Linguistics colloquium: Shiri Lev-Ari

19/12/2017 - 14:00 - 15:30

Shiri Lev-Ari, Max Planck Institute

Topic: How the Size of our Social Network influences our Linguistic Skills

Abstract: Does the size of our social network influence how good we are at understanding and communicating with others or how influenced we are by others’ speech patterns? Previous research shows that both infants and adults are better at learning new phonological categories when exposed to multiple speakers compared with only one. In this talk, I’ll present converging evidence from individual differences studies, experimental studies, and computational simulations to show that the size of our social network influences our linguistic skills even as adult native speakers. In particular, I'll show that having a larger social network leads to better comprehension at the phonological and semantic levels, and lesser malleability of our linguistic representations. Further, I'll show that social network size can influence our communicative skills even when our interaction partners do not provide us with any input by triggering different types of linguistic behavior during practice. Thus, aspects of our life-style, such as the size of our social network, can influence how we learn, use, and represent language.


Building 504, room 7.