Vol. 21, No. 1
Congratulations to Shelley Marquez! Shelley is the 2009 recipient of the Betsy Faught Award. This is the most prestigious campus award given in recognition of outstanding achievement in management of a general campus academic unit. Shelley serves as chief administrative officer for the Center for Research in Language, Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, Institute for Neural Computation, and executive director of the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center, and we are delighted at the recognition she receives through this award.
The award recognizes the professionalism and dedication of academic program managers and emphasizes their critical role on campus. The traits attributed to the awardees include the ability to bring people together; skill at analyzing and solving problems; sustained initiative and creativity; influential leadership and management skills; and recognized judgment and integrity.
Katie Alcock recently spent time with the CRL as a visiting researcher, while on a two-term sabbatical from the Psychology Department at Lancaster University. Katie has published a Technical Report with some of her recent work in the most recent CRL Newsletter.
From 1998 to 2000, Katie worked with Liz Bates as a post-doc at the CRL, and during this most recent visit she was collaborating with Julia Evans from the SDSU school of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences. Katie has worked on a number of diverse projects, from a set of studies in Health and Culture, examining the effects of schooling on phonological awareness for children in developing countries, including Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda (where her proficiency in Swahili has certainly come in handy!), to projects examining how individual differences affect language development, both in the typical range, and also in the case of delayed development (as a PhD student, she was able to work directly with the KE family, supervised by Dick Passingham at Oxford). A common theme to much of Katie's research is the strong interdependence between linguistic and non-linguistic abilities, and her work is driven by a passion to understand the factors outside language that drive its development.
It was great to have you back in San Diego, Katie!
We were very honored to have Susan Goldin-Meadow here at UCSD last quarter, visiting the CRL! In addition to other talks around campus, Susan also gave a CRL Speaker Series talk on Feb 24. We hope to have you back again soon, Susan!
Susan Goldin-Meadow is the Bearsdley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago where she is a member of the Departments of Psychology and Comparative Human Development and the Committee on Education. A year spent at the Piagetian Institute in Geneva while an undergraduate piqued her interest in the relation between language and thought, interests that she began to explore in her doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn and in collaboration with Lila Gleitman and Heidi Feldman, she began her studies exploring whether children who lack a (usable) model for language can nevertheless create a language with their hands. She has found that deaf children whose profound hearing losses prevent them from learning the speech that surrounds them, and whose hearing parents have not exposed them to sign, invent gesture systems which are structured in language-like ways. This interest in how the manual modality can serve the needs of communication and thinking led to her more recent work on the gestures that accompany speech in hearing individuals. She has found that gesture can convey substantive information--information that is often not expressed in the speech it accompanies--and, as a result, can reveal secrets of the mind to those who pay attention. Her two-pronged research program thus focuses on the home-made gestures that children create when not exposed to language, and the gestures that we all produce when we talk (and what they tell us about how we think)
The CRL conference room (CSB280) has recently undergone a complete 21st century makeover, including a new projector, projection screen, furniture, plasma display, ceiling-mounted speakers, and media system. The room will also soon be equipped with a standards-based video-conferencing system, including two wall-mounted cameras.
Congratulations to Victor Ferreira! Vic has been named the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of Memory and Language!
Congratulations to Dr. Dr. Aaron Cicourel! Aaron recently received an honorary doctorate from Complutense University of Madrid. The Complutense University of Madrid is the top public university in Spain, one of the oldest in the world, and definitely has the best hats. Felicitaciones!
Congratulations to Karen Emmorey! Karen and co-investigator Jennifer Petrich were just awarded $377,997 from the National Science Foundation.
When the Champagne runs out, Karen and Jennifer will be using psycholinguistic and neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques to a) understand how deaf adults represent and segment printed English words and fingerspelled words and b) compare the neural regions that support single word reading for these different orthographies for deaf and hearing readers.
The project title is "Processing orthographic structure: Associations between print and fingerspelling."
Congratulations to Carol Padden! Carol is one of two members of the faculty or staff at UCSD to be nominated as a Faculty Research Lecturer. This honor is given to those whose research is deemed to have made a particularly significant contribution to the advancement of knowledge. As part of this honor, on March 13th, Carol presented a public lecture entitled Birth of a Language on her research on the Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language (ABSL).
