Abstract - Kember, Mulak, Tuninetti

Course: Processing typology and 'typologizing' processing

Instructor: Heather Kember, Karen Mulak & Alba Tuninetti

How do we understand our native language and process other languages? Does that differ depending on the language that we speak and the language that we’re listening to? Processing researchers attempt to answer this question, despite the huge variation that occurs across the world’s languages. In this course we will give an overview of current research on language processing, and how it differs depending on the native language of a person and the language s/he is trying to process. We will also explain different methods that are used in this type of research and what the outcomes reveal about language processing (e.g. what do reaction times or eye movements tell you about processing), and then provide time for students to implement this knowledge to designing a study asking a question about processing in their language of interest.


Heather Kember Karen Mulak Alba Tuninetti

Schedule of topics

Prerequisites and expected knowledge:  We expect attendees to have general linguistics knowledge, but nothing more than that is needed. Knowledge of another language or language structure is a bonus.

Monday November 27th: What is universal across languages in processing?

In this session we will discuss what we know of how processing occurs across languages with different structures, and whether there is anything that is language universal. We will provide examples of studies that have tested across multiple languages in order to address this question.

Tuesday November 28th: Testing the questions that you have

In this session we will focus more on the methodology side of things. Given your research question, how do you go about testing it? What is the most appropriate method, and what do the results mean when you get them?

Thursday November 30th: Designing a study using students’ research questions

Prior to summer school, we will ask students to submit ideas for research questions based upon languages they are working with. In this session we will take 1-2 of those questions and design a study as a group.

Friday December 1st: Students individually (or in small groups) designing their own studies

In this final session students will be able to work independently or in small groups to design their own study that addresses a processing question in a language of interest. Instructors will be on hand to offer advice and guidance.

To get the most out of this course it would be ideal if students attended all sessions. In order to attend the final two more hands on sessions, we would expect students to have attended at least one of the earlier sessions, but students can attend either sessions 1 or 2 without any knowledge of the others.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University

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