Tid: Torsdag 26 mars 2015, kl. 15:00–17:00
Plats: C307, Södra huset, Frescati

Postseminarium följer direkt efter seminariet i institutionens pentry.

In this talk, I will present an overview of the studies in my cross-disciplinary (i.e., functional-typological, corpus-distributional and psycho- and neurolinguistic) PhD thesis of grammatical relations.

It is commonly assumed that grammatical relations express semantic and discourse-related functions (e.g., actor and topic), and that they are grammatically encoded on the basis of a systematic interplay between morphosyntactic (e.g., case and word order) and semantic / referential (e.g., animacy and definiteness) information (e.g., Andrews, 2007; Bickel, 2010). Constraint-based and probabilistic theories of language comprehension (e.g., Bornkessel-Schlesewsky & Schlesewsky, 2009; McWhinney & Bates, 1989) further assume that these information types serve as argument interpretation cues in the process of assigning functions to the argument NPs. This is a highly incremental process that draws upon statistical regularities in the distribution of argument interpretation cues in previous language experience, as observed in e.g. spoken or written corpora.  Cue weightings and interactions can therefore be quantified on the basis of corpus distributions.

I will present results from a corpus study of frequency distributions of argument interpretation cues and verb semantic properties of transitive clauses in written Swedish texts. The strength and interplay between these features is quantified in terms of their ability to predict the NP functions (i.e., sentence word order), using mixed effects logistic modeling.

I will also present a statistical model that models the on-line processing of argument interpretation in terms of expectation updating or suprisal (Levy, 2008), on the basis of the corpus distributions. I then go on to present results from a self-paced reading experiment that confirm some of the predictions of this model.  

If time permit, I will finally present evidence for the functional-typological account of grammatical relations based upon a study of the neurophysiological response (as measured by EEG) associated with the re-assignment (i.e., reanalysis) of grammatical functions during the on-line comprehension of transitive sentences (Hörberg, Koptjevskaja-Tamm & Kallioinen 2013).

Andrews, A. D. (2007). The major functions of the noun phrase. In T. Shopen (Ed.), Language Typology and Syntactic Description (Vol. 1: Clause Structure, pp. 133-223). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bickel, B. (2010). Grammatical Relations Typology. In J. J. Sung (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Language Typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I., & Schlesewsky, M. (2009). 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.

Hörberg, T., Koptjevskaja-Tamm, M., & Kallioinen, P. (2013). The neurophysiological correlate to grammatical function reanalysis in Swedish. Language and Cognitive Processes, 28(3), 388-416.

Levy, R. (2008). Expectation-based syntactic comprehension. Cognition, 106(3), 1126-1177.

McWhinney, B., & Bates, E. (1989). The crosslinguistic study of sentence processing. New York: Cambridge University Press.


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Ljuba Veslinova