Elaine J. Francis

Elaine J. Francis
Purdue University | Purdue · Department of English

PhD

About

35
Publications
10,183
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
283
Citations
Introduction
My research deals with syntax and its interfaces with semantics, discourse information structure, and language processing in production and comprehension. Some of my goals are: • to identify the factors that contribute to the realization of grammatical alternations • to explore how processing factors contribute to the development of grammatical conventions • to investigate the nature of grammatical knowledge https://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/francislab/
Additional affiliations
August 2010 - present
Purdue University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2004 - July 2010
Purdue University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
January 2003 - July 2004
Purdue University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Education
September 1993 - June 1999
University of Chicago
Field of study
  • Linguistics
August 1989 - May 1993
College of William and Mary
Field of study
  • Linguistics

Publications

Publications (35)
Article
Full-text available
Branigan and Pickering (B&P) argue successfully that structural priming provides valuable information for developing psychologically plausible syntactic and semantic theories. I discuss how their approach can be used to help determine whether partially grammaticalized constructions which have undergone semantic change have also undergone syntactic...
Article
Full-text available
In one type of Relative Clause Extraposition (RCE) in English, a subject-modifying relative clause occurs in a displaced position following the matrix VP, as in: Some options were considered that allow for more flexibility. Although RCE incurs a discontinuous dependency and is relatively infrequent in discourse, previous corpus and acceptability ju...
Article
Full-text available
The use of resumptive pronouns in relative clauses appears to be governed by structural complexity in grammar and usage. Resumptive pronoun distributions across languages typically follow the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy (Keenan and Comrie 1977, Noun Phrase Accessibility and Universal Grammar, Linguistic Inquiry: 8: 63-99): if the grammar al...
Chapter
Full-text available
In relative clause extraposition (RCE) in English, a subject-modifying relative clause appears after the verb phrase, as in "Some research was conducted that supports the existing theory". Previous studies have revealed that both grammatical weight and discourse factors induce speakers to use RCE. However, the current study is the first to examine...
Article
Full-text available
Fedorenko and Gibson (2013) have argued against the continued use of informally collected acceptability judgments as the primary methodology in theoretical syntax and semantics research. We provide further support for their position with data from Mandarin and Turkish-language judgment tasks which examined the acceptability of resumptive pronouns (...
Book
Full-text available
This book examines a challenging problem at the intersection of theoretical linguistics and the psychology of language: the interpretation of gradient judgments of sentence acceptability in relation to theories of grammatical knowledge. Acceptability judgments constitute the primary source of data on which such theories have been built, despite bei...
Poster
Full-text available
Abstract: In English, subject-modifying restrictive relative clauses (RCs) are typically adjacent to their antecedents (e.g. some swimmers who had no adult supervision appeared), but can also be extraposed, appearing after the verb phrase (e.g. some swimmers appeared who had no adult supervision). Using informal judgments, Guéron (1980) and Rochemo...
Presentation
Full-text available
Among linguists working within various syntactic frameworks, there is a consensus that many factors in addition to syntactic constraints can affect the responses obtained in an acceptability judgment task (Schütze 2011). These include semantic, pragmatic, and prosodic constraints as well as general cognitive factors. However, each theoretical tradi...
Poster
Full-text available
Among generative linguists who work with experimental data, there is a general consensus that various factors in addition to syntactic constraints can potentially affect the responses obtained in an acceptability judgment task (Schütze 2011). In this discussion paper, I argue that despite this consensus, each theoretical approach comes with certain...
Poster
Full-text available
We used two tasks (elicitation and priming) to ask: whether and how Mandarin differs from English in terms of Path encoding; and how native-language bias based on these differences affects speakers’ sensitivity to Path information in a prime sentence. Our findings support that Mandarin is distinct from English in motion event typology, as complex P...
Article
Full-text available
How do performance factors influence the fixed grammatical conventions of languages? How does crosslinguistic variation in grammatical structure inform our understanding of language use? In Cross-linguistic variation and efficiency, John A. Hawkins presents new applications and refinements of the principles proposed in his earlier book Efficiency a...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: The present study examines the impact of typical aging and Parkinson's disease (PD) on the relationship among breath pausing, syntax, and punctuation. Method: Thirty young adults, 25 typically aging older adults, and 15 individuals with PD participated. Fifteen participants were age- and sex-matched to the individuals with PD. Participa...
Article
Full-text available
