Home » Articles posted by Elaine Francis

Author Archives: Elaine Francis

ExLing presentations in Spring 2023

It was a busy Spring 2023 for ExLing Lab members!

In March, the whole lab group took a road trip to Urbana Illinois, where Vanessa Sheu and Jingying Hu presented papers at the 15th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Language and Linguistics Society (ILLS15). The theme of the conference was Interdisciplinary Approaches to Bilingualism.

ExLing lab members posing outside the Illini Union at UIUC after the ILLS conference. From left: Golsa Khodadadi, Yue Li, Jingying Hu, Vanessa Sheu, Kaukab Saba, Yongjia Deng, and Elaine Francis

We enjoyed a lot of good food during the conference. Here we are at the conference dinner in the Illini Union and at Shawarma Joint.

Vanessa’s talk was about her PhD research on processing of garden-path sentences by L1, L2 and heritage speakers of Mandarin. 

Jingying’s talk was about her research on L2 acquisition of the perfective marker -le in Mandarin, in collaboration with her former advisor, Prof. Zhao Yang.

Vanessa Sheu presenting at ILLS in March 2023
Jingying Hu presenting at ILLS in March 2023

In April, Yongjia Deng presented a paper at the Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference, based on her work with Vanessa on animacy effects in Mandarin relative clause production. 

Also in April, Yue Li presented a paper at the virtual Purdue Linguistics Symposium 2023. Yue’s talk was on her research on adolescent L2 English learners’ comprehension of subject and object relative clauses, in collaboration with her former advisor, Prof. Gao Yuan.

At the same virtual conference, Elaine gave a plenary talk on resumptive pronouns in relative clauses.

Please check our presentation page for details of the recent presentations.

Double congratulations to Josh Weirick!

Josh Weirick successfully defended his dissertation “Language background and the realization of the information structure constraints on English dative constructions: Evidence from monolingual and bilingual speakers” on May 21, 2021. In other excellent news, Josh will start a new postdoctoral position in the Aphasia Lab in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue on August 1. Congratulations, Dr. Weirick!

Josh Weirick defending his dissertation on Zoom.
Josh Weirick defending his dissertation on Zoom.

CUNY 2020 virtual conference

Because of the covid-19 pandemic, CUNY 2020 (March 19-21) could not be held as planned in Amherst, Massachusetts. However, the organizers went to heroic efforts and quickly moved the CUNY 2020 conference online. Links to the talks and posters are available for anyone to view in the OSF repository.

Our lab members got to participate in the virtual conference. Josh Weirick and Elaine Francis presented a poster titled “Acceptability of relative clause extraposition in English: Effects of predicate type and givenness”. Please check out the poster video at the link below! Watch to the end for some silliness.


March 2019 Conferences

Lab members were busy presenting at three conferences in March 2019. Carol Chun Zheng, Josh Weirick, and Elaine Francis presented a talk at the American Association of Applied Linguistics conference in Atlanta and a poster at the CUNY sentence processing conference in Boulder, CO reporting on their project, “Effects of frequency and simplicity in L2 English causative motion production.” In addition, Josh Weirick and Elaine Francis presented preliminary results from their project “A verb appeared that usually doesn’t: Effects of predicate type and discourse status on relative clause extraposition in English” at the Purdue Linguistics, Literature, and Second Language Studies conference.

Dinner at CUNY in Boulder with our friend Prof. Charles Lin from Indiana University. Carol Chun Zheng, Elaine Francis, Charles Lin, Josh Weirick

Welcome to Purdue Experimental Linguistics Lab (ExLing)

Heavilon Hall

Our research lab is located on Purdue’s campus in Heavilon Hall Room 201 (campus map). Our research deals with syntax and its interfaces with semantics, discourse information structure, and language processing in production and comprehension. Some of our goals are as follows:

  • to identify the various factors that contribute to the realization of grammatical alternations—sentence types that differ in structure but overlap in usage
  • to explore the relation between grammar and performance, in particular the hypothesis that processing pressures in production and comprehension contribute to the development of grammatical conventions
  • to understand how the similarities and differences among the sentence types that alternate with each other are best represented within a theory of grammar
  • to explore the relation between grammar and meaning, in particular how structural differences relate to differences in conceptualization within and across languages

We address these issues using a variety of experimental methods,including acceptability judgment tasks, structural priming tasks, various elicitation tasks, reading and response time measurements, and quantitative corpus analyses.

Lab members also make use of a variety of theoretical approaches, including Hawkins’ theory of performance-grammar correspondence, Sadock’s Automodular Grammar (aka Autolexical Syntax), Culicover and Jackendoff’s Simpler Syntax, Slobin’s thinking-for-speaking hypothesis, Ramchand’s model of event structure, and Cinque and Rizzi’s cartographic approach to the syntax-discourse interface.
Languages currently under investigation include English, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Chaoshan, and Mandarin.