Morphological complexity: Typology as a tool for delineating cognitive organization

Workshop on Morphological Complexity: Implications for Psycholinguistics

The workshop 'Morphological Complexity: Implications for Psycholinguistics' was held on 28 January 2011, at the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen, and was co-hosted by the Institute. Guest speakers were Mirjam Ernestus (MPI Nijmegen and Radboud University) and Alice Harris (University of Massachussetts, Amherst). Organizers were Matthew Baerman, Greville Corbett and Dunstan Brown (Surrey Morphology Group, University of Surrey).


By the term 'morphological complexity', we understand the extra layer of structure that morphological systems may introduce in between meaning and its expression, such as inflection classes or stem alternations. This layer may operate at cross-purposes to functional distinctions, attaining in some languages an astonishing degree of complexity. Such phenomena are a key resource for understanding mental processes as they represent an unconscious and yet highly structured autonomous system. This workshop focuses on the relationship between morphological complexity and psycholinguistics: How does the mind cope with apparently gratuitous morphological elaboration?


28 January 2011

09.30 - 10.00 Stephen Levinson (MPI Nijmegen) & Matthew Baerman, Greville G. Corbett & Dunstan Brown (Surrey Morphology Group), 'Introduction'
10.00 - 11.00 Mirjam Ernestus (MPI Nijmegen & Radboud University), 'How morphological complexity resulting from phonology affects speech processing'
11.00 - 11.30 Break
11.30 - 12.10 Andreas Opitz (University of Leipzig), Stefanie Regel (MPI Leipzig), Gereon Müller (University of Leipzig) & Angela Friederici (MPI Leipzig), 'The processing of morphological features. ERP Evidence for underspecification'
12.10 - 12.50 Basilio Calderone (Modyco, CNRS & Université de Paris Ouest la Défense) & Fabio Montermini (CLLE-ERSS, CNRS & Université de Toulouse) [cancelled], 'Modelling paradigm spaces'
12.50 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.00 Alice Harris (University of Massachussetts, Amherst), 'Multiple exponence in Batsbi: Psycholinguistic fieldwork on an endangered language'
15.00 - 15.40 João Veríssimo (University of Lisbon) & Harald Clahsen (University of Essex), 'Generalisation of inflectional classes in Portuguese'
15.40 - 16.10 Break
16.10 - 16.50 Grzegorz Krajewski (University of Manchester),'Children's early knowledge of Polish noun inflections'
16.50 - 17.30 Sabine Laaha & Wolfgang Dressler (Austrian Academy of Sciences),'Acquiring the complexity of German Noun Plural Formation'

Project members

Prof Greville G. Corbett
Dr Matthew Baerman
Prof Dunstan Brown (University of York)
Dr Scott Collier
Dr Maris Camilleri

Period of award:

February 2009 - January 2015


European Research Council (ERC)