Author Archives: Brian Dillon

Erika Mayer Successfully Defends Dissertation

On August 14th, Erika Mayer successfully defended her dissertation entitled “The online processing of even’s likelihood presupposition.” In her thesis, Erika used a range of psycholinguistic methods to investigate the real-time processing of the likelihood presupposition associated with even. Erika’s results showed that, unlike some other semantic or discourse operators, comprehenders generally do not use the presence of even to modulate lexical expectations about how the sentence is likely to unfold. Her results offer interesting insights into what type of an operator even may be, as well as the types of information that comprehenders can incrementally use in sentence comprehension. Erika’s committee consisted of Brian Dillon (chair), Vincent Homer, and Adrian Staub.

(Photo cred: Vincent Homer)

Congratulations, Erika!

Keshev awarded Azrieli Fellowship!

Congratulations are in order for Maayan Keshev, who has been awarded a prestigious Azrieli Fellowhip!

Maayan has been awarded the Azrieli Early Career Faculty Fellowship to lead  research on the role of abstract grammatical knowledge and frequency in predictive processing. The fellowship will come into effect as she will take her new faculty position at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in February 2024. The competitive Azrieli Early Career Faculty Fellowship aims to promote research leadership in Israel across all fields of study. The Azrieli Foundation provides selected outstanding scholars with research funding, advances their career development, as well as covers costs associated with the fellows’ remuneration at their home institution.

Congratulations Maayan!

UMass Psycholinguistics @ HSP2023

The Human Sentence Processing conference took place Thursday March 9th to Saturday March 11th at the University of Pittsburgh.

UMass psycholinguists past and present were well represented! In fact, this year’s conference was co-organized by UMass alumnus Mike Dikey (Ph.D. 2000), along with Tessa Warren, Scott Fraundorf, Natasha Tokowicz, and Seth Wiener.

In addition:

Shota Momma gave a talk entitled “Producing unbounded dependencies: Shota Momma evidence from structural priming of that

Justin Guesser, Arielle Borovsky, Patricia Deevy, Claney Outzen and Laurence Leonard gave a talk entitled “Knowledge and processing affect online prediction in developmental language disorder”

Kuan-Jung Huang and Brian Dillon gave a talked entitled “A large, rare processing cost underlies garden path effects: An RT distribution approach”

Ozge Bakay, Jon Burnsky, Maayan Keshev, Mariam Asatryan, Kyle Johnson and Brian Dillon gave a poster entitled “Predicting disjoint reference: offline and online evidence”

Mandy Cartner and Maayan Keshev gave a poster entitled “Optional resumption is used to overcome local ambiguity in Hebrew”

Shota Momma gave a poster entitled “Filler-gap dependencies alter compositional units in sentence production”

Maayan Keshev, Matt Wagers and Brian Dillon gave a poster entitled “The role of prediction in retrieval interference: The case of reflexive attraction”

Mandy Cartner, Ivy Sichel, Maziar Toosarvandani and Matt Wagers gave a poster entitled “Predictive parsing as a source for resumptive pronoun preference in Hebrew”

Justin Kueser, Patricia Deevy, Arielle Borovsky, Michelle Indarjit, Mine Muezzinoglu, Claney Outzen and Laurence Leonard gave a poster entitled “Vocabulary supports event probability cues in developmental language disorder”

Briony Waite, Anthony Yacovone and Jesse Snedeker gave a poster entitled “Children make robust lexical predictions in a naturalistic context”

Fengyue Zhao, Brian Dillon and Ming Xiang gave a poster entitled “Probabilistic Listener: A Case of Reflexive ziji “self” Ambiguity Resolution in Mandarin”

Linh Pham, Thuy Bui, Alexander Goebel and Elsi Kaiser gave a poster entitled “Anaphora resolution in Vietnamese: On the effects of person feature constraints on the interpretation of reflexive ‘mình’”

Morwenna Hoeks, Amanda Rysling and Maziar Toosarvandani gave a poster entitled “Integrating contextual information in on-line alternative set construction”

Kelsey Sasaki, Pranav Anand and Amanda Rysling gave a poster entitled “Animacy and event structure modulate long- distance pronominal anaphora in discourse”

Heeju Hwang and Suet Ying Lam gave a poster entitled “The influence of action continuity on reference form in Mandarin and English”

Lalitha Balachandran, Morwenna Hoeks, Nicholas Van Handel and Amanda Rysling gave a poster entitled “Top-down expectations vs. bottom-up information in prosodic memory”

Eszter Ronai and Alexander Goebel gave a poster entitled “Intonation affects rate of scalar inferences: production and perception data from English”

Tyler Knowlton and Florian Schwarz gave a poster entitled “”Every” provides an implicit comparison class when “each” does not”

Neal gives invited talks at Harvard and University of Kentucky

5th year Ph.D. student Anissa Neal gave not one but two invited talks this week. On Tuesday November 29th she gave an invited talk entitled, Speaker Identity and Syntactic Expectations: A proposed study on African American Language, at Harvard University’s Language and Cognition research group, and on Friday 12/2 she gave an invited colloquium with the same title at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Kentucky. In her talk, she discussed her computational and experimental work on processing subject contact relative clauses in African American Language. Congratulations Anissa!

Lam and Hwang published in Cognitive Science

Suet Ying Lam (Ph.D. student) published work with Heeju Hwang (University of Hong Kong) in Cognitive Science. Their paper may be accessed here:

The title of Suet Ying’s paper is ‘How Does Topicality Affect the Choice of Referential Form? Evidence From Mandarin.’ In it, she investigates the relationship between topicality and predictability, and how these factors influence the choice between null and overt pronouns in Mandarin Chinese. Congratulations, Suet Ying!

Rong Yin to Lymba Corporation

Rong Yin (PhD, 2021) has accepted a position as a Computational Linguist at Lymba Corporation starting September 2022. There, she will work on the development of ontologies for use with various kinds of computational language models. Congratulations Rong Yin, we’re proud of you!

UMass Linguists at TripleAFLA

UMass linguists past and present are presenting at TripleAFLA (a combination of the TripleA workshop of semantic fieldworkers and the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association)! TripleAFLA is being held from June 28th to July 1st 2022 in an online format hosted by the University of Manchester.

Jérémy Pasquereau is giving a talk entitled ‘Reduplication in Karata numerals and verbs as cross-categorial pluractionality.’

Jed Sam Pizarro-Guevara and Alessa Farinella are giving a talk entitled ‘An experimental investigation of phonological markedness avoidance via word order: Tagalog adjective-noun order as a case study.’

Palencia wins Charles Moran Best Text Contest

Aviva Palencia (Class of 2022) has been named a winner of the Charles Moran Best Text Contest in the Best Multimedia/Non-traditional Format category for her Junior Year Writing capstone project entitled “Why Haven’t I Heard of Voseo”? In her project, Palencia explored the history and contemporary social context of voseo in Hispanophone America. Congratulations, Aviva!

Sakshi Bhatia to University of Delhi

Sakshi Bhatia (2019) has accepted an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Delhi. Sakshi joined the Central University of Rajasthan’s department of Linguistics after leaving UMass in 2019, and she began her tenure at the University of Delhi on May 10th. Congratulations Sakshi!