Linguistics at Newcastle

Staff Profile

Dr Lauren Ackerman

Research Associate

Background

Dr Lauren Ackerman is a Research Associate in the Department of English Literature, Language & Linguistics at Newcastle University.

Academic background

  • PhD, Northwestern University: Influences on Parsing Ambiguity
  • MA, Northwestern University: How the prosody of center-embedded sentences relates to their structure
  • BA, Boston University: The effect of linguistic environment on vowels sung at high pitches

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Research

My research examines how the real-time representation of syntactic structure is influenced by non-syntactic sources of information. The two sources my current work focuses on are: (1) observed, deduced, or assumed information about the gender of human referents in the sentence, in particular exploring variation associated with the comprehender’s (reader’s or listener’s) exposure to and experience with people who are of a nonbinary gender; and (2) the disambiguating power of boundaries, and in particular, prosodic boundaries that are typically associated with syntactic clause boundaries.

To investigate the way these sources of information influence real-time processing, I use online (real-time) and offline (untimed) paradigms, including eye tracking while reading, self-paced reading, acceptability judgments, and other types of survey methods. I am also interested in the way different methodologies can complement and supplement each other, and how their utility varies based on experiment design.

Publications