May 5th: Natalia Levshina

Differential argument marking and efficiency: New typological and experimental evidence

Natalia Levshina, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Tuesday, May 5 2021, 11:00-12:00 BST
Zoom Details: [Please Request]

In this talk I want to discuss differential object marking as a manifestation of efficiency in language (Gibson et al. 2019). I will present the results of two experiments based on artificial languages. One involves only learning, and the other one is a communication game. This evidence supports the idea expressed by Smith and Culbertson (2020) that efficient differential marking emerges in communication, rather than in simple language learning. Moreover, the data demonstrate that differential marking can emerge solely for the purpose of distinguishing between the arguments, excluding the other motivations proposed in the literature. I will also present new cross-linguistic data that support the efficiency-related interpretation of differential marking.