Johanna Schelhaas


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Works at Department of Linguistics
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 C, plan 2-3
Room C 354
Postal address Institutionen för lingvistik 106 91 Stockholm


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Johanna Schelhaas (et al.).

    In this thesis, the usage of iconic expressions, or sound symbolic expressions, is investigated in Swedish child-directed speech during the first two years of life. Furthermore, it is explored whether there is an effect of the usage of sound symbolism on productive vocabulary at 2;0 years. Ten monolingual Swedish and typically-developing children and their parents were selected at the ages of 0;3, 0;6, 0;9, 1;0, 1;3, 1;6, 1;9 and 2;0 years. The sound symbolic expressions were extracted, classified and analysed. One finding is that sound symbolic expressions are used by all parents in varying degrees from sparsely to abundantly. On average 0,9 sound symbolic expressions were used per minute by all parents. There was no significant effect of the usage of sound symbolism on productive vocabulary. Nevertheless, this work shows that iconicity is used in early childhood and might be a part of the register child-directed speech. Further studies should investigate more thoroughly the effect of iconicity on language acquisition.

  • 2016. Johanna Renate Schelhaas (et al.).

    Research on semantic processing focused mainly on isolated units in language, which does not reflect the complexity of language. In order to understand how semantic information is processed in a wider context, the first goal of this thesis was to determine whether Swedish pre-school children are able to comprehend semantic context and if that context is semantically built up over time. The second goal was to investigate how the brain distributes attentional resources by means of brain activation amplitude and processing type. Swedish preschool children were tested in a dichotic listening task with longer children’s narratives. The development of event-related potential N400 component and its amplitude were used to investigate both goals. The decrease of the N400 in the attended and unattended channel indicated semantic comprehension and that semantic context was built up over time. The attended stimulus received more resources, processed the stimuli in more of a top-down manner and displayed prominent N400 amplitude in contrast to the unattended stimulus. The N400 and the late positivity were more complex than expected since endings of utterances longer than nine words were not accounted for. More research on wider linguistic context is needed in order to understand how the human brain comprehends natural language. 

Show all publications by Johanna Schelhaas at Stockholm University

Last updated: August 27, 2018

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