Project C6

1st Phase - Experimental and corpus investigations of Information Structure in Hindi

This project investigates the role of topic and focus marking and the given-new sequence in speech processing, both from the perspective of the listener and from the production side. The starting point of our research is the observation that information structural (IS) means such as topic and focus marking produce a richer encoding of the marked expression, and although the encoding of such an expression requires more cognitive effort (Birch & Rayner, 1997), the following retrieval will the information corresponding to the highlighted expression (Birch & Garnsey, 1995). We investigate the consequences of these findings for speech understanding by means of eye movements while reading, and for speech production using data elicited with the QUIS questionnaire, as well as data from a monolingual corpus for Hindi, the EMILLE-CIIL corpus. The target language of the project is Hindi, a widespread head-final language with a freer word order than German and an unusual combination of IS-related properties such as syntactically determined information focus, zero anaphers and morphological topical and specificity marking. The project is carried out in cooperation with various partners within the SFB who investigate closely related theoretical and empirical questions (A5, C1, C3) and provide new annotation and computation tools for the planned corpus-based research (D1, D2, D4 ). Among other things, four Hindi experiments are planned in cooperation with C1, which will be carried out in India at the Center for Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Allahabad. Exploratory studies are also planned in collaboration with C3. In cooperation with D4, an English-Hindi parallel corpus (part of the EMILLE-CIIL corpora) will be used to conduct a frequency analysis of the IS means of Hindi versus English.

Principal Investigators

  • Prof. Dr. Shravan Vasishth

Former Staff Members

  • Lena Benz
  • Titus von der Malsburg
  • Felix Engelmann
  • Pavel Logačev
  • Rukshin Shaher


November 2007 Lecture Shaher, R.: Complex Predicates in Gujarati. University of Potsdam