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University of Nova Gorica
Country: Slovenia
2 Projects, page 1 of 1
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/V000012/1
    Funder Contribution: 744,512 GBP

    In general, research on how the human brain processes language has mostly focused on a very small set of familiar, related European languages like English, Dutch, German, Spanish and French. We know almost nothing about how the brains of speakers of most of the world's languages respond to even simple tasks like processing a single word. Not only does this limit our scientific knowledge, it also has the effect of making only a few languages seem worthy of scientific study. Speakers of languages know many things about their language that they have never been taught, and probably do not even know that they know. For example, speakers of English know that the prefix re- attaches to verbs (eg. refill, repaint). Attaching re- to nouns creates impossible words: reidea, resofa. Speakers of English also know that re- can only attach to specific kinds of verbs like 'fill' and 'open' that describe an event which causes a change of state (fill = cause to become filled). If we attach re- to verbs which do not have the right meaning, the result is not a possible word of English: reknow, resmile. Every human language has rules like this which place limits on the way pieces of the language can be combined to make new words. A combination that is impossible in English, like relaugh, is perfectly fine in French (resourir) or Greek (xanagelo). We can test people's unconscious knowledge of these kinds of restrictions with a very simple experiment, in which we show speakers real English words, and impossible words like reknow, one word at a time, and ask them to say judge how good a word it is. As people are doing this experiment, we use neuroimaging equipment to record their brain activity to find out how their brains process these impossible words. We have found that both English and Greek speakers' brains produce the same patterns of activity. When speakers of these two languages read a word that combines a prefix or suffix with a stem of the wrong category (eg. reidea), their brains produce more activity in a region in the left temporal lobe about 200ms after they first see the word. But Greek and English speakers produce a different response when they read a word that combines a prefix or suffix with a stem that is the right category, but has the wrong semantics (eg. reknow): in this case, their brains produce more activity about 450ms after they first see the word, and the response comes from the frontal lobe. Just from these two languages, it seems that human brains have the same kinds of responses in the same locations, and at the same times, to similar kinds of linguistic information across different languages. But Greek and English are only two of thousands of languages. Our project will test speakers from a wider range of different languages, which have a range of different word formation rules and processes. These languages will include other Indo-European languages like Slovenian and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, in which verbs usually have four or five separate pieces (morphemes), to mark things like tense, aspect, and the person, number and gender of the subject; and Bangla, a language in which verbs often change their pronunciation to mark grammatical features (like English sing~sang or write~written). We will also include Arabic, in which words are made by combining a 3 consonant root like KTB with different vowel 'melodies' (eg. kitab = book, kaatib = writer, katab = 'to read'), and Tagalog, a language in which words can be made by doubling part of the word (eg. 'halo' = 'a mix', 'hahalo' = 'to mix'), or by inserting an affix into the middle of the word (eg. 'h-in-alo' = 'it was mixed'). We'll use the same simple experiment to show speakers of these languages words which break either a category rule (reidea) or a semantic rule (unsmile) to see whether the brain responses we observed for English and Greek are truly universal, and how different word-formation processes might use the same basic language network in different ways.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G060940/1
    Funder Contribution: 3,868,580 GBP

    This program is about using nanostructured materials to address key areas in energy related applications. This proposal will deliver world class materials science through ambitious thin and thick film development and analysis and the proposal targets the EPSRC strategic areas Energy and Nanoscience through nanoengineering. The programme grant will provide the opportunity to integrate three well established research areas that currently operate independently of each other and will establish a new consortium of activities. Collectively they offer the essential ingredients to move this particular field forward. The planned program of work is timely because of the convergence of modelling capability, precision multilayer oxide growth expertise and nanofabrication facilities. The overall vision for the Programme Grant is focussed on Energy. Within the Programme we aim to find means of reducing energy consumption for example by using electro and magnetocaloric means of cooling; generating energy by use of nanoscale rectifying antennas and finally storing energy by photocatalytic splitting of hydrogen from water. Our program is divided into two themed areas:1) Nanostructured oxides for Energy Efficient Refrigeration with 2 project areasElectrocaloricsMagnetocalorics2) Nanostructured oxides for energy production and storage with 2 project areasSolar HarvestingPhotocatalysisThis research will enable :- The development of new materials, new material architectures and new device concepts for energy refrigeration and energy harvesting. The synergy across a range of programs particularly the underpinning activities of materials theory, modelling and characterisation will move these important fields closer to application.- The research will also enable a new forum to be established, with representation from UK and European scientists and industrialists so that broad discussions can be held to enable moving these fields forward. We place a significant emphasis on training, outreach and knowledge transfer.The research challenges that need to be addressed are:- Designing physical systems that are close to an instability so that small external perturbations from magnetic or electric fields, optical or thermal excitation will tip the system into a new ground state- Optimising control over (strain, defects, doping inhomogeneity, disorder) and first layer effects in thin film oxides (with thicknesses of the order of 10nm or less) so that we can develop the capability to tune the band gap of the oxide using directed modelling and targeted growth control.

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