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Department of Comparative Language Science

Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Processing and Learning 2nd - 3rd September 2024 | X-PPL 2024

The Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Processing and Learning Workshop (X-PPL) brings together the growing community of researchers working to expand the diversity of languages in the scope of  experimental or corpus research on adults or language acquisition. This research is driven by the recognition that structural / typological and socio-cultural diversity represents different opportunities  to see processing and learning mechanisms at work.  The bulk of processing and acquisition research represents only a small fraction of linguistic diversity, and this risks skewing both our theories and  research questions.
The Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Processing and Learning Workshop (X-PPL) aims to fill this gap and provide a platform for cross-linguistic research on language processing and learning. X-PPL 2024 will take place on September 2-3, 2024



Register here  for conference participation, conference attendance, and/or the conference dinner.


X-PPL 2024 will be held with on-site presentations in Oerlikon, Zurich in the building AFL (Affolternstrasse 56, 8050 Zurich), in room AFL-F-121 (view on Google Maps).

Conference Dinner on day 1 – September 2nd, 2024, at Moudi's Lecker Garten, Winterthurerstrasse 86, 8006 Zurich (tram stop Letzistrasse).

Drinks at the end of day 2 – September 3rd, 2024, at Zum Frischen Max, right next to the Oerlikon train station and the AFL building.


There is no dedicated conference hotel for X-PPL because the event will take place at the University of Zurich’s Oerlikon campus in the building AFL (Affolternstrasse 56, 8050 Zurich).

The venue is easy to reach by public transport. We advise you to choose an accommodation that allows you to access the AFL building from the nearby train station (Bahnhof Oerlikon), tram stop (Bahnhof Oerlikon Ost, tram number 10/14 or Bahnhof Oerlikon, tram number 11) or bus stop (Bahnhof Oerlikon Nord, bus number 80). The train station, tram and bus stops can be easily reached from Zurich main station (Zürich HB) as well as the other train stations within Zurich.


If you have any questions, please contact us.


Samar Husain (Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi)
Investigating the Three Ps of Processing in SOV Languages: Prediction, Priming and Production

A key aim of psycholinguistics is to uncover the nature of linguistic representations and processes that subserve comprehension and production across typologically distinct languages. Do typologically distinct languages (e.g., SOV vs SVO languages) employ different processing strategies? Can certain processing strategies or constraints be deemed universal that hold across languages? In this talk I weigh in on these questions by presenting new data on various aspects of processing in an SOV language Hindi.
From a comprehension perspective, I will present data on syntactic prediction and syntactic
priming. From a production perspective, I will present data on word order choices. The results highlight processing tendencies that can be understood as adaptations driven by the typology of the language — (a) there is robust prediction of the clause final verb during sentence comprehension, (b) syntactic priming during comprehension is constrained by parser behaviour, (c) there is a tendency for formulating a long-before-short word order during sentence production.
Interestingly, the results also provide evidence that these processes are influenced by working-memory constraints that can be deemed universal — (a) robust prediction of the clause final verb during sentence comprehension decreases when the preverbal linguistic complexity increases, (b) syntactic priming fails when the prime is relatively more complex while the target can be parsed using a simpler syntactic structure, (c) in addition to a long-before-short word order, a significant amount of short-before-long word order is also visible during sentence production.
Together, these results shed new light on processing of SOV languages. The results highlight how processing strategies are shaped by both typologically-driven features as well as by universal cognitive constraints.

Alex Cristia (Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, Paris Sciences Lettres University)
Voices Unbound: Long-Form Recordings to Study the Development of Speech Behavior in the Wild

Traditional laboratory experiments have significantly advanced our understanding of speech and language use, but a reliance on controlled environments limits our ability to ensure observations generalize to real-world communication. In this talk, I summarize some recent work on young children's speech development to introduce a novel approach that leverages long-form recordings from real-world interactions and machine learning to uncover the dynamics of speech behavior as it naturally occurs. For instance, in a 13-author collaborative study, we analyzed over 40,000 hours of audio from 1,001 children across 12 countries, revealing maturation and speech exposure as more important predictors of infants' speech development than gender and socioeconomic status. Furthermore, we use state-of-the-art self-supervised learning models to argue that tailored biases are needed to face the rich variability of naturalistic audio. This talk aims to foster an interdisciplinary exchange on leveraging wearable technology to study language and communication, highlighting both the breakthroughs and the hurdles of venturing beyond the lab.


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