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Saturday, 18 May 2024

The Department operates three laboratories: (1) The Berman Lab: Language Acquisition and Development; (2) Computational Linguistic Lab; (3) Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics Research Lab.
  The Berman Lab: Language Acquisition and Development, Prof. (Emerita) Ruth Berman

Research topic: Language acquisition and development from early childhood across adolescence.

Research methods: Analysis of a computerized database that includes longitudinal and cross-sectional recordings of toddlers and preschool children in interaction with adults and an extensive databases of narrative and expository texts elicited in both speech and writing. The lab takes a functional approach, identifying relations between linguistic forms and discourse functions in a range of discourse genres. The lab focuses on Hebrew as a native language in cross-linguistic perspective.

Research projects: (1) The development of complex syntax, focusing on clause-combining in the sense of interclausal connectivity in different discourse genres, both interactive conversation and extended texts. Analyses are based on an innovative system for coding of clause types and categories in relation to the functions they perform in different types of discourse. (2) Comparison of the writing ability of adolescents with normal language development compared with their language/learning impaired peers; (3) Analysis of the factor of “word length” in Hebrew and English, based on a corresponding sample of authentic texts, in developmental and typological perspective.

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  Computational Linguistics Lab, Dr. Roni Katzir

Research Topic: Computational methods are used to investigate human language acquisition. Researchers in the lab seek to offer a perspective on learning and learnability that is informed by work in theoretical linguistics, cognitive psychology, and computer science. The lab’s overarching research project is the creation of a fully general model of language acquisition that will allow divergent representations of grammar proposed in the linguistic literature to be evaluated and compared on a computationally and cognitively sound basis.

Research Methods: Computer simulation of grammar induction tasks; Minimum Description Length (MDL); Markov-Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods.

Research Projects: (1) Comparison of grammatical systems based on the MDL learners they induce; (2) Induction of lexicon and phonological constraints in Optimality Theory; (3) Induction of phonological rule systems and acquisition of rule interactions.

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  Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics Research Lab, Dr. Aya Meltzer-Asscher

Research Topic: Investigating the cognitive and neurophysiological basis of language processing and production in the adult, healthy brain, using a linguistics-oriented interdisciplinary approach. 

Research Methods: Behavioral measures (accuracy, reaction times, self-paced reading), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG).

Research Projects: (1) Investigating the influence of contextual and lexical information on syntactic processing in the left inferior frontal gyrus; (2) Identifying cortical regions involved in the processing of different lexical categories and their interrelations; (3) Elucidating the neural mechanisms involved in the lexical and syntactic manipulation of verb argument structure.

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