Language Acquisition

My work in Language Acquisition attempts to connect theoretical results in syntax to experimental investigations of young children's language. We have been testing hypotheses about children's interpretations of definite noun phrases in both English and Spanish. These two language differ in subtle ways in their use of definite determiners, but the external distribution of the morphosyntactic forms is quite similar. This creates an interesting acquisition problem. In particular, we are interested in uses of the definite which are in some respects 'non-canonical', for example, the use of the definite to form generic interptetations, and the use of the definite in contexts of inalienable possession.

I am also interested in the patterns of 'misuse' of definites, and whethet children are able to understand the uniqueness presupposition that definites carry.

I am also interested in the acquisition of comparatives, and the acquisition of implicatures.

You can find out more about this research at the MSU Language Acquisition Lab site.

Last modified: December 24, 2010