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An overview of externally funded projects at CASTLFish. 

ExSynOp: Experimental approaches to Syntactic Optionality 

The project investigates the different dimensions of micro-variation in the word order possibilities for in the Mainland Scandinavian languages. This empirical ground offers a unique opportunity for understanding the factors that underlie rigidity and optionality in grammars: Only by studying the processing and acquisition of variable rules, we may estimate the possible benefits of categorical rules.

The project employs a novel experimental paradigm for eliciting variable data and combines it with recent developments in language technology allowing for automatic sound-text alignment and acoustic analysis of the Scandinavian languages. The data collected will be used to answer the following four questions:

(I) Are there processing benefits (or costs) associated with categorical rules? (The psycholinguistic perspective)
(II) Is the word order variation a product of the interaction with higher ranked constraints on prosodic well-formedness? (The interface perspective)
(III) Is the variation within speakers conditioned by register/dialect? (The sociolinguistic perspective)
(IV) Is the L1 language learner disposed to categorical rules, or do categorical tendencies develop later? (The acquistionist perspective)

The project will bring new insights to one of the most debated issues in linguistics: To what extent is the grammar of individual languages shaped by the language use of the adults, as conditioned by both language processing or conscious or subconscious choices of register/style in a given contexts, and to which extent is the it shaped by learning preferences by the L1 language learner, either as stated in terms of general preferences for deterministic meaning-form mapping , or limits on memory and language processing?

Time period: 2020-2023
Funding: Research Council of Norway
Members: Björn Lundquist (PI), Eline Visser, Jade Jørgen Sandstedt, Paulina Lyskawa

Collaborators: Jennifer Culbertson (U of Edinburgh) , Meredith Tamminga (UPenn), Gillian Ramchand (UIT), Nathan Young (Stockholm U), Sverre Stausland Johnsen (UiO), Anders Nøklestad (UiO)


The MultiLit project explores several aspects of the Norwegian language situation with a comparative eye to the Frisian language situation in Fryslân. The main objective of the project is to investigate the contribution of diverse language internal literacy skills to academic achievement. The project highlights the acquisition of the two written Norwegian standards and the widespread practice of writing “in dialect” among Norwegian children and adolescents. The comparison with Frisian is interesting since  Frisian is less institutionalised than Nynorsk, the lesser used Norwegian language.
The project will be based in the research group on Reading, Writing and Language Development at the Sogndal campus of Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and led by professor Øystein A. Vangsnes. It includes both national partners from different Norwegian institutions and international partners from various Dutch institutions.
Different working packages will investigate:
– Language separation in multilectal and monolectal adolescents (Lundquist)
– Written norms among multilectal and monolectal adolescents (Røyneland)
– Early standard language stimulation in multilectal and monolectal contexts (Bjørhusdal), and
– Developmental effects in multilectal and monolectal adolescents (Söderlund)
Time period: August 2020-2024
Funding: Research Council of Norway

PATH: Preservation and Adaptation in Turkish as Heritage Language

PATH examines the degree to which cognitive and external factors play a role in variation and change in Turkish as a heritage language. In order to do so, it closely examines a variety of morpho-phonological, lexical and syntactic properties of a micro-dialect of Turkish as spoken by a community in Drunen, a small town in the North Brabant province of the Netherlands. 

Time period: 2019-2021
Funding: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
PI: Deniz Tat


Modal Concepts and Compositionality: New Directions in Experimental Semantics

The project is an innovative approach to exploring the meaning of natural language as manifested in cognition. It intends to build up a framework for the semantic composition of modal meaning that goes beyond the description of sentential truth conditions, aiming in addition to distinguish competing semantic descriptions on the basis of psychological evidence.

Full project description here

Project page here

Time period: 2018-2021
Funding: Research Council of Norway FRIPRO grant
Members: Gillian Ramchand, Sergey Minor, Myrte Vos


SALT: Syllable Structure: Acquisition, Loss, Typology 

The project intends to investigate the role of sonority, the sonority hierarchy and the sonority sequencing principle in the internal organization of syllables. 

We aim to investigate these theoretical issues and  develop a theory with a better empirical foundation. Furthermore, we intend to create a database of the syllable phonotactics of 500 languages and to conduct research on children acquiring a language with complex syllable structure and a large consonant inventory as well as on subjects who lost competence in such a language to some degree, as in aphasia.  The results as well as the data to be obtained in this project will be made publicly available to further scientific discussion of methodologies and development of theoretical models.
The results of this project will have practical repercussions for the wider population in the development of new diagnostic tests and therapies for language impairment based on the collected data and the theoretical insights gained in this project.

Time period: 2017-2020
Funding: Research Council of Norway FRIPRO grant
Members: Martin Krämer (UIT), Olga Urek (UIT), Kate Zhakun (UIT),  Janet Grijzenhout (Leiden), Draga Zec (Cornell)





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