Carol argues that ABSL, a new sign language that developed in a community in southern Israel without any apparent influence from languages in the region, including Hebrew, Arabic and other sign languages, provides new insight into how languages begin. For the last seven years, Carol and her collaborators have been studying native signers of ABSL as they tell stories and describe actions. Their work has shown the new sign language to be highly regular in some respects and remarkably spare in its structure, strikingly different from previously studied sign languages. Moreover, their work has shown that younger signers use forms that are more complex than those of older signers. Thus, if a language arises with no external influence, it apparently does not emerge full-blown, but rather complexity emerges gradually as the language goes through successive iterations of learning and interaction.
Thanks to Mala Poe, you can watch a video of the talk.
Congratulations to Marta Kutas! Marta was honored in October with the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Psychophysiology Award from the Society for Psychophysiological Research. The Society for Psychophysiological Research is the oldest and the most prominent society in the field. This award was first given in 1969 and there have been only a total of 24 recipients so far. Marta is the third woman to receive this highest award in psychophysiology. Marta received the award at the society's 47th annual meeting held in Savannah, Georgia, and was also honored with a symposium. Celebrating her seminal work on the psychophysiology of language processing and her continuing (and "driving") influence in the field, the symposium featured four former students of Kutas', including Robert Kluender, currently on the Linguistics faculty at UCSD. "Relatively few disciplines in science can clearly trace their roots to a single investigator and perhaps even more impressive, to a single study," read the symposium abstract. "Twenty-seven years ago Marta Kutas (along with Steve Hillyard) published in the journal Science what has turned out to be one of the most important and frequently cited studies in psychophysiology."
Congratulations also go to Marta for her appointment to the board of the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind.
Congratulations to Jean Mandler who was recently one of only fourteen infancy and early childhood researchers invited to a conference on Early Childhood Development and Later Achievement, sponsored by the Jacobs Foundation (a well endowed Swiss educational foundation). These researchers, along with Jim Heckman (the Nobel economist currently studying education) and assorted postdocs, met at Marbach Castle on Lake Constance for 4 days in April. They discussed what basic infancy research can contribute to understanding later educational and other success. A book based on their interactions is to be published by Cambridge University Press.
Congratulations to Leah Fabiano-Smith who has accepted an appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at the State University of New York at New Paltz.
Leah came to CRL to examine the role of markedness in bilingual phonological acquisition and disorders, and to establish a stronger foundation in theoretical linguistics. Through her work with Jessica Barlow at SDSU, she has performed a re-analysis of her dissertation data examining typological variation in the phonetic inventories of bilingual children; and in CRL, has collected data on 50 additional subjects which will be used for ongoing collaborations with Jessica in the area of bilingual phonological acquisition.
Leah, Jessica, and Leah's former mentor at Temple University, Brian Goldstein, have recently collaborated on a new study examining the dialect features of bilingual Puerto-Rican Spanish and English-speaking biligual children and comparing them to their monolingual Spanish-speaking peers, hoping to inform theories of bilingual phonological acquisition.
Leah is grateful for having had the opportunity to be involved with CRL; she feels her time spent in CRL has enriched her diversity of methodology and her theoretical approaches to bilingual phonological acquisition and disorders; and she will continue to use the knowledge gained here in her future faculty position. We at CRL will miss her, and we wish her well.
Congratulations to Tim Beyer who has accepted an appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the Univerity of Puget Sound, a private liberal arts college located in the North End of Tacoma, Washington.
Tim came to CRL to expand his methodological repertoire to include ERP, so that he could better investigate temporal aspects of language processing. In CRL, he learned the basics of ERP experimental design and analysis from one of the world's best: Marta Kutas. His research here looked at the effect of pauses/commas on sentence processing.
Tim's past research has focused on African American English, and his research goal is to understand how language minorities process Standard American English
--- the language of the classroom and the language of standardized tests --- in order to inform how best to teach Standard American English to these students. An excellent goal; kudos Tim. Thus he applied to UPS --- i.e, Puget Sound --- which is situated in an ethnically diverse community. At UPS, he will teach and pursue this line of research within the Center for Race and Pedagogy.
Tim has enjoyed the diverse CRL research community, the talk series that brings them together, the resource-rich evironment, and the willingness of people to undertake collaborative research, among many other things. CRL has enjoyed having him here, and we wish him all the best at UPS.
Congratulations to Liane Wardlow Lane who has accepted a position at the Institute for Education Sciences in Washington DC.
