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Department of Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science Alumni

Nora Fieder

Nora Fieder

Thesis Details

The representation of nouns in the mental lexicon: Evidence from brain-impaired and normal speakers.

My research project focuses on the processing of nouns. Nouns belong to the most frequently used word category in the English language and are obligatory to form a sentence and express and understand thoughts. Any sentence consists of at least one noun (e.g., 'The cat sleeps.', 'The dog chases the cat in the house.'). Common nouns can be further subdivided in the two categories of count nouns and mass nouns. Both noun groups differ syntactically. Count nouns can form a plural (e.g., 'cats'), can take a definite and indefinite article (e.g., 'the cat', 'a cat') and can appear with numerals and quantifiers that denumerate (e.g., 'three cats', 'many cats'). However, mass nouns have no plural form (e.g., '* milks'), cannot take an indefinite article and numerals (e.g., '*a milk', '*three milk') and can only appear with quantifiers that do not denumerate (e.g., 'much milk'). In previous studies it has been shown that mass and count nouns are processed differently. Furthermore individuals with language impairments were described in showing a breakdown of one of these categories which led to difficulties like picture naming and sentence production with mass or count nouns. The aim of this study is to analyse the differences between mass and count nouns at the syntactic level within individuals with and without language impairments and to extend theories of language processing regarding the representation of both categories in the language system. Although many languages grammatically distinguish nouns for countability, few research studies have examined processing of mass and count nouns within experiments with speech impaired and unimpaired subjects. Hence at present, little is known about mass and count nouns.

  • Type: PhD
  • Scholarship : iMQRES
  • Supervisors : Professor Lyndsey Nickels and Dr Britta Biedermann

Nora is also a current member of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. For more information on Nora's research please visit their CCD profile.

Further Information


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