Cognitive Science of Language
Based in the Department of Linguistics and Languages, the graduate program (M.Sc.; Ph.D.) in the Cognitive Science of Language is interdisciplinary and includes faculty from Humanities, Science, and Health Sciences. The program has a strong research orientation and has expertise in the areas of Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Sociolinguistics, Neurolinguistics, Forensic Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, and Psycholinguistics. The breadth of faculty research areas provides a rich environment for graduate training. The graduate program introduces students to the issues in those fields that form the nexus of cognitive science, linguistics, and languages and trains them in the research methods employed to study them. Our graduate programs provide flexibility so that students can optimize their studies around their own areas of interest.
Enquiries: 905-525-9140 Ext. 24388
John J. Colarusso, B.A. (Cornell), M.A. (Northwestern), Ph.D.(Harvard)
John F. Connolly, A.B. (College of the Holy Cross), M.A.(Saskatchewan), Ph.D. (London)
Magda Stroinska, M.A. (Warsaw), Ph.D. (Edinburgh)
Anna L. Moro, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (Toronto)
Elisabet Service, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. (Helsinki)
Catherine Anderson, B.A. (McMaster), Ph.D. (Northwestern)
Ivona Kucerova, M.A. (Charles University, Prague), Ph.D. (MIT)
Victor Kuperman, B.A., M.A. (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Ph.D. (Nijmegen)
Richard Arthur (Philosophy)
Sue Becker (Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour)
Steven Brown (Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour)
David Feinberg (Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour)
Faiza Hirji (Communication Studies and Multimedia)
Karin Humphreys (Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour)
Michael Kliffer (French)
Graham Knight (Communication Studies and Multimedia)
Victor Satzewich (Sociology)
Michael Schutz (School of the Arts)
David Shore (Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour)
Peter Szatmari (Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour)
Laurel Trainor (Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour)
Veena Dwivedi (Applied Linguistics, Brock University)
Fields of Study in the Graduate Program
The M.Sc./Ph.D. program in the Cognitive Science of Language comprises the following fields:
The program emphasizes the theoretical linguistic disciplines as the necessary core for any applied and interdisciplinary investigation, recognizing that empirical methods as such cannot advance our understanding of human cognition without being embedded in a clearly defined theoretical model. Research projects in this area include: syntax-semantics interactions in the area of information structure (I. Kucerova), morphology-semantics interactions in the domain of mass versus count nouns (I. Kucerova and A. Moro) and applications of mathematical models, such as vastness theory, in grammatical models (J. Colarusso). Faculty members specializing in theoretical linguistics also participate in applied and empirical projects.
Experimental Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics
This field studies how language is represented and processed, from both a functional and neurobiological perspective, at all levels of linguistic structure from sound to morpheme to word to sentence to discourse. Research in this field aims to establish the cognitive foundations of speech production and perception, reading, and writing, across all ages and in both first and second language. Faculty also investigate impairments in language including developmental disorders and those acquired through strokes or other brain injuries. Current research in the department includes the interplay of working memory capacity and general cognitive resources with lexical retrieval (E. Service), the brain activity correlates of phonological processing (J. Connolly), real-time sentence comprehension in people with agrammatic aphasia (C. Anderson), probabilistic approaches to speech production and visual word comprehension (V. Kuperman), and individual differences in visual processing of morphological and syntactic complexity (V. Kuperman).
Computational Linguistics & Cognition
This strand of research aims at developing computational models of natural language, as well as cognitive models of human communication. Faculty research in natural language processing includes development of information-theoretical models of morphological processing, corpus studies of vocabulary and lexical development, and cognitive models of self-organization in phonetic inventories across languages (V. Kuperman).
Cognitive Sociolinguistics and Clinical Linguistics
The field of cognitive sociolinguistics examines cognitive aspects of language use in diverse social contexts. Using methods from varied theoretical frameworks, it investigates pragmatic and sociocultural phenomena, including bilingual education and childrearing, second language learning (E. Service), first & second language attrition (M. Stroinska), cognitive theory of translation (M. Stroinska) contact languages, pidgins and creoles (A. Moro). In addition, cognitive aspects of the use of language for persuasion, advertising, propaganda and politics are also studied (M. Stroinska). Research in this area also includes psychometric assessments of language competence in bilingual adults with and without language impairments (A. Moro).
Facilities for Research
Students in the program have access to the department’s research labs and other resources. The Language, Memory and Brain Lab includes a 128-channel EEG/ERP system as well as equipment for running behavioural studies of language processing. The Reading Lab includes a desk-mounted eye-tracking system and several large corpora of written and spoken language data. The department also maintains a sound-attenuated room with equipment and software for making audio-recordings. Researchers in the department enjoy productive collaborations with a number of community partners, including the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, a network of practicing Speech-Language Pathologists and other clinicians, the Hamilton chapter of TESL Ontario, and local communities of native speakers of many languages.