The Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC) is a research institute within the Faculty of Humanities (FGW) of the University of Amsterdam. The ACLC is focused on the study of both functionally and formally oriented linguistic research. The strength of the institute is the broadness of its research and the interaction between different approaches.
Programme coordinator: Prof. dr. Paul Boersma
Subject: We explain the typology of sound systems by modelling phonology as well as phonetics bidirectionally (i.e. we model the speaker as well as the listener), and by modelling the acquisition and cross-generational evolution of all this. Our framework is based on strict constraint ranking (Optimality Theory), but with four representations (two phonological, two phonetic) and with three constraint families that connect these representations to each other.
Programme coordinator: Dr. Rob Schoonen
Subject: Fluent use of a first or second language, in all its modalities (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), consists of the online integration of many types of knowledge, ranging from the level of sound or letter representation to the levels of semantics, pragmatics and world knowledge. The nature of this complex integration process differs depending on the characteristics of the language, the individual's stage of language development, and the communicative situation (task factors). Furthermore, the ease or difficulty with which language users manage to perform a verbal task may depend on individual characteristics, such as working-memory capacity, grammatical sensitivity, and personality.
Programme coordinator: Dr. Hedde Zeijlstra and Prof. dr. Fred Weerman
Subject: The ambition of this research programme is to find out how grammatical information is encoded in natural languages and how the knowledge that underlies it should be represented. Since evidence for or against a particular role or character of grammatical information may come from several linguistic subdisciplines, the programme aims to combine theoretical, diachronic, typological and dialectological work, as well as research into typical and atypical (early and late) language acquisition and spoken as well as sign languages. There is no a priori framework; rather, the strategy of the programme is to make use of insights and perspectives of several current theories.
Programme coordinator: Prof. dr. Anne Baker and Prof. dr. Michiel van Lambalgen
Subject: Theories of first language acquisition are increasingly considering the role of aspects of cognition. The executive functioning theory predicts that memory, attention, motivation and inhibition should play a part in the development of language. The goal of this group is to test these claims with children developing normally but also in children with developmental disorders. In children with ADHD, for example, their problems with attention appear to affect language behaviour; possibly other executive functions do as well. Language behaviour in children with such disorders is studied in the areas of morphology and syntax, pragmatics and verbal reasoning. Formal models of executive functioning will be developed which will help explain the data obtained.
Programme coordinator: Prof. dr. Frans Hilgers
Subject: Cancer in the head and neck area and its treatment can have debilitating effects on communication. Currently available treatment options such as radiotherapy, surgery, chemo-radiation, or a combination of these can often be curative. However, each of these options affects parts of the vocal tract and/or voice to a more or lesser degree. When the vocal tract or voice no longer functions optimally, this affects communication. The aim is to gain insight into the communicative difficulties encountered by this population, and whether speakers adapt to their physical limitations (learn to compensate). It is assumed that the physiological limitations place constraints on certain communicative and language functions, and ultimately affects language behaviour.