Signal analysis for linguists

This course is part of the programme
Cognitive science of language Third Level

Objectives and competences

The objective is to introduce the students to the basics of signal analysis in order to be able to understand and interpret results of quantitative measurements of various types of linguistic signals in the form of time series, while concentrating on particular markers of time series that have been proven to carry linguistic significance. The course prepares the students for potential engagement in experimental investigations of language using sophisticated brain imaging technologies such as functional MRI, Event Related Potentials (EEG, MEG) etc.

The acquired competences are:
• Ability to interpret various types of signal analysis pertaining to psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics
• Ability to understand and critically evaluate present-day literature in experimental psycholinguistics and neuroscience of language
• The ability to critically relate the results of experimental investigations of language, while being informed of the possibilities and limitations of the current methods of analyzing linguistic signal.


Introduction to phonology, Introduction to psycholinguistics, Uvod v kognitivne znanosti


The course will focus on at least two of the following types of signal analysis:
• acoustic signal analysis (as relevant to experimental phonetics);
• electrophysiological signal analysis in electroencephalograms (EEG), particularly within the paradigm of Event Related Potentials
• signal analysis in magnitoencephalography (MEG)
• visuo-spatial signal analysis as employed in fMRI brain imaging research on language.

Intended learning outcomes

-Knowledge of the neurological markers of specific kinds of linguistic (grammar-related) behaviour
-Knowledge of the specific areas in experimental linguistics that rely on signal analysis


• Tohyama M., and T. Koike. 1998. Fundamentals of Acoustic Signal Processing. Elsevier.
• Allefeld, C., P. beim Graben und J. Kurths. 2008. Advanced Methods of Electrophysiological Signal Analysis and Symbol Grounding: Dynamical Systems Approaches to Language. Nova Science Publishers Inc.
• Russell A. Poldrack, Jeanette A. Mumford und Thomas E. Nichols. 2011. Handbook of Functional MRI Data Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Vezana na konkretno vsebino predmeta (članki iz znanstvenih revij v okviru nevrolingvistike in psiholingvistike)


• Active participation at the lectures (50%), • final project on the topic connected with the course content (50%).

Lecturer's references

Full professor of Language Science at the University of Reading.


  1. Grindrod, P., Stoyanov, Z. V., Smith, G. M. and Saddy, J. D. (2013) Primary evolving networks and the comparative analysis of robust and fragile structures. Journal of Complex Networks. ISSN 2051-1329
  2. Marinis, T. and Saddy, D. (2013) Parsing the passive: comparing children with Specific Language Impairment to sequential bilingual children. Language Acquisition, 20 (2). pp. 155-179. ISSN 1048-9223.
  3. Salis, C. and Saddy, J. D. (2011) Comprehension of wh-questions in a case of mixed dementia. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 24 (2). pp. 456-462. ISSN 0911-6044.
  4. Williams, N., Nasuto, S. and Saddy, D. (2011) Evaluation of empirical mode decomposition for event-related potential analysis. EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing, 2011. pp. 1-11. ISSN 1687-6180
  5. Venkatesh, M., Edwards, S. and Saddy, D. (2011) Production and comprehension of English and Hindi in multilingual transcortical aphasia. Journal of Neurolinguistics. ISSN 0911-6044