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Language Acquisition

Language Acquisition

  • Constructionist Approaches

    Adele Goldberg

    This course emphasizes the commonalities among words, idioms and more abstract syntactic patterns in that all are learned pairings of form and function, at varying levels of complexity and abstraction. This emphasis allows us to draw many parallels between language and other cognitive processes such as categorization, parallels that in turn raise the issue of whether language may emerge from a combination of general cognitive abilities, without requiring a unique language faculty.

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  • From input to production through perception: Making the most of extant data in early language acquisition research

    Amanda Seidl, Alex Cristia

    Studying early language development is incredibly demanding, in part due to the difficulty of gathering the relevant data. Fortunately, recent advances in a number of domains are facilitating the acquisition and consolidation of massive amounts of data. In this mini-course, we will discuss some of these recent developments and the new opportunities, and challenges, they afford to linguists interested in development. Additionally, we will demonstrate how to make use of large datasets that are publicly available today through brief tutorials.

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  • Introduction to Bilingualism

    Virginia Yip, Ping Li

    This course introduces theoretical and methodological issues in the study of bilingualism. The first half of the course focuses on bilingual acquisition in early childhood. We examine how children develop two languages in families where they are exposed to dual input from birth. The issues covered include language differentiation, cross-linguistic influence and code-mixing in bilingual development. Data from the language development of children acquiring Chinese and English, as well as other language pairs will be used for illustration.

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  • Introduction to Language Acquisition

    Jeff Lidz

    This course addresses fundamental issues in developmental linguistics. We will examine data about children’s language acquisition through the lenses of learning and linguistic competence. Key topics to be covered include: The Poverty of the Stimulus and Universal Grammar; Associationist vs. hypothesis driven theories of learning; The role of direct, implicit and indirect negative evidence; Differences between input and intake; Bootstrapping theories and cross-domain inference; and, The role of extralinguistic cogntive and information capacities in language acquisition.

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  • Language and the Body

    Daniel Casasanto, Susan Goldin-Meadow

    Language isn't created by a computer, or a brain in a jar. It's created by people using their bodies to interact with each other and the world around them. Since the human body is both the birthplace of language and the instrument through with language is produced and perceived, the structure and content of language are profoundly shaped by specifics of our bodies.

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  • Second Language Acquisition

    Silvina Montrul, Tania Ionin

    Second language acquisition refers to the acquisition of another language after the foundations of the native language are in place. This course will cover second language acquisition of different linguistic domains (syntax, semantics, phonology, morphology), by both child and adult learners. The topics covered will include: the linguistic nature of interlanguage grammars; age effects and the Critical Period Hypothesis; L1 transfer, fossilization, and access to Universal Grammar in second language acquisition; and second language processing.

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  • Sign Language Linguistics

    Diane Brentari

    This course provides and overview of the field of sign language linguistics by looking at three sub-areas of sign language research that have contributed to our understanding of language more broadly over the last 50 years: (1) iconicity, meaning and morphology; (2) language evolution, language acquisition and language emergence; (3) the influence of communication modality on linguistic and neurophysiology.The essentials of sign language structure will be covered in the course lectures, and the supplemental readings provide more detail about the topics of sign language structure that figure

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  • The Computational Theory of the Error-driven Ranking Model of the Acquisition of Phonotactics

    Giorgio Magri

    Nine-month-olds already display knowledge of the native phonotactics, namely react differently to licit versus illicit sound combinations. Children must thus rely on a remarkably efficient phonotactic learning procedure. What does it look like? Assume that the learner is provided with the typology of OT grammars corresponding to all rankings of a given constraint set. Data come in a stream and consist of licit phonological forms.

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  • The Emergence of Hybrid Grammars: Pidgins, Creoles, and Beyond

    Enoch Aboh

    Children are extremely gifted in acquiring their native languages, but languages nevertheless change over time. Why does this paradox exist? In this course, we address this question by studying pidgin and creole languages. More precisely, we examine how, in a situation of contact, syntactic and semantic features of different language types or varieties may recombine into a new emergent linguistic system.

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