Guest editor’s note

Joanna Błaszczak
  • Acta Linguistica Academica, June 2018, Akademiai Kiado
  • DOI: 10.1556/2062.2018.65.2-3.0

What is it about?

This special issue of Acta Linguistica Academica: An International Journal of Linguistics (previously published as Acta Linguistica Hungarica) is a collection of selected contributions providing new theoretical and psycholinguistic insights into number, quantification, and eventualities in a broad sense. Most of the papers in this volume were presented at the international conference “Psycholinguistic Investigations into Number and Quantification in Natural Language” organized at the University of Wrocław in August 2016 as part of the research project on the same subject, funded by the National Science Centre, Poland (grant no. 2013/09/B/HS2/02763). The remaining contributions were selected externally.

Why is it important?

Expressing quantity has long been a subject of interest for logicians (dating back to Aristotle) and linguists interested in the formal means by which natural language allows the user to talk about and interpret number and quantification in the nominal and verbal domain. For the last couple of decades, the processing of language has been studied by psycholinguists, who have started to use techniques previously reserved for psychology and neurocognitive studies to understand how linguistic knowledge is organized in the brain and how it interacts with other cognitive modules, such as vision and numerical perception/computation.


Dr hab. Joanna Błaszczak
University of Wrocław

The collected papers in this volume extend the recent trend of investigating linguistic questions inspired by theoretical research using experimental techniques, an approach that offers a more direct access to the mental representation of language. The papers address a wide array of topics and, while they overlap with regard to the problems investigated, they offer contrasting perspectives and analyses. Similarly varied are also the experimental methods employed in the studies reported in this volume, e.g., judgment tasks, self-paced reading, eye-tracking, ERP (event related potentials), and speech production tasks. While the focus in the majority of the collected papers lies on language processing (Gulgowski & Błaszczak; Klimek-Janowska, Czypionka, Witkowski & Błaszczak; Tomaszewicz; Weiland-Breckle & Schumacher) or production (Surányi & Turi), there are also papers focusing on language acquisition (É. Kiss & Zétényi; Pintér), natural language semantics (Wellwood, Hespos & Rips), and philosophy of language (Gennari). At a general level, the ultimate goal of the presented research is to contribute to a better understanding of natural language and the human brain and, at a more concrete level, what is investigated in individual papers challenges present assumptions, mainly from four languages: Hungarian, Polish, English, and German.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr hab. Joanna Błaszczak