AUP students by the Seine.

Teaching and Learning Center

Seminar in Language and Psychology

University Room: David T. McGovern Grand Salon (C-104)
Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 15:30 to 17:00

The Teaching and Learning Center invites AUP faculty and students to a seminar in Language and Psychology. 

Usage-based approaches to language learning hold that we learn constructions (form-function mappings, conventionalized in a speech community) from language usage by means of general cognitive mechanisms (exemplar-based, rational, associative learning). 

  1. Usage. The usage of English verb-argument constructions (VACs) is investigated in large corpora in terms of grammatical form, semantics, lexical constituency, and distribution patterns. 
  2. Usage in Mind: native language knowledge. VAC processing is sensitive to statistical patterns of usage. VAC processing involves rich associations, tuned by verb type and token frequencies and their contingencies of usage, which interface syntax, lexis, and semantics.
  3. Usage in Mind: L2 knowledge. German, Spanish, and Czech advanced learners of English showed the same effects as native speakers of English, although analyses of frequencies of production showed both first and second language effects.
  4. Usage in Learning: Language acquisition. Analysis of the distribution of VACs in English child-directed speech and in non-native speech directed to adult language learners (in a variety of first and second language combinations) showed VACs to be selective. 
  5. Taken together, results suggest that language acquisition follows the leads of usage.