Research

My research goal is to understand the grammar of languages in a way that is informed by classic methods of consultant judgments and speech samples, as well as through the analysis of corpora and the use of psycholinguistic methods. A major part of my work is concerned with how different populations―child first language learners, child and adult second language learners, heritage speakers, and the impaired—acquire, maintain, or lose the features of typologically different languages. I have also been working on the development of different kinds of elicitation materials that can be used for experimentation and documentation. My research centers on languages of Asia and the Pacific, such as Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog, and Yoron-Ryukyuan.


Cross-linguistic investigation of relative clauses

Cross-linguistically, subject relative clauses are acquired earlier, processed faster, and comprehended and produced with higher accuracy than object relative clauses. I have been investigating whether a similar asymmetry is manifested in the processing and acquisition of relative clauses in typologically different languages, such as Tagalog and Chinese, across different populations, including children, adult native speakers, and adult language learners.

Collaborators

Ivan Paul Bondoc, Yung-Yung Chang, Alessia Cherici, Kamil Deen, William O’Grady

Related Research Output

  • Cherici, A., Chang, Y.-Y., & Tanaka, N. (2019, October). The production of relative clauses by L1-English learners of Chinese. Paper presented at the NINJAL-UHM Linguistics Workshop on Syntax-Semantics Interface, Language Acquisition, and Naturalistic Data Analysis, Honolulu, HI. [Slides]
  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., & Bondoc, I. P. (2019). An asymmetry in the acquisition of relative clauses: Evidence from Tagalog. First Language, 39(6), 618–632. https://doi.org/10.1177/0142723719859090 [Accepted Version PDF] [Please e-mail me to request the published version of the paper]
  • Bondoc, I. P., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., & Tanaka, N. (2018). Agrammatism in Tagalog: Voice and relativisation. Aphasiology, 32(5), 598–617. https://doi.org/10.1080/02687038.2017.1366417 [Accepted Version PDF] [Please e-mail me to request the published version of the paper]
  • Bondoc, I. P., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., Tanaka, N., Chua, E. C., de Leon, A. C., & Siscar, J. A. (2018). More relativization asymmetries: Children find locative and benefactive relative clauses difficult. In A. B. Bertolini & M. J. Kaplan (Eds.), BUCLD 42: Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (Vol.1) (pp. 72–85). Somerville, Cascadilla Press. http://www.lingref.com/bucld/42/BUCLD42-06.pdf
  • Tanaka, N. (2016). An asymmetry in the acquisition of Tagalog relative clauses. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. [PDF]
  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., Kim, C.-E., Hattori, R., Bondoc, I. P. M., & Soriano, J. U. (2016). An agent advantage in Tagalog relative clause comprehension. In H. Hsieh (Ed.), AFLA 22: The Proceedings of the 22nd Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (pp. 191‒202). Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics. http://hdl.handle.net/1885/101155 [PDF]
  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., Kim, C.-E., Hattori, R., Bondoc, I. P. M., & Soriano, J. U. (2015). Split focus preferences in Tagalog: Evidence from child language. In A. Camp, Y. Otsuka, C. Stabile, & N. Tanaka (Eds.), AFLA 21: The Proceedings of the 21st Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (pp. 279‒288). Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics. http://hdl.handle.net/1885/95329 [PDF]
  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., Kim, C.-E., Hattori, R., Bondoc, I. P. M., & Soriano, J. U. (2014). Acquisition of Tagalog relative clauses. In W. Orman & M. J. Valleau (Eds.), BUCLD 38: Proceedings of the 38th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (Vol.2) (pp. 463‒470). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. [Accepted Version PDF]

Research Materials

  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., Kim, C.-E., Hattori, R., Bondoc, I. P. M., & Soriano, J. U. (2016). “Relative clause elicitation pictures.” Nozomi Tanaka Collection. Kaipuleohone: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42192. Type: language description. Media: image. Access: public. Resource ID: NT1-001.
  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., Kim, C.-E., Hattori, R., Bondoc, I. P. M., & Soriano, J. U. (2016). “Relative clause elicited production task.” Nozomi Tanaka Collection. Kaipuleohone: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42193. Type: language description. Media: image, audio. Access: public. Resource ID: NT1-002.
  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., Kim, C.-E., Hattori, R., Bondoc, I. P. M., & Soriano, J. U. (2016). “Relative clause comprehension task.” Nozomi Tanaka Collection. Kaipuleohone: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42194. Type: language description. Media: image. Access: public. Resource ID: NT1-003.

