Events / ILST Seminar: Monica Do

ILST Seminar: Monica Do

September 24, 2018
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM

3401 Walnut Street, Room 401B, 3401 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Integrated Language Science and Technology Seminar

Monday, September 24

1:30pm – 3:30pm

3401 Walnut Street, Room 401B


Monica Do – University of Pennsylvania


How to Think Before You Speak: Getting from Abstract Thoughts to Sentences


In order to produce a sentence, speakers have to go from an abstract, unordered message to a highly structured linguistic representation. This transition from abstract thought to language is known as linguistic encoding. To shed some light on the process of linguistic encoding, I present four visual-world eye-tracking studies, which investigate how constraints stemming from linear, syntactic, and semantic structures in language interact and guide the way that messages are encoded. Taken together, my work shows that syntactic structure is privileged over linear structure, but both syntactic and semantic structure collaboratively inform the process of linguistic encoding. Specifically, I suggest that the primary task of the language production system at the point of linguistic encoding, is to align conceptual prominence with linguistic prominence. And, though what precisely constitutes ‘prominence’ is still difficult to define, this work offers a model for how the language processing system handles ‘prominence’ within and across different levels of representation in cognition and language.