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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Chi-Lin Shih
  • (217) 333-7034
  • Yan Sun
  • Jeffrey J Green
Award Date:07/07/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 16,776
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 16,776
  • FY 2020=$16,776
Start Date:08/01/2020
End Date:07/31/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Doctoral Dissertation Research: Phonological Prediction in Spoken Language Processing
Federal Award ID Number:2017696
DUNS ID:041544081
Parent DUNS ID:041544081
Program:DDRI Linguistics
Program Officer:
  • Joan Maling
  • (703) 292-8046

Awardee Location

Street:1901 South First Street
Awardee Cong. District:13

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Street:1901 South First Street
Cong. District:13

Abstract at Time of Award

Speech unfolds rapidly in time, yet native speakers’ comprehension is generally accurate and efficient. Previous research suggests that one reason why language processing seems to be so effortless and robust is that language users can use context to predict upcoming language input. It is generally agreed that semantic and morpho-syntactic features of a highly expected word can be pre-activated in such predictive language processing. However, there is an ongoing debate about whether the phonological form of a predictable word can also be routinely pre-activated in real-time sentence processing. This project addresses this debate by exploiting the phenomena of anticipatory tonal variations. The results of this study will advance our knowledge on the role of anticipatory tonal variations in spoken-word recognition and speech processing, and on phonological form pre-activation in predictive language processing. This will in turn inform our understanding of the cognitive process in language perception. This project first examines how anticipatory tonal variation cues can facilitate tonal prediction of an upcoming word in speech perception using eye-tracking technique. Then, the study will examine whether listeners can pre-activate the tonal form of a predictable word by measuring their brain responses to the preceding word using electroencephalography (EEG) technique. Crucially, the expected word in some experimental conditions will be substituted by an unexpected one that shares or does not share the tonal form with the expected word, so the anticipatory tonal variation cues in the preceding word is either concordant or incompatible with the tone of the expected word. The guiding hypothesis is that if the tonal form of the expected word can be pre-activated, there should be larger amplitude modulation of event-related potentials (ERPs) to the preceding word when the unexpected word and the predicted word differ in tone; however, if there is little or no phonological form pre-activation, there should be little or no ERP amplitude modulation prior to encountering the unexpected word This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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