Maryellen MacDonald has been awarded funding from UW2020 for a project that will test a new theory about an old question: What is special about human language? Her project seeks to link language syntax (the structure of sentences) and nonlinguistic actions, such as executing a sequence of steps in cooking, by harnessing three distinct fields in its approach: language production, planning and executing actions like reaching and stirring a batter, and working memory. Read more about her project, Testing the Action Basis of Language and Language Production.
UW2020 is an initiative that aims to fund innovative, transformative research at UW-Madison. Projects supported through this initiative span multiple disciplines, with 137 faculty and academic staff investigators from 10 schools and colleges represented this year. Check out other projects selected and learn more about UW2020.