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PubMed | University of Oulu, Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, University of Manchester, University of Stockholm and 27 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Behavior research methods | Year: 2016

We present a new set of subjective age-of-acquisition (AoA) ratings for 299 words (158 nouns, 141 verbs) in 25 languages from five language families (Afro-Asiatic: Semitic languages; Altaic: one Turkic language: Indo-European: Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic, Slavic, and Romance languages; Niger-Congo: one Bantu language; Uralic: Finnic and Ugric languages). Adult native speakers reported the age at which they had learned each word. We present a comparison of the AoA ratings across all languages by contrasting them in pairs. This comparison shows a consistency in the orders of ratings across the 25 languages. The data were then analyzed (1) to ascertain how the demographic characteristics of the participants influenced AoA estimations and (2) to assess differences caused by the exact form of the target question (when did you learn vs. when do children learn this word); (3) to compare the ratings obtained in our study to those of previous studies; and (4) to assess the validity of our study by comparison with quasi-objective AoA norms derived from the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MB-CDI). All 299 words were judged as being acquired early (mostly before the age of 6 years). AoA ratings were associated with the raters social or language status, but not with the raters age or education. Parents reported words as being learned earlier, and bilinguals reported learning them later. Estimations of the age at which children learn the words revealed significantly lower ratings of AoA. Finally, comparisons with previous AoA and MB-CDI norms support the validity of the present estimations. Our AoA ratings are available for research or other purposes.

Solt S.,Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Journal of Semantics | Year: 2015

The adjectives of quantity (Q-adjectives) many, few, much and little stand out from other quantity expressions on account of their syntactic flexibility, occurring in positions that could be called quantificational (many students attended), predicative (John's friends were many), attributive (the many students), differential (much more than a liter) and adverbial (slept too much). This broad distribution poses a challenge for the two leading theories of this class, which treat them as either quantifying determiners or predicates over individuals. This article develops an analysis of Q-adjectives as gradable predicates of sets of degrees or (equivalently) gradable quantifiers over degrees. It is shown that this proposal allows a unified analysis of these items across the positions in which they occur, while also overcoming several issues facing competing accounts, among others the divergences between Q-adjectives and 'ordinary' adjectives, the operator-like behavior of few and little, and the use of much as a dummy element. Overall the findings point to the central role of degrees in the semantics of quantity. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

Solt S.,Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2011

This paper investigates the role of comparison classes in the semantics of gradable adjectives in the positive form, focusing on the case where the comparison class is expressed overtly via a for-phrase (e.g. John is tall for a jockey). Two central questions are addressed: what information does the comparison class provide, and how is this information integrated compositionally? It is shown that the standard of comparison invoked by the positive form can be analyzed as a range of values whose width is based on the degree of dispersion in the comparison class. Compositionally, the comparison class can be analyzed as an argument of a null positive morpheme (contra Kennedy [13]), in parallel to recent proposals for the superlative (e.g. Heim [9]). The implications of the analysis for the choice between degree- and delineation-based analyses of gradable adjectives are discussed. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Mayr C.,Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Journal of Semantics | Year: 2014

By discussing a novel paradigm, it is shown that the likeliness of an operator to trigger an intervention effect in a wh-in-situ question is determined by the logical properties of that operator (contra Beck 1996a, 2006, for instance). A new empirical generalization accounting for the differences between operators in their ability to cause intervention and improving on existing analyses is suggested. This generalization is fully predictive and allows one to not have to list in the lexicon whether an intervener is problematic or not. It is implemented as a formal condition on wh-questions in a version of Hamblin 1973's/Karttunen 1977's question semantics that makes crucial use of Chierchia 2006's domain alternatives. © The Author 2013.

Benz A.,Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2011

We investigate the role of multi-attribute utility analyses in game theoretic models of Gricean pragmatics, i.e. for finding a model of the linguistic context of an utterance and for the calculation of implicatures. We investigate especially relevance implicatures of direct answers. The work is based on the optimal answer model (Benz, 2006; Benz & v. Rooij, 2007). We argue that multi-attribute utility functions play an essential role in finding the appropriate models. We concentrate especially on default assumptions which are necessary in order to calculate the correct implicatures. As normality assumptions play a central role in the construction of these models, we call them normal optimal answer models. We introduce rules which provide guidelines for setting up these models. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010.

