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.


Welcome, Vanessa!

As the Fall 2019 semester begins in earnest, we are excited to welcome PhD. student Vanessa Sheu to the ExLing Lab.

Vanessa is excited to join the Exling Lab this fall. She received her B.A in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan and her M.A. in TESOL at Teachers College, Columbia University. As a heritage speaker of Mandarin she is interested in the syntax of heritage speakers, as well as filler-gap dependencies in Mandarin and sentence processing methods.

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

2019 LSA Linguistic Institute: University of California, Davis

The 2019 Linguistic Institute is right around the corner! The Institute will take place from June 24th – July 19th at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Elaine Francis will be teaching the course on Experimental Syntax with Dr. Savithry Namboodiripad from the University of Michigan. The full course list and additional details about the Institute can be found here.

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.