Liane worked with Victor Ferreira in Psychology. She defended her dissertation "Not Saying What's on Your Mind: How Speakers Avoid Grounding References in Privileged Information" in May of last year.
All the best in DC. Yes you can.
Double congratulations to Hannah Rohde! Hannah defended her Ph.D. dissertation in June. Her dissertation was entitled "Coherence-Driven Effects in Sentence & Discourse Processing." Her research focused on how comprehenders generate expectations about where a discourse is going and how they use those expectations as they process sentence-internal phenomena like pronoun interpretation and the resolution of syntactic ambiguity.
Hannah has also been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She will take up her Mellon fellowship in the fall at Northwestern University in Chicago, where she hopes to find an interdisciplinary and collaborative community like the one she has enjoyed through CRL.
CRL wishes you a warm reception at Northwestern.
Congratulations to Shannon Austermann Hula who defended her Ph.D. dissertation in May. Her dissertation was entitled "The Role of Feedback in Speech Motor Learning: Insights from Healthy Speakers and Applications to the Treatment of Apraxia of Speech." Shannon has taken a job as a Post-Doctoral Clinical Reserach Scientist with the Veteran's Research Foundation of Pittsburgh. Best of luck in the pitt.
Congratulations to Jenny Staab who defended her Ph.D. dissertation in December. Her dissertation was entitled "Negation in Context: Electrophysiological and Behavioral Investigations of Negation Effects in Discourse Processing."
The CRL training grant, "Language, Communication and the Brain," has been renewed for five more years! The training grant, which is funded by NIDCD, provides research fellowships for 6 graduates and 2 postdoctoral researchers. Thank you NIDCD.
New Researchers at CRL
Arielle Borovsky will be returning to the CRL as a post-doctoral fellow in June.
Arielle defended her Ph.D. dissertation last year. Her dissertation was entitled "Word learning in context: The role of lifetime language experience and sentential context." Those in the know said that it was beautifully investigated from a computational, behavioral, hemispheric, and electrophysiological perspective.
Amy L. Hubbard began a post-doctoral position with the CRL this past quarter. Amy recently completed her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from UCLA, where her thesis was entitled "fMRI investigation of beat gesture and speech integration in adult native English speakers, Japanese ESL speakers, typically-developing children, and children with autism spectrum disorder". Welcome to the CRL, Amy!
CRL welcomes Yulei Ma. Yulei will be a visiting scholar with CRL until August.
Yulei comes to us from the College of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China. She teaches English language and culture to graduate and undergraduate students of non-English majors and linguistic courses to granduate English major students. Her research fields include cognitive linguistics, metaphor and analogy studies, psycholinguitics, discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics,intercultural communication etc. Her present interests are using ERP to explore cognition and language processing, functional and cognitive approach to both Chinese and English discourse analysis, etc. She will be working with Marta Kutas.
CRL welcomes Sarah Creel. Sarah is a new professor in Cognitive Science at UCSD. She uses a variety of methodologies to explore how children and adults learn and process complex acoustic information, especially words, and also other types of temporally-patterned stimuli such as music. For instance, she has begun studying how the speech signal is interpreted moment-by-moment (on-line) by examining participantsâ€™ eye movements to objects as a word elapses over time.
CRL welcomes Philip Hofmeister. Philip comes to us from the linguistics department at Stanford. He has accepted a post-doctoral position in CRL starting in January. He'll be doing ERP research with Marta Kutas and Robert Kluender.
CRL welcomes Erica Ellis to the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders. Erica is studying word learning and the range of implicit learning abilities in young children, investigating factors such as exposure and parental influence.
CRL welcomes Roberto Gutierrez to the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders. Roberto is studying the effects of L1 phonotactic constraints on second language sentence processing.
CRL welcomes Amy Pace to the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders. Amy is studying how pragmatic and linguistic cues assist 2-year-olds in segmenting dynamic human action and attaching a novel label to a target action.
CRL welcomes Lara Polse to the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders. Lara is using Event Related Potentials (ERPs) to investigate the nature of language processing in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI).
CRL welcomes Jonathan Udoff to the UCSD/SDSU Joint Doctoral Program in Language and Communicative Disorders. Jonathan's research focuses on the psycholinguistics of sign languages and of bilingualism. He is particularly interested in how bimodal bilingualism differs from mono-modal bilingualism. In addition to ASL, Jonathan speaks Spanish and Catalan.
Language-related Conferences 2009