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Linguistics Graduate Student Colloquium

PhD Candidates Tzu-Yun Tung and Dominique A. Canning
Friday, December 9, 2022
4:00-5:30 PM
The Michigan Room Michigan League Map
Join us in person or virtually on Zoom.

Tzu-Yun Tung
Expectations modulate retrieval interference during ellipsis resolution

Memory operations during language comprehension are subject to interference: retrieval is harder when items are linguistically similar to each other. We test how such interference effects might be modulated by linguistic expectations. Theories differ in how these factors might interact; we consider three possibilities: (i) predictability determines the need for retrieval, (ii) predictability affects cue-preference during retrieval, or (iii) noisy memory representations affect next-word predictions. We first demonstrate that expectations for a target word modulate retrieval interference in Mandarin noun-phrase ellipsis in an electroencephalography (EEG) experiment. This result obtains in globally ungrammatical sentences – termed “facilitatory interference.” Such a pattern is inconsistent with theories that focus only on the need for retrieval. To tease apart cue-preferences from noisy-memory representations, we operationalize the latter using a Transformer neural network language model. Confronting that model with our stimuli does reveal an interference effect, consistent with prior work, but does not show an interaction between interference and predictability which contrasts with the EEG results. Together, these data are most consistent with the hypothesis that the predictability of target items affects cue-preferences during retrieval.

Dominique A. Canning
An Intersectional Approach to Black Queer Language & Identity Performance

This talk furthers our understanding of how Black queer people use language to perform and create their identities. The intersection of Blackness and queerness is one that requires us to examine the ways race, gender, and sexual orientation influence a person’s lived experience. Following an intersectional approach, I argue that a Black queer person does not experience the world as either a Black person or a queer person, but uniquely as a Black queer person. To understand the role of language in Black queer life and experience, it is necessary to challenge strict boundaries between linguistic categories and social identities, while also considering the ways linguistic performance may be used as a tool of power and resistance.
Building: Michigan League
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: colloquium, Graduate Students, Language, Lecture, Linguistics
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Department of Linguistics