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News Student Representation at BUCLD conference

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Presenters: Yi-Lun Weng, Julie M. Schneider, Zhenghan Qi

Title: Neural sensitivity to local and global distributional information in speech changes as a function of development

Research summary: Both adults and children are sensitive to distributional statistics in the environment, such as frequency and variability. However, the developmental trajectories of listeners' sensitivity to distributional cues in speech are poorly understood. This study suggests that children's processing of global probabilistic information distributed in speech is automatic, while in adults the detection of global probabilistic might be facilitated by more attentive processes.

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Presenters: Dionysia Saratsli & Anna Papafragou

Talk: Dionysia Saratsli & Anna Papafragou

Title: Pragmatic Effects on the Learnability of Evidential Systems

Research Summary: Cross-linguistically prevalent distinctions are widely assumed to be easier to learn. Within semantics, these learnability patterns are typically attributed to the naturalness of the underlying concepts. Through our study, we show that pragmatic pressures can also shape the cross-linguistic prevalence of semantic distinctions, and offer evidence from the domain of evidentiality (the encoding of information source).

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Presenters: Dionysia Saratsli & Zhenghan Qi

Poster: Dionysia Saratsli, Anna Papafragou & Zhenghan Qi

Title: Social cognition and pragmatic inference in word learning

Research Summary: Both children and adults can use pragmatic inference and social cognition to learn word meanings. However, the relationship between these factors and word learning has not been systematically studied beyond in-the-moment mappings. Here we compared adults' attainment and retention of novel word meanings that were either directly mapped or pragmatically inferred, and further related results to social-cognitive measures. In two experiments, participants heard 8 words in a direct mapping context, whose meaning could be identified from a sentence in combination with the scene ("Look! I like this bink! It is on the dinosaur!"), and 8 inferred words, whose meaning had to be computed through pragmatics ("Look! I like this dinosaur! It is holding a mel!"). We found word meanings learned through pragmatic (informativeness) reasoning are remembered better than those acquired through simpler word-to-world mappings. Furthermore, social cognition has a specific role in supporting the retention of word meanings learned through pragmatic computation.

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Three presentations given by researchers in the Department of Linguisitcs & Cognitive Science at the Boston University Conference on Language Development.

Three presentations given by researchers in the Department of Linguisitcs & Cognitive Science at the Boston University Conference on Language Development.

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Student Representation at BUCLD conference
  • Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science
  • 125 E. Main Street
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-6806
  • Fax: 302-831-6896