The Berman Lab: Language Acquisition and Development, Prof. (Emerita)   Ruth Berman

Research topic: Language acquisition and development from early childhood across adolescence.

Research methods: Analysis of a computerized database that includes longitudinal and cross-sectional recordings of toddlers and preschool children in interaction with adults and an extensive databases of narrative and expository texts elicited in both speech and writing. The lab takes a functional approach, identifying relations between linguistic forms and discourse functions in a range of discourse genres. The lab focuses on Hebrew as a native language in cross-linguistic perspective.

Research projects: (1) The development of complex syntax, focusing on clause-combining in the sense of interclausal connectivity in different discourse genres, both interactive conversation and extended texts. Analyses are based on an innovative system for coding of clause types and categories in relation to the functions they perform in different types of discourse. (2) Comparison of the writing ability of adolescents with normal language development compared with their language/learning impaired peers; (3) Analysis of the factor of “word length” in Hebrew and English, based on a corresponding sample of authentic texts, in developmental and typological perspective.

Telephone: 972-3-6405019
E-mail: mail
Phonological Computation Lab, Dr. Ezer Rasin
Our goal is to uncover the cognitive architecture of phonology, the component of the human mind that puts together linguistic sound representations. We integrate methods from theoretical linguistics and computer science by reverse-engineering the sound systems of individual natural languages, searching for abstract universal generalizations that hold across languages, and constructing machine-learning algorithms that simulate human phonological acquisition.
Homepage:  home
Theoretical and Experimental Syntax, Prof. Tal Siloni
Our object of research is the Faculty of Language, the structures and syntactic principles underlying it, and the variation it permits. The aim is to contribute to the crystallization of a theoretical model of the human linguistic knowledge. Our empirical basis includes Semitic languages, Romance languages among others, including different registers as well as language change. We investigate topics such as argument structure, the lexicon-syntax interface, idioms, and the so-called Garden Path processing phenomenon. The research is intralinguistic, crosslinguistic, theoretical and experimental depending on the topic of research. 
Computational Linguistics Lab, Prof. Roni Katzir

Research Topic: Computational methods are used to investigate human language acquisition. Researchers in the lab seek to offer a perspective on learning and learnability that is informed by work in theoretical linguistics, cognitive psychology, and computer science. The lab’s overarching research project is the creation of a fully general model of language acquisition that will allow divergent representations of grammar proposed in the linguistic literature to be evaluated and compared on a computationally and cognitively sound basis.

Research Methods: Computer simulation of grammar induction tasks; Minimum Description Length (MDL); Markov-Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods.

Research Projects: (1) Comparison of grammatical systems based on the MDL learners they induce; (2) Induction of lexicon and phonological constraints in Optimality Theory; (3) Induction of phonological rule systems and acquisition of rule interactions.

Telephone: 972-3-6405018
E-mail: mail
Homepage:  home
Sentence processing lab, Prof. Aya Meltzer-Asscher
Research in the lab focuses on the cognitive mechanisms enabling humans to understand language in real time. We investigate questions such as: How do comprehenders create dependencies between distant elements, within a sentence and across sentences? How do they use lexical and structural prediction to anticipate upcoming input? And how can we characterize the working memory mechanisms underlying sentence comprehension?
Telephone:  972-3-6405024
E-mail: mail
Homepage:  home
Cognition and Language Learning (CaLL) lab, Prof. Einat Shetreet
Research in our lab concerns the processes involved in language learning and language comprehension, and in their relations to other cognitive functions, such as memory or attention. Our work focuses mainly on pragmatic aspects of language and on the comprehension of intended meaning in preschool children. We ask when children start to understand intended meaning and figurative language, what cues facilitate their comprehension, or whether the development of social cognition like Theory of Mind contribute to pragmatic processing. We employ a variety of linguistic and cognitive tasks that are specifically tailored to young children in a welcoming environment in the facilities of the CaLL lab.
Language in (Social) Context lab, Prof. Einat Shetreet
Research in our lab concerns language processing in context with emphasis on social aspects of interlocutors or the situation itself. In our studies, we examine what can be learned about a speaker based on their language use, how the social group of the speaker (e.g., gender, ethnicity or age) affects comprehension, how social contexts (e.g., a context that facilitates politeness) affect our interpretation, or how the perception of a narrative’s veracity will affect its interpretation. Our participants range from neurotypical speakers, through speakers diagnosed depression, to speakers with ASD. We use both behavioral experimental methods (such as judgment tasks, elicitation, implicit learning) and neurocognitive techniques (ERP, fMRI).
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