Bertomeu Castello N.,Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Communications in Computer and Information Science | Year: 2012

This paper presents an approach for finding optimal presentation sequences in conversational Recommender Systems. The strategies simultaneously pursuit the goals of acquainting the user with the different possibilities, successfully accomplishing the task in the shortest possible time, and obtaining an accurate user model. The approach is modeled as an MDP where the states include belief states about the acceptability of the different alternatives, modeled as Bayesian networks. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

The paper presents analyses and first conclusions on the acquisition of the discourse structuring function of personal and demonstrative pronouns (er, sie, es vs. der, die, das). Additionally, it is investigated what kind of difficulties children with specific language impairment (SLI) experience in this domain. Therefore, the production of the two pronoun types in a child with SLI was compared to the data from normally developing two- and five-year-old children. Results show that normally developing children start to differentiate the anaphoric function of both the personal and the demonstrative pronoun during their third year of life. However, the demonstrative pronoun is used as a default then. At age five the function of the personal pronoun, i.e. continuation of the topic, is well established. On the contrary, the child with SLI does not produce personal pronouns in its third year of life. At age five, production of personal pronouns quantitatively reaches the level found in normally developing two-year-old children. The demonstrative pronoun replaces other pronouns. However, the acquisition of the discourse function of personal pronouns is more developed in the five-year-old SLI-child than in the two-year-old controls, though target anaphoric use of personal pronouns only appears in main clauses.

Weirich M.,Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft | Weirich M.,Friedrich - Schiller University of Jena | Lancia L.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Brunner J.,University of Potsdam
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America | Year: 2013

The purpose of this study is to examine and compare the amount of inter-speaker variability in the articulation of monozygotic twin pairs (MZ), dizygotic twin pairs (DZ), and pairs of unrelated twins with the goal of examining in greater depth the influence of physiology on articulation. Physiological parameters are assumed to be very similar in MZ twin pairs in contrast to DZ twin pairs or unrelated speakers, and it is hypothesized that the speaker specific shape of articulatory looping trajectories of the tongue is at least partly dependent on biomechanical properties and the speaker's individual physiology. By means of electromagnetic articulography (EMA), inter-speaker variability in the looping trajectories of the tongue back during /VCV/ sequences is analyzed. Results reveal similar looping patterns within MZ twin pairs but in DZ pairs differences in the shape of the loop, the direction of the upward and downward movement, and the amount of horizontal sliding movement at the palate are found. © 2013 Acoustical Society of America.

Solt S.,Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2010

This paper examines the semantics of much when it occurs as a dummy element, in so-called much support (Fred is diligent; in fact he is too much so) and more comparatives (more intelligent, where more = much + -er). It is shown that far from being anomalies, much support and more comparatives provide a clue to the correct analysis of much more generally: much is essentially contentless, serving only as a carrier of degree morphology. In short, much always acts as much support. These findings provide support for a theory of quantity adjectives (many, few, much and little) as predicates of scalar intervals, with the remainder of the content traditionally ascribed to them contributed instead by null syntactic elements and operations. The vacuous nature of much itself is also argued to account for its infelicity in unmodified form in many contexts (e.g. We bought much rice). © 2010 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

PubMed | Zentrum fur Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of psycholinguistic research | Year: 2016

Using referential processing in discourse featuring implicit causality verbs as a test case, we demonstrate how a discourses causal and temporal dimensions interact. We show that referential processing is affected by multiple discourse biases, and that these biases do not have uniform effects. In three discourse continuation experiments, we show that the bias to re-mention a particular referent in discourse involving implicit causality verbs is not only affected by the verbs implicit causality bias, but also by the discourses temporal structure, which at times, can even override the implicit causality bias. Our results add to the growing number of studies that show how various discourse dimensions interact in discourse processing.

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