Language Acquisition

(Fiorentino, Gabriele, Jongman, Minai, Pye, Sereno, Tremblay)

Research in language acquisition aims to understand the complex processes and mechanisms underlying the acquisition of a first or subsequent language. The goal is to understand how linguistic knowledge is represented in the mind of the learner and how that knowledge develops in the course of acquisition. Our research in both first and second language acquisition examines these questions in a wide variety of languages including Arabic, Chinese, Chol, English, Japanese, K’iche’, Mam, Q’anjob’al and Wolof. Recent projects at KU include cross-linguistic investigations into the acquisition of syntax and semantics (argument structure, word order, complementation, tense and aspect, voice, wh-movement, quantification), phonology, and phonetics (speech perception and production). Our research employs a range of methods, from longitudinal observation to experimental tasks such as elicited production, interpretation, grammaticality judgment, self-paced reading, eye-movement tracking, Event Related Potential (ERP) and fMRI.

This research is supported by multiple laboratories equipped with psycholinguistic testing rooms and dedicated work stations for transcription and data analysis:

Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab (Minai)

Mayan Language Acquisition Lab (Pye)
Second Language Acquisition Lab (Gabriele)

Second Language Processing & Eye-tracking Lab (Tremblay)
Phonetics and Psycholinguistics Lab (Jongman, Sereno, Zhang)
Neurolinguistics and Language Processing Lab (Fiorentino)

In addition, many of our colleagues across campus share research interests in first and second language acquisition.

Child Language Doctoral Program
Marc Fey, Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders
Diane Frome-Loeb, Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders
Susan Kemper, Psychology
Yan Li, East Asian Languages&Cultures
Sanako Mitsugi, East Asian Languages&Cultures
Mabel Rice, Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders
Holly Storkel, Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders
Kim Swanson, French and Italian
Nina Vyatkina, Germanic Languages&Literatures


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