LINGUIST List 31.2103

Mon Jun 29 2020

Calls: Ling Theories, Morphology, Psycholing, Syntax/Germany

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 29-Jun-2020
From: Christian Mair <>
Subject: Eye-Tracking and Language Production
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Full Title: Eye-Tracking and Language Production

Date: 24-Feb-2021 - 26-Feb-2021
Location: Freiburg, Germany
Contact Person: Martina Penke
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Psycholinguistics; Syntax

Call Deadline: 31-Aug-2020

Meeting Description:

During the last two decades, the application of eye-tracking techniques to language production research has been established as a pivotal method in psycholinguistics. In particular, monitoring eye-movements during the completion of picture description tasks has provided invaluable insights into sentence-level planning, leading to the formation of two different approaches: the linear incrementality approach and the hierarchical incrementality approach. Supporters of linear incrementality assume that sentences are planned word-by-word and that speakers start the utterance with the encoding of a nominal element (Gleitman et al. 2007). The choice of the first element in the utterance is assumed to be guided by its accessibility. As a result, the first element might be the most accessible element in the utterance. Accessibility is assumed to be influenced by various factors, such as animacy (Branigan et al. 2008) and visual prominence (Gleitman et al. 2007). The formulation of other elements in the utterance is postponed until after speech onset. Thus, linear incrementality assumes that non-nominal elements, such as verbs, are planned shortly before they are uttered. By contrast, hierarchical incrementality hypothesizes advanced hierarchical planning of a relational structure of a depicted event (Griffin & Bock 2000). Hence, speakers following this strategy create a representation of the utterance before the onset of speech. Structural planning might either start with the relationship between agent and patient (weak hierarchical incrementality) or with the verb (strong hierarchical incrementality).
There is evidence that the different approaches to sentence-level planning are triggered by properties of a given language. Thus, language-specific features, such as word order and morphological case marking modulate language production. For instance, it has been shown that speakers of verb-initial languages like Tagalog (Austronesian) and Tzeltal (Mayan) follow the mechanism of structural pre-planning as shown by eye-tracking during production studies (Sauppe et al. 2013, Norcliffe & Konopka 2015). For subject-initial languages like German, findings are mixed. Sauppe (2017) shows that, depending on the position of the verb (final or medial), either linear incremental strategy or hierarchical incremental strategy is applied.
The goal of our workshop is to connect researchers that employ eye-tracking and language production in order to gain deeper insight into sentence-level planning.

Branigan, H. P., Pickering, M. J., & Tanaka, M. (2008). Contributions of animacy to grammatical function assignment and word order during production. Lingua, 118(2), 172–189.
Gleitman, L. R., January, D., Nappa, R., & Trueswell, J. C. (2007). On the give and take between event apprehension and utterance formulation. Journal of Memory and Language, 57(4), 544–569.
Griffin, Z. M., & Bock, K. (2000). What the eyes say about speaking. Psychological Science, 11(4), 274–279.
Norcliffe, E., & Konopka, A. E. (2015). Vision and language in cross-linguistic research on sentence production. In R. K. Mishra, N. Srinivasan, & F. Huettig (Eds.), Attention and vision in language processing (pp. 77–96). Springer India.
Sauppe, S. (2017). Word order and voice influence the timing of verb planning in German sentence production. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1 12.
Sauppe, S., Norcliffe, E., Konopka, A. E., Van Valin, R. D., & Levinson, S. C. (2013). Dependencies first: Eye tracking evidence from sentence production in Tagalog. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 35(35).

Call for Papers:

We invite submissions for 20-minute presentations (plus 10-minute discussion). Topics should include but are not limited to experimental studies on sentence production (eye-movement monitoring, pupillometry) and speech planning strategies.

Abstracts should not exceed 1 page (A4, Times New Roman, 12-point font, single-spaced). Graphs and references can be included on a second page. Please send your abstract electronically as a PDF to Elyesa Seidel (

The workshop will be part of the 43rd annual meeting of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS) to be held at the University of Freiburg. Presenters will have to register for the conference and are not supposed to present a talk at any of the parallel DGfS workshops, according to the DGfS regulations.

A limited number of travel grants of up to 500 Euro are available for accepted contributions by DGfS members without/with low income.

Page Updated: 29-Jun-2020