Our research covers basic psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic questions for a wide variety of different languages. Consequently, Language & Brain Lab members travel with our experimental equipment to collect data from native speakers across the world.
For example, recently our researchers have conducted field work in India, China, Hong Kong, Germany, Sweden, Norway and France (Brittany).
In Kolkata we ran experiments at Gokhale College, to look at how differences in the length of consonants and vowels are detected and processed in the brain. We have done this both through EEG experiments and behavioural experiments.
In Trondheim we examined how differences in tonal accent affect the processing of speech, by using reaction time measurements whilst listening to stimuli and by doing an MMN study to tap into automatic processing. We are investigating the lexical representation and processing of word accent in North Germanic.
Here are some personal stories of their fieldwork experiences from various members of the lab:
The object of my fieldwork was to investigate the representation and recognition of Mandarin tone3-sandhi, a tonal dissimilation phenomenon where a tone changes its realisation depending on the context.
To do this, I ran several behavioural experiments at Tsing Hua University and Wangfu School in Beijing, China. In these experiments, I examined how stimuli with different lexical tones can affect the speed of target word recognition, thus providing insight into how words are represented in the brain.
Sometimes, fieldwork can be challenging and stressful. I can still remember the pressure of recruiting more than one hundred native speakers, the panic when the projector broke down, and the stress of commuting between two schools with a tight schedule! However, the interests and passion that students showed in the research topic made the whole process so enjoyable and rewarding.
This would not have been possible without the kind help of Dr. Jie Sui who provided the lab space for testing in Tsing Hua University, as well as Mr. Yi Wu for organising students at Wangfu School to take part.