Drake, S. (2018). The form and productivity of the Maltese morphological diminutive. Morphology, 28(3), 297-323. doi:10.1007/s11525-018-9328-0 Presented at the 90th Meeting of the Linguistics Society of America, 10 Jan 2016 [slides] Presented at the 5th International Conference on Maltese Linguistics, 25 June 2015
Maltese is an especially interesting language morphologically speaking because its lexicon is split between Semitic words and Indo-European words, both of which take their respective morphological structures. I used a wug task to find out whether native Maltese speakers use a morphological diminutive (like 'wuglet') or a lexical diminutive (like 'little wug') when encountering novel words. I also used this task to find out whether native speakers would use Semitic morphology when encountering a novel word that sounded Semitic, and Indo-European morphology when encountering a novel word that sounded Indo-European.
Cascaded semantic activation
Bell, D., Forster, K., & Drake, S. (2015). Early Semantic Activation in a Semantic Categorization Task with Masked Primes: Cascaded or not? Journal of Memory and Language, 85, 1-14. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2015.06.007
If activation is cascaded, the assumption is that semantic properties of the input word are linked to other words in the lexicon; thus, semantically related words should show a congruence effect in a categorization task with a masked prime. Over several experiments, we show that semantic activation is typically not cascaded, and the categorization task alters how the masked prime is processed.
L1 biases in learning root-and-pattern morphology
Dissertation research, funded by a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation and internal grants from the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute and the Graduate and Professional Student Council (UA).
Dissertation[pdf] Public Dissertation Defense [slides] Presented at the 31st CUNY Sentence Processing Conference, 7 Mar 2018 [poster] Preliminary Maltese results discussed at UoM's Linguistics Circle, 19 Oct 2017 [slides] Presented at the Morphological Typology and Linguistic Cognition workshop, 22 July 2017 [semi-interactive poster] Presented at the Roots V workshop, 17 June 2017 [poster] Presented at Mental Lexicon 2016, 20 Oct 2016 [poster]
Learning root-and-pattern morphology involves tracking non-adjacent dependencies: In words ABCD and AHCF, A predicts the presence of C, but doesn't predict the presence of the second element in the string. Previous work shows that artificial grammars mimicking root-and-pattern morphology and vowel harmony are quite difficult for adults to learn. However, previous research also shows that when an artificial grammar has elements of a speaker's native language (such as vowel harmony), those speakers are better able to learn the artificial grammar with analogous structures. My research looks at this in root-and-pattern morphology across native English speakers, native Arabic speakers, and native Maltese speakers.
Manuscripts in preparation
Language and Social Issues: An Introductory Toolkit With Drs. Mary-Caitlyn Valentinsson (Appalachian State University) and Amy V. Fountain (University of Arizona) Under contract at Cambridge University Press.
An introductory textbook aimed at undergraduates taking their first sociolinguistics course, or their first linguistics course at all. Chapters include a "toolkit" of linguistic analysis techniques, discussions of codeswitching, language policy and planning, and more, with a broad focus on languages across the globe.
Errors in learning root-and-pattern morphology with Wug Tests
Production tasks in an artificial grammar demonstrate that error patterns in morphology differ based on native language. In my research, I suggest that L1 transfer to an L2 (or Ln) starts after a very short learning period and differs subtly even among closely related languages with productive root-and-pattern morphological systems.
Psycholinguistic theories of the lexicon vs Distributed Morphology
Psycholinguistic theories of the structure of the mental lexicon may be more compatible with the framework of Distributed Morphology than at first glance. If the two frameworks are married, there is further potential for theoretical linguistics and psycholinguistics to continue to inform each other to create more accurate theories with greater explanatory ability. Current work explores Distributed Morphology in light of morphological impairments and in the order of acquisition of morphosyntactic features.
Maltese broken plurals
With Dr. Rebecca Sharp (University of Arizona) Presented at the 6th International Conference of Maltese Linguistics, 8 June 2017. [slides] Manuscript in preparation.
Like Arabic, Maltese has a system of both sound (regular) and broken (irregular) plurals. We are building a parser that will predict the form of a broken plural using real and nonsense words, and those intuitions will be tested via acceptability ratings and a wug test with native Maltese speakers.
The relationship between working memory and L2 sentence processing
With Dr. Essa Batel (King Khaled University)
We are investigating how measures of working memory correlate with auditory sentence processing in L1 Arabic/L2 English speakers using a self-paced listening task.
Effects of bilingualism on morphological variation in Maltese
Forthcoming in Coyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics, conference proceedings for Arizona Linguistics Circle. [lingbuzz] Presented at Arizona Linguistics Circle 10, 4 Dec 2016 [slides]
It is well known that bilingualism affects various types of metalinguistic knowledge. Further, dominance in a particular language can affect how morphological and syntactic structures are used in a language. I investigate this in Maltese, where individuals are bilingual in both Maltese and English, but are dominant users of one of those languages.
Lily words: Morphophonological dissimilation in English
With Dr. Lauren Ackerman (Newcastle University) Presented at the 32nd Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, Mar 2019 [poster] Presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Society of America, 5 Jan 2018 [poster][proceedings paper]
We are studying under what conditions the adjectival and adverbial -ly suffixes next to one another are acceptable (e.g., jollily vs. smellily vs. lovelily), using sentence acceptability judgments and lexical decision tasks.
Conversational bilingual speech
With many members and affiliates of the Douglass Phonetics Lab (University of Arizona)
We used production and perception studies to analyze how L2 English speakers differed in stop consonant reduction depending on their L1 (Japanese, Dutch, Spanish), and also whether there were any differences in reduction across dialects of L1 English speakers (US, Canadian, New Zealand).
Replicating psycholinguistic tests of the Metrical Segmentation Strategy
With many members and affiliates of the Douglass Phonetics Lab (University of Arizona) Presented at the 177th Annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, 16 May 2019 (4pSC36). [poster]
Based on statistical regularities of their language, humans hypothesize word boundaries according to the stress and vowel quality of utterances. Cutler and Norris (1988) formalized this as the Metrical Segmentation Strategy, and previous experiments (e.g., Norris et al., 1995) have borne out these predictions. Here, we present a partial replication of Norris et al. (1995), with some possibilities suggested for what may have occurred for the differences we find.
Task-based morphosyntactic error profiles in people with aphasia
Using production data from AphasiaBank corpora, we are looking to see whether error profiles differ depending on the assessment task used.
Processing synthetic and natural speech
With Erin Liffiton (Bucknell University) To be presented at the 179th Annual Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, 8-12 Dec 2020.
Although speech synthesizers are improving in quality, do we subconsciously process synthetic speech in the same way that we process human speech? We are investigating this using auditory masked priming and auditory lexical decision tasks.