Other Tagalog studies

In addition to research on relative clause asymmetries in Tagalog, I have also worked on other surrounding issues in Tagalog, such as the voice/focus system and derivation of oblique relative clauses.

Collaborators

Ivan Paul Bondoc, Kamil Deen, William O’Grady, Yuko Otsuka

Related Research Output

  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., & Bondoc, I. P. (2019, September). Comprehension and production of word order and voice in bilingual Tagalog speakers. Poster presented at the 2019 Second Language Research Forum, East Lansing, MI. [Poster]
  • Bondoc, I. P., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., & Tanaka, N. (2018, May). Effects of pronoun case on sentence comprehension among Tagalog children. Poster presented at the 25th Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association, Taipei, Taiwan. [Poster]
  • Otsuka, Y., & Tanaka, N. (2016, June). Tagalog oblique relative clauses. Paper presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA 23), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan. [Handout]
  • Tanaka, N., O’Grady, W., Deen, K., Kim, C.-E., Hattori, R., Bondoc, I. P. M., & Soriano, J. U. (2014, June). Acquisition of Tagalog focus system. Paper presented at the 16th Annual International Conference of the Japanese Society for Language Sciences (JSLS2014), Bunkyo University, Saitama, Japan. Received the JCHAT Award (Best Paper). [Slides]

Island effects in Japanese

In this project, I investigate the island effects in native and non-native Japanese and whether the effects come from grammatical constraints or from processing factors, focusing on complex NP islands such as relative clauses and factives.

Collaborators

Bonnie D. Schwartz

Related Research Output

  • Tanaka, N., & Schwartz, B. D. (2018). Investigating relative clause island effects in native and nonnative adult speakers of Japanese. In A. B. Bertolini & M. J. Kaplan (Eds.), BUCLD 42: Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (Vol. 2) (pp. 750–763). Somerville, Cascadilla Press. http://www.lingref.com/bucld/42/BUCLD42-58.pdf

Estimation of cue strengths in corpora

The project uses corpus analysis to examine what kind of cues are available in the input provided for children and learners and what cues they themselves use in their own output. We have worked on Chinese and Japanese and have focused on cues that are used to encode transitive events: word order, animacy, and markers for NPs.

Collaborators

Yung-Yung Chang, Alessia Cherici, Yas Shirai

Related Research Output

  • Cherici, A., Chang, Y.-Y., & Tanaka, N. (2019, October). Evaluation of cues in L1 Chinese input and output:A Competition Model approach to corpus data. Poster presented at the NINJAL-UHM Linguistics Workshop on Syntax-Semantics Interface, Language Acquisition, and Naturalistic Data Analysis, Honolulu, HI. [Poster]
  • Tanaka, N., & Shirai, Y. (2019, June). Estimating cue strengths based on corpus data: The case of L1 and L2 Japanese. Poster presented at CHILDES, TalkBank, Competition, Emergentism: Honoring the Impact of Brian MacWhinney on Language Research, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Tanaka, N., & Shirai, Y. (2014). L1 acquisition of Japanese transitive verbs: How do children acquire grammar in the absence of clear evidence? In S. Nam, H. Ko, & J. Jun (Eds.), Japanese/Korean Linguistics (Vol. 21) (pp. 281-295). Stanford, CA: CSLI. [PDF]

Structural probabilities in speech production

This research investigates how structural cues influence incremental speech production. This question is motivated by the idea that acoustic properties in speech production are known to reflect probabilities of words and contexts chosen by the speakers. For example, highly frequent words are produced with shorter durations compared to less frequent words. The source of this effect has been attributed to articulatory practice, ease of lexical retrieval, and speakers’ accommodation of hearers’ needs. Would we see a similar effect if the predictability of the upcoming word is conditioned based on sentence structure, rather than word frequency? So far, we have investigated this question using Japanese relative clauses.

Collaborator

Amber Camp

Related Research Output

  • Camp, A., & Tanaka, N. (2019). Integration of structural probabilities in speech production: Evidence from Japanese relative clauses. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 (pp. 3295–3298). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc. http://intro2psycholing.net/ICPhS/
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