Impact of inter-language typological difference on metacognition in language tasks by bilingualsFunding: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Principal investigator: Leona Polyanskaya (University of Göttingen)
Funding period: 2022-2023
The project studies how metacognition in language tasks is affected by individual linguistic experience. Metacognition allow tracking one’s own cognitive performance and estimate the likelihood of an error while making decisions. My earlier studies showed that bilinguals have better metacognition than monolinguals in those tasks which activate mechanisms engaged in speech processing. In such tasks, bilinguals can detect the cases when the probability of an error is higher, and adapt their speech processing strategies accordingly. Importantly, bilinguals do not constitute a homogeneous population. Bilinguals differ in age of acquisition, dominance in one of the languages, code switching behavior, literacy in one versus both languages. We still do not know what aspects of bilingualism enhance metacognition. In this project, I will test the hypothesis that typological differences between languages in bilinguals’ inventory modulate metacognition. I predict that phonological differences enhance metacognitive processing on prosodic tasks (e.g., rhythm discrimination), morpho-syntactic differences improve tracking performance on grammar learning (e.g., statistical learning or grammaticality judgment), and vocabulary differences hone metacognitive monitoring in inferential word learning. Bilinguals whose languages do not exhibit typological differences in phonology or syntax do not exhibit enhanced metacognition in language tasks, when all other bilingualism-related factors (age of acquisition, language dominance, etc) or individual differences (e.g., in IQ, in verbal fluency, in socio-economic parameters) are controlled for. It is important to study a modulatory effect of bilingualism on metacognition because metacognition is related to decision making at the group level and thus can influence societal decision. Bilingualism is becoming a norm in contemporary society, and we need to be aware which aspects of bilingualism interact with metacognitive processes.
Belief states of vulnerable groups in crises in Latin America: sociolinguistic and computational assessment (BeVuLa)Funding: DFG, COVID-19 Focus Funding
Principal investigators: Olga Kellert and Stavros Skopeteas (University of Göttingen)
Funding period: 2021-2023
The major aim of the present project proposal is to determine what role the linguistic and cultural background of indigenous people from Latin America plays in dissemination of relevant information about COVID-19 propagated by high-impact news outlets (henceforth the Reference Corpus). This aim entails the development of interdisciplinary methods (including sociolinguistic and computational linguistic metrics) for assessing belief states and measuring the degree to which these belief states mirror the Reference Corpus. Special attention is given to complement questionnaire-based data collections with more socially natural data-gathering methods (e.g. free interview), which are particularly important in order to include individuals who are less accustomed to performing highly controlled tasks.
In order to reach the major aim of the project proposal, we created an interdisciplinary group of experts, already cooperating in various related projects. The group combines expertise in linguistic analysis and sociolinguistics, social and medical anthropology, computational methods in social sciences and sociolinguistics, statistic modelling, bilingualism research in Latin America and research of indigenous languages in Latin America, in particular Ecuador, Peru and Yucatán.
Based on the results of this study, the project partners envisage to submit a larger proposal with the contribution of experts from further regions for the study of the role of indigenous languages and cultures in the dissemination of information with social relevance.
RTG 2636: Form-meaning mismatchesFunding: DFG
Principal investigators: RTG website: participating researchers
Researchers: RTG website: PhD students
Funding period: 2021-2025
Website: RTG website
Ergativity and Information Structure: Comparing Chibchan languages (CHIBERGIS)Funding: ANR-DFG
Principal investigators: Claudine Chamoreau (CNRS, SeDyL), Stavros Skopeteas (University of Göttingen), Elisabeth Verhoeven (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Researchers: Marie Benzerrak (University of Göttingen), Jana Bajorat (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Natalia Caceres (CNRS)
Funding period: 2021-2024
The syntax of ellipsis and information structure in Old Irish: a typological approachFunding: DFG
Principal investigator: Elliott Lash (University of Göttingen)
Funding period: 2020-2023
Yucatec Maya: Variation in Space and TimeFunding: DFG-CONACyT
Principal investigators: Barbara Blaha Pfeiler (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Merida, Yucatán, Mexico), Stavros Skopeteas (University of Göttingen), Elisabeth Verhoeven (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Researchers: Flor Canche Teh (UNAM, Merida), Yidong Yu (University of Göttingen), Nico Lehmann (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Funding period: 2018-2022
The aim of this project is to study variation in the indigenous Mexican language Yucatec Maya with a focus on the spatial dispersion of the language and the current developments in language use. The investigation of variation in well-studied languages such as English, Swedish or German has considerably advanced with the creation of databases, atlases and computational tools and theoretical models. A large-scale study on a language such as Yucatec Maya promises a significant contribution to the understanding of variation in two respects: (a) it will offer insights about the amount of variation that arises if a language is mainly used in oral communication; (b) it will contribute to our understanding of the impact of the transformational processes in modern societies (especially urbanization and generalized bilingualism) on the situation of indigenous languages.
This project will compile a large-scale data collection of a sample of lexical and grammatical features in a sample of rural and urban settlements of currently spoken Yucatec Maya. It will identify dialectal variants, it will create a detailed atlas, and will draw conclusions about the existence and dispersion of varieties in geographical space. The comparison between rural and urban settlements will offer insights about developments in the time axis, such as the recent creation of regiolects in urban centers and/or the impact of generalized bilingualism. The use of current dialectometric methods will allow for precise estimations of the relations between varieties.
In order to understand the roots of variation, the project will investigate the relations between variants in selected phonetic, phonological and syntactic phenomena. The planed studies are devoted to core properties of Yucatec Maya that are in the focus of the current research. At the phonetics/phonology level, we will study the variation in the realization of ejectives, lexical tones, as well as the alignment of enclitics with prosodic domains. In syntax, we will investigate basic word order patterns and argument-focus constructions. These studies are expected to shed light on the linguistic structures that determine the observed variation.
This agenda is expected to make a contribution to the current research on variation by combining knowledge from several research paradigms, including sociolinguistics, dialectometry, studies on micro-variation in phonology and syntax.
Focus and thematic role assignment: A comparison of Hungarian and German in Child Language Comprehension (FoTeRo)Funding: DFG, SPP 1727: New Pragmatic Theories based on experimental evidence (XPrag.de)
Principal investigators: Pia Knoeferle (Bielefeld University, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Stavros Skopeteas (Bielefeld University, University of Göttingen)
Funding period: 2015-2019
Ancient Indo-European languages for the 21st centuryFunding: Internationalization of Curricula, University of Göttingen (IdC)
Principal investigators: Götz Keydana (University of Göttingen), Stavros Skopeteas (University of Göttingen)
Researcher: Saverio Dalpedri (University of Göttingen)
Funding period: 2018-2021
Study program “Language in Cultural Context: Documentation, Description, Application”Funding: DAAD; Fachbezogene Partnerschaft mit Hochschulen in Entwicklungsländern.
Principal investigators: Stavros Skopeteas (Bielefeld University, University of Göttingen), Firmin Ahoua (Université Félix Houphouet Boigny, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire)
Funding period: 2015-2018