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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.

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