I am currently executing my NWO Veni research project ‘Great expectations: Discourse markers of (counter-) expectation in sentence processing’ at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen. Language provides us with means to acknowledge our interlocutor’s expectations in the form of discourse markers (DMs). For instance, when we say Maria is eigenlijk een man ‘Maria is actually a man’, we use eigenlijk to indicate that this utterance is not in line with the most likely expectation that someone called Maria is a woman. In theoretical linguistics, expectation-managing DMs are assumed to facilitate comprehension, making communication more efficient. My project experimentally investigates this theoretically assumed function of expectation-managing DMs by means of (Visual World) eye-tracking and EEG. I examine to what extent comprehenders integrate the high-level, expectation-managing information encoded in DMs in online language comprehension.
As part of my research project, I visited the department of Brain and Cognitive Science at the University of Rochester in Spring 2015, Summer 2016 and Fall 2017.