Research Projects


Coordinated Research in the Experimental Morphosyntax of South Slavic Languages Experimental Morphosyntax South Slavic (EMSS)

Funded: Leverhulme Trust (2014 - 2017)
Research Head: Andrew Nevins
The combinatorial possibilities provided by the unique number and gender morphology of the South Slavic languages create a rich array of morphosyntactic variability both within and across speakers in this language area. The research builds on methodology developed for Slovenian by the experimental morphologists, Andrew Nevins and Lanko Marusic, to be applied in parallel at the partner institutions using elicited production and comprehension tasks. The network’s activities will yield research broadly applicable to understanding the effects of word order, topicality, prosody, and inflection on the choice of agreement controllers, and will bring clarity to incommensurable current descriptions of these phenomena based on non-experimental methods.

Word Meaning - What It Is and What It Isn't
Funded: AHRC (2011 - 2014)
Research Team: Mark Textor (PI) Kings College London, Robyn Carston

Antecedent Priming in Sentences with Neutral Scrambling: Evidence from Dutch and German
AHRC (2011-2012)
Research Team:
Hans van de Koot, Claudia Felser (University of Essex), Renita Silva, Mikako Sato

Linguistic Universals and the Order of Verbs in Germanic

AHRC (October - December 2011)
Research Team:
Klaus Abels

Children's Understanding of Metaphor
Research Team: Nausicaa Pouscoulous, Michael Tomasello (Max Planck Institute)

Understanding Metaphor: Ad Hoc Concepts and Imagined Worlds
Leverhulme Trust (2010 - 2014)
Research Team: Robyn Carston, Catherine Wearing, Paula Rubio Fernandez

Phonotactics vs Stress in Word-Learning during Speech Segmentation
British Academy (2010-2012)
Research Team:
Andrew Nevins, Katrin Skoruppa, Adam Gillard
This project focuses on the use of conflicting cues in speech segmentation, focusing on a strong and salient cue, word-stress, versus phonotactic constraints on sound sequences. Segmenting the words from running speech is a difficult problem in first and second language acquisition, because there are not reliable silences between words (and moreover, some words have silences within them). While research with infants and adults has shown that both word-stress and phonotactic constraints (e.g. the fact that an English word cannot end with a short/lax vowel such as "ih") are used in speech segmentation, it is not known which type of cue is more reliable, salient, or preferred. The research will involve experiments that put the English preference for trochaic stress (strong-weak) in conflict with phonotactic sequences that favor a parsing of the speech stream into the weak-stress pattern. The methodology will involve artificial grammar experiments, and the results will have implications for first and second language acquisition and for linguistic typology.

The role of lexical alternatives in different forms of pragmatic processing

European Science Foundation  (2010 - 2011)
Research Team:
Richard Breheny, Judith Degen (University of Rochester)

Are Pressuppositions Accommodated Globally by Default?

European Science Foundation (2010 - 2011)
Research Team:
Richard Breheny, N. Katsos & C. Cummins (U. of Cambridge), B Geurts (U. of Nijmegen), E. Chemla (ENS, Paris).

Experimental Investigations of Semantic-Pragmatic Inferences
AHRC (2007-2010)
Research Team:
Richard Breheny, Heather Ferguson

A Flexible Theory of Topic and Focus Movement
Funded: AHRC
Research Team: Michael Brody, Ad Neeleman (PI), Kriszta Szendroi, Hans van de Koot, Ivona Kucerova and Reiko Vermeulen.

Inferential Processes in literal and figurative lexical interpretation: A comparative psycho-pragmatic study of healthy, autistic and schizophrenic subjects
Funded: British Academy (2005-2008), CEC (2006-2009).
Research Team:
Robyn Carston, Paula Ruibio Fernandez

Other Links

UCL Database of London's Languages

A Unified Theory of Lexical Pragmatics

Laboratory for Language and Speech Diversions