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Forschungscluster Sprache

Research Cluster Language

Language is one of the main research fields within the Center of Excellence “Cognitive Sciences” at the University of Potsdam. The aim of the Research Cluster Language is to broaden our understanding about the structural properties of natural language as a central cognitive faculty within the human mind, the mechanisms underlying the acquisition, comprehension, production, processing of language in different populations and across different age groups, and the implementation in machine-based automatic speech production and comprehension by using an interdisciplinary and multi-methodological approach integrating various research groups from Educational Science, Linguistics, Computer Science, and Psychology.

Hence, the range of topics addressed within the Cluster is diverse and the scope of active research is broad, including models of reading, first language acquisition and second language processing, syntax, semantics, phonology, information structure, computational linguistics, clinical linguistics, psycho- and neurolinguistics, discourse analysis, multilingualism, automatic text processing, development of reading literacy, promotion of German language skills in immigrant children, and educational quality of schools.

The Cluster is a vibrant center of research, with several faculty members. All members of the Cluster have tight links to other Departments at the University of Potsdam and neighboring universities as well as non-university research centers. The research groups work closely together with plenty of bilateral collaborations, for example in the SFB 632 Information structure, the FOR 868 Mind and Brain Dynamics, the FörMig-Program Support for immigrant minority children and youth, the Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism, and the SPP 1234 Phonological and phonetic competence: between grammar, signal processing, and neural activity.http://erc.europa.eu/advanced-grants

Projects of the Research Cluster Language are funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research), DFG (German Research Foundation), European Commission Erasmus Mundus, Federal State of Brandenburg, European Social Funds (ESF) , GWK (Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz), State Government Berlin, Stiftung Mercator, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, the VBKI (Association of Berlin traders and industrialists), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the European Research Council (Advanced Grant Scheme).




You are all cordially invited to attend the colloquium of the Research Cluster Language. If you are interested in presenting your work please contact Prof. Shravan Vasishth (vasishth.shravan [AT] gmail.com)



Next colloqium:

Speaker: Michele Burigo (Uni Bielefeld)

When, where: Tuesday 10.12.2013 at 15:00 in Linguistics Besprechungsraum (H.14, 2.15).

Title and abstract:

Visual Attention in spatial language comprehension

The understanding of spatial descriptions involves attentional mechanisms, but how precisely people deploy visual attention during spatial language processing is unclear. Situated language comprehension accounts (e.g., Altmann & Kamide, 2007; Knoeferle & Crocker, 2006, 2007) assume that when people hear A is above B while inspecting a matching picture, they first fixate A as it is mentioned, and then begin to fixate B upon hearing ‘above’. Models of spatial language apprehension (e.g., Regier & Carlson, 2001), by contrast, posit a reverse shift of attention from B to A is necessary to understand the spatial relationship. The outcomes of four eye-tracking experiments suggest that people mostly establish reference from the spatial description to the objects and only inspect the objects in the reverse to their mention when the task provides them with some extra time.



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