I added a bunch of pictures (almost all from a trip to Brazil last year) to the photo gallery.
Welcome to the page that will one day contain more content about different facets of what I do. For now, you can read some ramblings on my research publications (ramblings that don't make it into the papers), as well as background info to my juvenile fiction book "Extrem TV" (allerdings auf Deutsch). In the near future I will add some of my music, photos and posts about my past involvement in mods related to the Ultima computer games.
So here are the rules: Manche Sachen auf dieser Seite werden auf Englisch sein, some in German (though probably not as mixed as in this post). I will make the decision based on who I think may read it as well as on my mood. I am not going to translate because that's not something I would enjoy.
With that said, viel Spaß beim Stöbern!
"Syntactic disorder" can be defined as an impairment of sentence processing, in comprehension as well as production, in spoken language as well as written, despite relatively intact processing of individual words. It is a terrible disorder. Our communication is mostly about who did what to whom, and when. If we lose this ability the complexity of what we can say and understand suffers a lot. People with aphasia can have a complex mental life and above average intelligence, but can find themselves unable to share any of that.
This paper is based on my PhD project.Read More
"WR" had primary progressive aphasia, a type of dementia which starts out as a language disorder. His grammatical profile showed a pattern that, according to many theories of grammar and aphasia, should not exist: WR was good at understanding passive sentences, such as The lion is killed by the man, but very poor at actives such as The man kills the lion, which are considered easier and more resistant to brain damage. More importantly, many theories predict that if someone has difficulties with actives, that person should find passives at least as difficult.Read More
Artifical grammar learning is supposed to tap into processes so basic to human cognition that many seem to assume that they are "universal", the same for every human. As a result researchers focus too much on group averages and do not look at individual differences in performance. If you do you find out that even healthy individuals do very different things within the same experimental condition. My life would be easier if this were not the case.Read More
Zimmerer, V.C., & Varley, R.A. (2010). Recursion in severe aphasia. In H. van der Hulst (Ed.): Recursion and human language. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 393-406.
The volume is the result from the first conference on recursion in language hosted by the fascinating Dan Everett at Illinois State University in 2006. About a hundred people got together trying to figure out what Hauser, Chomsky and Fitch were talking about in their seminal, but pretty vague Science paper.Read More
My time as a PhD student had too great an impact for a short post to do it justice. I lived in England for the first time, met incredible people and my experiences with persons with aphasia (language disorder resulting from brain damage or degeneration) changed the way I think about many things in life.
Artificial grammar learning is a fascinating empirical paradigm, but it my a project a tough sell to linguists and speech and language therapists alike. Why test grammar not using words, but nonsensical blobs on a computer screen? The answer is that the human mind is driven by pattern finding, and tapping into core pattern processing mechanisms reveals something about language in healthy speakers and pathologies.
I was supervised by Rosemary Varley and Patricia Cowell, who were simply optimal.
These two publications are based on my Masters dissertation. Actually, the monograph is my dissertation with some edits. The project was supervised at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf by Martin Wengeler and Martina Penke.
I did my Masters degree in German linguistics (which for the most part mixed philosophy and sociolinguistics), with psycholinguistics and German literature as minors. Since I became increasingly interested in psycholinguistics, but did not want to change my major, I had to figure out a way to do psycholinguistics in the wrong department.Read More