Iris Nowenstein

Iris Nowenstein

Postdoc in linguistics & speech-language pathologist

University of Iceland & University Hospital of Iceland

My primary research interests are language acquisition and language loss. I want to know how children learn language and how adults sometimes lose language. I also investigate the way in which these mechanisms shape language variation and change, particularly in the context of Icelandic case marking.

In my postdoctoral project, the main focus is on the interface of language and memory in acquisition and aging, with the aim of ultimately contributing to work on developmental language disorders and language difficulties in dementia. I am also currently involved in various efforts to ensure that people in smaller language communities have access to digital health resources which are based on language technology, e.g. automatic speech and language analysis for the diagnosis and monitoring of neurodegenerative diseases. From October 2024 to May 2025, I will be a Fulbright visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Selected talks, posters & publications

Nowenstein, I. In preparation. The Acquisition of Non-Default Rules: A Case for Exceptions. Cambridge University Press.

Nowenstein, I. Stanojevic, M., Örnólfsson, G., Jónsdóttir, M.K., Simpson, B., Sorinas Nerin, J., Bergþórsdóttir, B., Hannesdóttir, K., Novikova, J. & Curcic, J. 2024. Speech and Language Biomarkers of Neurodegenerative Conditions: Developing Cross-Linguistically Valid Tools for Automatic Analysis. RaPID-5 at LREC-COLING.

Callegari, E., Nowenstein, I. Kristjánsdóttir, I.J. & Ingason, A.K. 2024. Automatic Extraction of Language-Specific Biomarkers of Healthy Aging In Icelandic. LREC-COLING.

Nowenstein, I. & Sigurjónsdóttir, S. Forthcoming. Perceived threats to the future of Icelandic and the importance of language acquisition research. Sociolinguistica, 38(2).

Nowenstein, I. & Sigurjónsdóttir, S. 2023. Beyond Dichotomies in Memory and Language: The Case of Icelandic. Talk at the X-PPL 2023, November 6-8.

Rúnarsdóttir, I., Nowenstein, I., Sighvatsdóttir, E. & Thors, H. 2023. Diagnosing Primary Progressive Aphasia in a small language community. Poster presentation at the Nordic Aphasia Conference, June 14-16.

Nowenstein, I., 2023. Building yourself a variable case marking system: The acquisition of Icelandic datives. Doctoral dissertation, University of Iceland.

Angantýsson, Á., Nowenstein, I. & Thráinsson, H. 2023. V2 violations in different variants of Icelandic: A common denominator? Nordic Journal of Linguistics, doi:10.1017/S0332586523000148.

Nowenstein, I. & Sigurjónsdóttir, S. 2022. A case for exceptions: Acquiring Icelandic dative productivity. Poster presentation at the 47th BUCLD, November 3-6.

Nowenstein, I., Ingason, A.K. & Wallenberg, J. 2022. Conditioned Variation: Children Replicate Contrasts, not Parental Variant Rate. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 28(2), 14.

Sigurjónsdóttir, S. & Nowenstein, I. 2021. Language acquisition in the digital age: L2 English input effects on children’s L1 Icelandic. Second Language Research, 37(4), 697–723.

Nowenstein, I. & Ingason, A.K. 2021. Featural dynamics in morphosyntactic change. In J.G. Jónsson & Th. Eythórsson (eds.), Syntactic features and the limits of syntactic change, p. 301–320. Oxford University Press.

Nowenstein, I. 2019. Losing matrix V2 in Icelandic: Evidence from Heritage speakers. Invited talk at an AcqVA V2 workshop, University of Oslo, October 22-23.

Guðmundsdóttir, D., Nowenstein, I. & Sigurjónsdóttir, S. 2019. Changing Variation: Diffuse Directionality in Icelandic Subject Case Substitution. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 25(1), 13.

Sigurðsson, E., Nowenstein, I. & Sigurjónsdóttir, S. 2019. Merge before Agree: Acquiring datives in Insular Scandinavian. Talk at the 34th CGSW workshop, University of Konstanz, June 14-15.

Nowenstein, I., Thráinsson, H. & Magnúsdóttir, S. 2018. Sentence comprehension in Heritage Icelandic: The effect of age-related decline. Talk at the TALV workshop, UiT the Arctic University of Norway, April 19-20.

Arnbjörnsdóttir, B., Thráinsson, H. & Nowenstein, I. 2018. V2 and V3 orders in North-American Icelandic. Journal of Language Contact, 11(3), 379–413.

Nowenstein, I. 2017. Determining the nature of intra-speaker variation. In H. Thráinsson, C. Heycock, Z. Svabo & H. P. Petersen (eds.): Syntactic Variation in Insular Scandinavian, p. 92–112. John Benjamins.

Wood, J., Sigurðsson E.F. & Nowenstein, I. 2017. Inverse Attraction in Icelandic Relative Clauses. In H. Thráinsson, C. Heycock, Z. Svabo & H. P. Petersen (eds.): Syntactic Variation in Insular Scandinavian, p. 200-232. John Benjamins.

Sigurjónsdóttir, S. & Nowenstein, I. 2016. Passives and the “New Impersonal Construction” in Icelandic Language Acquisition. In L. Perkins, R. Dudley, J. Gerard & K. Hitczenko (eds.): Selected Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America, p. 110-121. Cascadilla Press.

Nowenstein, I. 2014. Intra-speaker Variation in Subject Case: Icelandic. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 20(1), 28.