProjects and Dissertations

Current Graduate students projects in Theoretical and Empirical Linguistics

Charlotte Lindenbergh
Charlotte Lindenbergh
Simplifying Minimalism: Revisiting locality constraints in syntax

"My PhD research project is situated in the field of theoretical linguistics and takes as its starting point the hypothesis that all human beings have an innate language faculty. The primary goal is then to describe this human language faculty by developing a theoretical model that explains how linguistic structure is built. With this theoretical background, I will be working on the principle of locality , which states that elements in a linguistics structure have to be close enough together in order to establish a syntactic relation with each other. The goal is to provide a conceptually necessary explanation for this important and ubiquitous principle of locality in order to further simplify the model of the grammar. By giving an explanation that is based on the most economical way of building linguistic structure, I hope to be able to eliminate the current stipulative explanation of locality." De link naar mijn persoonlijke website: http://let.webhosting.rug.nl/~lindenbergh/index.html

Miguel Santin
Miguel Santin Schulz
The cognitive representation of change-of-state events in speakers of different languages

We are very used to use our senses to perceive the continuum of events happing around us, however, what is the role of language in this cognitive process? Several studies about motion, agency and labeling have found that language is especially important for increasing the salience of particular world features in our mind. Our research aims to examine the influence of using language-specific structures on the cognitive processes involved in the visual perception and mental representation of change of state events across language speakers. To investigate this, two matters need to be observed: a) which linguistic patterns do speakers across languages typically use to describe change of state undergone by objects, and b) by virtue of which cognitive processes do humans apprehend changes of state in the world. The central question directing this project is: to what extent does being habituated to describe changes of state by means of language-specific structures influence the performance of the cognitive processes involved in representing change-of-state events? We are looking into how attention allocation, memory, categorization and segmentation processes of Spanish, Dutch and Mandarin speakers may vary in function of specific characteristics of their mother tongue.

Janine Strandberg
Janine Strandberg
Generational Vowel Change and Code-Switching in Finland-Swedish  

   
"My PhD research project is a sociolinguistic investigation into linguistic change in Finland-Swedish, which is a variety of Swedish spoken as a minority language in Finland. For centuries Finnish and Swedish were largely spoken in different regions and culturally distinct communities in Finland, but lately the Finnish society has become more linguistically mixed. My research project examines generational vowel change and lexical change occurring in the Finland-Swedish community due to increasing linguistic influence from Finnish. The degree of variation is expected to relate not only to the amount of direct contact individuals have with the Finnish language, but also to the linguistic identity and language choices of the Finland-Swedish speakers.       
  The dynamic between Finnish and Finland-Swedish is interesting due to the long history of Swedish being spoken in Finland, as well as the minority variety’s status as a national language, in spite of having fewer than 300,000 native speakers. Additionally, the emphasis on linguistic change due to majority language influence makes the study highly relevant to research related to minority and heritage languages."

Leanne Schreurs
Leanne Schreurs
Last modified:21 November 2018 10.30 a.m.