PhD Projects

Sigríður Björnsdóttir

Working title: Grammatical gender in Icelandic and Norwegian: a view from learnability and diachrony
Supervisors: Marit Westergaard, Terje Lohndal
Brief description: The goal of this project is to investigate how regularization processes rooted in language acquisition may account for how gender systems may change over time, using Icelandic and Norwegian as case studies. These are two languages that originated from a common source, Old Norse, yet have over time developed differently with respect to grammatical gender. Icelandic has retained a 3-gender system from Old Norse that distinguishes between Masculine, Feminine and Neuter. Many dialects of Norwegian, however, have developed a 2-gender system that distinguishes between Common gender and Neuter. This project seeks to answer how the seemingly systematic changes to grammatical gender in Norwegian dialects have taken  place by accounting for the learning mechanisms that are responsible for grammatical gender acquisition.​​

Kristin Klubbo Brodahl

Working title: The syntax and semantics of German participle constructions
Supervisors: Inghild Flaate Høyem, Terje Lohndal
Brief description: With their clause-like and yet underspecified structure and meaning, adjuncts headed by a participle constitute an interesting linguistic phenomenon. The project aims to develop an analysis of the syntax and semantics of German participle constructions in comparison with equivalent constructions in English

Nicole Busby

Working title: Studying in a second language: How does the use of English language teaching resources in Norwegian universities affect students?
Supervisors: Anne Dahl, Glenn Ole Hellekjær
Brief description: The project aims to investigate the challenges and coping strategies associated with studying in a second language. This involves looking at reading strategies, vocabulary knowledge and reading speed among Norwegian university students in order to learn more about how they read academic English texts.

Ragnhild Eik

Working title: The morphosyntax of compounding in Norwegian.
Supervisors: Terje Lohndal, Tor A. Åfarli
Brief description: This project investigates morphosyntactic properties of Norwegian compounds, such as tekopp ‘tea cup’, leseglad ‘read glad’ i.e. fond of reading, and mjølkedrikking ‘milk drinking’. The aim is to provide detailed descriptions and formal analyses of Norwegian compounds within a syntactic approach to word-formation.

Linda Evenstad Emilsen

Working title: Gender in Norwegian L2
Supervisors: Kristin Melum Eide, Gisela Håkansson
Brief description: The Norwegian gender system is subject to a great deal of variation both across different spoken and written varieties, and recent studies also show that the system seems to be changing. This means that L2 speakers of Norwegian (may) meet a lot of variation in their input. The aim of this project is to investigate how L2 speakers acquire this moving target.

Anna Giskes

Working Title: Parsing mechanisms for antecedent retrieval during on-line sentence processing
Supervisors: Dave Kush
Brief description: This project investigates whether, and to what extent, non-syntactic cues are utilized during the very first parsing of linguistic input in real-time. More specifically, it aims at researching the mechanisms that find and retrieve the antecedents for anaphora from memory during on-line sentence processing.

Eirik Hvidsten

Working Title: The syntax and semantics of en-cliticization in French
Supervisors: Hans Petter Helland, Terje Lohndal, Nelly Foucher Stenkløv
Brief description: The overarching theme of my project is the syntax-semantics interface and the theory of clitics, dealing more specifically with en-cliticization in French. In this regard, I deal with two main topics: The first one is the analysis of the underlying structures that en represents, and the second is that of the clitic placement of en in the clause.

Isabel N. Jensen

Working title: Transfer in adult third-language acquisition
Supervisors: Marit Westergaard, Roumyana Slabakova
Brief description: This project investigates how previously acquired linguistic systems affect the development of new linguistic representations in third language (L3) acquisition. Transfer of morphosyntactic properties from the first and second languages is well-documented in the relatively new field of generative L3 acquisition research. However, the sources of transfer are highly debated and there is currently no consensus about how transfer happens in L3 acquisition. The possible models are the following: the systems of the L1 or the L2 can be copied in their entirety (wholesale transfer), or both languages can be active in the minds of the speakers (property-by-property transfer). The purpose of the current study is to contribute to this discussion by investigating morphosyntactic transfer in adult third-language acquisition.

Tina Louise Ringstad

Working title: First language acquisition of embedded word order in Norwegian
Supervisors: Kristin Melum Eide, Dave Kush, Marit Westergaard
Brief description: Norwegian children struggle with the acquisition of certain embedded word orders. The aim of this project is to attain information about what it is about these word orders that make them so inaccessible, and further what `cues’ children use to reach the target like production.

Bror Magnus Strand

Working title: Structure and development of the Norwegian Roleplaying Register in Norwegian Preschoolers
Supervisors: Merete Anderssen Øystein Vangsnes 
Brief description:Norwegian children outside the capital dialect area are known to use something resembling the capital dialect when engaging in roleplay. The aim of this project is to assess Norwegian children’s acquisition and attainment of this register.

Anne Mette Sunde

Working title: Lexicon and structure. The role of English influence on Norwegian.
Supervisors: Kristin Melum Eide, Brit Kirsten Mæhlum, Ivar Berg
Brief description: The topic of my research project is English influence on Norwegian. More specifically, I investigate indirect borrowings – such as calques and semantic loans (e.g. stå ut from Eng. ‘stand out’ and stresse et problem from Eng. ‘stress a problem’) – as well as potential structural influence (e.g. jeg vet [hva å gjøre] from Eng. ‘I know [what to do]’). A fundamental assumption is that increased indirect and structural borrowing is a sign of increased English proficiency among (young) Norwegians. A central goal is to investigate and document if and how heightened proficiency in and exposure to the English language affect the Norwegian language.

Kate Zhakun

Working title: Sonority distance in complex onsets: sonority plateau and sonority reversal.
Supervisors: Martin Krämer, Draga Zec
Brief description: The sequencing of segments within a syllable is driven by a number of sonority principles: the Sonority Sequencing Principle (SSP), the Minimum Sonority Distance (MSD), and the Sonority Dispersion Principle (SDP). However, some languages tolerate violations of the mentioned principles. The current project representing a typological analysis of complex onsets that violate the sonority principles aims to find out the driving force of the sonority plateau and sonority reversal.