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Abstracts for CUNY 2018

I will be presenting two posters and am a co-author on a talk at CUNY 2018 in Davis, CA. See below for the short and long abstracts! Response bias modulates the grammaticality asymmetry: Evidence for a continuous valuation model of agreement attraction (Friday, March 16 from 12-2pm) Christopher Hammerly, Adrian Staub, & Brian Dillon In agreement attraction, the grammaticality asymmetry—the fact that errors in comprehension lead to illusions of grammaticality, but not illusions of ungrammaticality—has been used to favor retrieval accounts (e.g. ACT-R) over feature percolation accounts (e.g. Marking & Morphing). In three speeded 2AFC experiments, we show the grammaticality asymmetry is due to a bias towards grammatical sentences, rather than retrieval dynamics. When response bias is neutralized, attraction occurs in both grammatical and ungrammatical sentences. The results are used to support a drift diffusion account of attraction, where illusions arise due to equivocal evidence about number marking on the subject. Full Abstract Resumptive pronouns can ameliorate island violations in real-time comprehension (Saturday, March 17 from 12-2pm) Christopher Hammerly In contrast to intuition, much psycholinguistic work of the past decade has claimed that resumptive pronouns (RPs) in English provide no benefit to the comprehension of islands. This claim has been made on the basis of offline measures. In the present study, using self-paced reading, we find evidence of real-time benefits for RPs in island violating structures: compared to gaps, in non-island conditions, RPs are associated with longer reading times, while RPs in island-violating structures facilitate reading. The results provide support for an account where RPs give bottom-up evidence of the location of gaps, making filler-gap dependencies easier to form. Full Abstract... read more

SNEWS at MIT with Alex Göbel

This past Saturday, Alex Göbel and I presented our ongoing work on obviation in Ojibwe at The Southern New England Workshop Workshop in Semantics at MIT. We argue that obviation systems can be treated as a perspectival phenomenon, and that it is related to the distinction between the use of personal versus demonstrative pronouns in... read more

Algonquian 49 at Université de Montréal

I will be presenting my ongoing work on the VOS/VSO alternation in Ojibwe at the The 49th Algonquian Conference at the Université de Montréal on October 29th. I argue that the alternation can be accounted for by the generalization that the highest obviative marked argument be moved to a projection (likely the aspectual projection) the middle field. I show all other movements are ungrammatical, as they violate relativized... read more

The Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind

In August, I attended the Norwegian Summer Institute on Language and Mind in Oslo, where lectures were given on everything from color perception, the modeling of acquisition, adult sentence production, and more. Many thanks to the organizers and all of the participants for an amazing two... read more

Ojibwemotaadidaa Omaa Gidakiiminaang

I will be spending the next two weeks working as a program assistant at Ojibwemotaadidaa Omaa Gidakiiminaang, a language immersion camp for the Ojibwe language. I am looking forward to bolstering my speaking skills, spending time with elders, and doing some... read more

National Breath of Life Institute

I am very excited to be heading to Washington, D.C. from May 29th to June 9th for the National Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages. I will be working with a community member from the Ponca and Quapaw nations. I am looking forward to learning more about two languages I am unfamiliar with, and helping in the push for... read more

CUNY 2017 at MIT

I will be presenting joint work with Brian Dillon next week at CUNY 2017 at MIT. The poster, entitled Restricting domains of retrieval: Evidence for clause-bound processing from agreement attraction, presents three experiments that argue clauses play a role in restricting how retrieval in long-distance dependencies occur. The crucial finding, that the content within clausal and phrasal modifiers are not equally available, extends the finding of Bock & Cutting 1992 to processing and motivates a revision of the cue-based retrieval model of Lewis & Vasishth 2005, who predict effects in the opposite direction. The poster session will take place Friday, March 31 from 12pm-2pm. At this time, an electronic copy will be made available... read more

fMRI study on syntactic prediction out now in Cortex

Out now in Cortex is a collaborative study with William Matchin (UC San Diego) and Ellen Lau (University of Maryland) entitled The role of the IFG and pSTS in syntactic prediction: Evidence from a parametric study of hierarchical structure in fMRI. We dissociate the brain regions responsible for syntactic prediction, verbal working memory, structure building, and semantic combination. The major finding highlights the importance of distinguishing between regions that facilitate syntactic processing (e.g. working memory and top-down prediction) with those that are responsible for incrementally building syntactic and semantic representations. The full paper can be found from the publisher or in the writing section of my... read more

Gender, Class, and Determination in Ottawa

On September 18th I’ll be presenting my most recent research on French and nominal interpretation entitled “Limiting Gender” at Gender, Class, and Determination: A Conference on the Nominal Spine at the University of Ottawa. I propose (1) that word roots are productive in how they are nominalized and specified for gender, and (2) that this process is constrained by the ability to apply a coherent semantic interpretation to the combination of root and nominal class. Look for the abstract and handout from the... read more