Songhee Kim & Liina Pylkkänen

Songhee Kim & Liina Pylkkänen

Lecture 4 | Leipzig Lectures on Language—Combinatorics 2021

June 16, 2021


Unpacking composition: The case of adverbs and verbs

Understanding the neurobiology of composition requires, first, identifying possible neural correlates of the relevant processes, and then, sustained efforts to unpack the nature of the underlying computations, which may be different from what the theory that one started with assumed. We describe a research program that has used representational theories from linguistics as the initial inspiration, but that has yielded a description of a process in the left anterior temporal lobe that does not map onto computations in theories of syntax or formal semantics. We show how Dr. Kim’s work on adverb-verb composition has shed light on the sensitivity of this mostly conceptually driven activity to representational complexity and syntax.


About the speakers

Songhee Kim is a postdoctoral researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, with neurolinguistics and semantics as main areas of study. Her dissertation focused on the neural representation of event concept composition.

Liina Pylkkänen is Professor of Linguistics and Psychology and Head of the Neurolinguistics Lab at New York University. Her research focus on the characterization of the brain mechanisms responsible for the semantic combinatorics of language and how they are intimately intertwined with computations building complex syntactic structures.

Keywords: language processing; semantic composition; conceptual combination


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