Experience-dependent plasticity in the language processing systems. Consequences for theories of language representation and use

a CoLiTec seminar by Giulia Bencini (Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies, Ca Foscari University Venice)

  • Data: 31 marzo 2023 dalle 11:00 alle 13:00

  • Luogo: Teaching Hub - TH11

Structural (aka syntactic) priming is the tendency for speakers to re-use a previously experienced sentence structure – speakers primed with a sentence in the passive voice such as “the city was flooded by the water” will be more likely to describe a picture of a dog chasing a man as “the man is being chased by the dog” than if they had been primed with the semantically equivalent “the water flooded the city”. Structural priming paradigms have provided a wealth of information about the representations and processes involved in language use (see Branigan and Pickering, 2017 for an overview).  In this talk I present structural priming data from studies with adults, first and second language learners, speakers with aphasia and speakers with cognitive decline. Taken together, these studies suggest life-long experience dependent plasticity in the language processing systems in response to concentrated and structured linguistic input. I will review the findings in light of different views of the relationship between theories of language representation and language use, and implicit vs. explicit mechanisms in language learning.