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Turning adults into children

Using a web platform, we ask adults to perform different tasks under constraints designed to mimic the constraints that children face.

Computer-assisted experiments over the web

We are currently developing an experiment for two-year-olds (and their parent) that can be performed over the web.

Automated analyses of child corpora

We are performing computerized analyses of child corpora.  One project examines
the extent to which children’s early productions are similar to their parents’.  Our work suggests that even at the beginning of combinatorial speech children abstractly represent syntactic categories and have an abstract – if limited – grammar.  Another school of thought suggests that children copy their parents and have little grammatical knowledge.  We are trying to answer this question by looking at transcriptions of children’s early speech and their parental input, using both cross-sectional and longitudinal corpora.  We examine similarities and differences between children and their parents and also examine how productive children’s early uses of different syntactic categories are.

We are also examining early child speech to determine how much of it is structured and how much is unstructured.

Rapid Changes in Young Children’s Speech

Ages 15-22 months
Male and female
English speaking only
Normal hearing

We are interested in children’s earliest multi-word speech, especially children who are developing rapidly.  We want to understand periods of rapid change in children’s language and the developments that occur at this time. We are also interested in learning how parents speak to children.

A preliminary session of approximately 1 hour will help us determine whether it is the best time to work with your child or whether it is perhaps too soon. If we find that your child’s language is in the stage of rapid change, you will be invited to participate in 1 to 12, 1-hour long sessions, held approximately once a week.

In the study, we ask parents to talk in a “natural” way with their children, perhaps assisted by looking at books together.