Verb-doubling, where a copy of the main verb occurs both before and after the direct object, is a structure commonly used in Chinese in sentences containing a frequency or duration phrase. In Cantonese, verb-doubling is highly optional and therefore problematic for existing syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic accounts of its distribution in Mandarin...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter presents psycholinguistic evidence for “default correspondences”—canonical mappings between semantic roles and constituent ordering—in the comprehension of two types of noun phrase mismatch: possessive free relatives and quantificational nouns. Experiments showed that possessive free relatives were processed more slowly and comprehende...
Article
Full-text available
In relative clause extraposition (RCE) in English, a noun is modified by a non-adjacent RC, resulting in a discontinuous dependency, as in. Three people arrived here yesterday who were from Chicago Although discourse focus is known to influence the choice of RCE over truth-conditionally equivalent sentences with canonical structure (Rochemont and C...
Article
Full-text available
Examining four constructions in three languages (English quantificational nouns, Japanese subordinating conjunctions, Cantonese coverbs, Japanese deverbal postpositions), this paper shows that semantic properties can change faster than syntactic properties in gradual processes of grammaticalization. In each of these cases, the syntactic properties...
Article
Full-text available
In his review of Polymorphous Linguistics: Jim McCawley’s Legacy (ed. by Salikoko S. Mufwene, Elaine J. Francis, & Rebecca S. Wheeler, MIT Press, 2005), published in volume 28(5) of Language Sciences (521–526), Pieter A.M. Seuren claims that McCawley’s work after about 1980 greatly declined in quality as compared with his earlier work in Generative...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Abstract ,Townsend ,and Bever (2001) and Ferreira (2003) argue that simple templates,representing ,the ,most ,commonly ,used ,orderings ,of arguments within a clause (e.g., NP-V-NP = Agent-Action-Patient) are used early in sentence ,comprehension ,to derive ,a preliminary interpretation before ,a full ,parse is completed. , Sentences ,which match t...
Article
Full-text available
The Cantonese ‘coverb’ construction, a serial verb construction in which the first verb (the ‘coverb’) has a preposition-like meaning and function, presents a challenge for theories of wh-dependencies and island constraints. Coverbs resist extraction of their objects by topicalization or relativization, a fact which has often been explained in term...
Article
Full-text available
Cantonese exhibits a pattern of variation among verbs that has often been interpreted as distinguishing a category of adjectives or a subcategory of adjectival verbs. However, neither of these approaches takes into account the complex patterns of overlap among the purported categories or subcategories. To account for these patterns, we propose a mu...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this paper, I examine and defend McCawley’s position that a notion of ‘prototype’ is relevant to the representation of syntactic categories in grammatical competence. I first discuss some background on prototype theories of categorization, including McCawley’s (1982, 1987, 1998) theory of syntactic categories, in Sections 2–3 below. Then, in Sec...
Book
This edited volume pays tribute to Jim McCawley by pursuing questions about language that engaged him during his career. The variety of perspectives in these essays reflects McCawley's eclecticism as well as his belief that what is important in scholarly work is not hte analytic framework used but the insights reached. The book considers topics in...
Chapter
Full-text available
It is the aim of the current book not only to describe specific cases of mismatch in different domains of grammar, but also to examine the question of which general theoretical mechanisms can most parsimoniously account for both normal and exceptional form-function mappings across a wide range of linguistic phenomena. In this introductory chapter,...
Article
In his book Language Form and Language Function, Frederick Newmeyer develops two main points: (1) that there is much to be gained by taking seriously the linguistic generalizations of both the generativist and the functionalist traditions in linguistics; and (2) that the basic assumptions of generative grammar are compatible with functional explana...
Article
Par opposition a la tradition generative qui traite separement la syntaxe et la semantique et invoque des principes purement formels pour expliquer les proprietes grammaticales de la possession, deux ouvrages proposent des explications semantiques et fonctionnelles a la variation semantique et syntaxique des constructions possessives. Le premier, i...
Article
Shows that looking at individual semantic functions of grammatical morphemes is essential to explaining particular cases of noniconicity between lexical categories and their discourse functions. It is suggested that, in light of this importance of the functions of individual grammatical morphemes, it is now easier to evaluate why structure-discours...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper I look at three phenomena in English in which form and meaning appear to come apart -- quantificational nouns, predicate nominals, and locative subjects. I first present some data illustrating these three phenomena and explore their consequences for Langacker's Cognitive Grammar. I argue that Cognitive Grammar cannot adequately accoun...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (5)
Project
Explores the various factors that affect production and comprehension of relative clause extraposition
Project
Explores the grammar and processing of resumptive pronouns in relative clauses
Archived project
Explores the role of defaults and prototypes in grammar