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Elisabeth Norcliffe

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Senior Research Fellow

Human languages exhibit remarkable diversity at all levels of organisation, yet some kinds of structures and categories are more common than others. One thread of my research explores the nature of cross-linguistic variation and the factors (cognitive, cultural and communicative) that shape and constrain it. Currently, as the recipient of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellowship, I am studying this topic in the context of cross-linguistic variability in the lexical expression of perception.  

A second, interrelated aspect of my research focusses on how differences in grammatical structures across languages influence the cognitive mechanisms involved in comprehending and producing language.  My empirical work in this area has largely focused on sentence production and comprehension in Mayan languages of Southern Mexico. I am also involved in collaborations exploring aspects of language processing in Tagalog (South East Asia), Yélî Dnye (Papua New Guinea) and Ecuadorian Highland Quichua (South America). 

In parallel, I am actively involved in the linguistic documentation and comparative-historical analysis of languages of Andean South America, with a particular focus on Guambiano (Nam Trik) and related Barbacoan languages of Ecuador and Colombia.  

Recent publications

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