Child Language Lab

Child Language Lab

researcher with child

The Child Language Lab, led by Distinguished Professor Katherine Demuth, Dr Titia Benders and Dr Nan Xu Rattanasone, studies the process of child language acquisition. Our goal is to understand the nature of language development in children in order to inform theories of language acquisition and more targeted language therapies, providing an evidence base for health and education policy.

Our research group studies language development in infants, monolingual and bilingual children, children with hearing loss and children with language delay.

We focus primarily on issues at the phonetics/phonology/morphology interface, including the acquisition of grammatical morphology and language processing more generally. This is done by using specifically designed tasks to gather behavioural and neurological evidence of children's developing language abilities in both comprehension and production. Our methods include:

These are the Child Language Lab's main research areas:

  • Bilingualism: How do bilingual or second language learners acquire language? What are their unique strengths and challenges in language processing?
  • Hearing loss: What are the challenges faced by children with hearing loss when it comes to language, communication and listening effort?
  • Production/speech planning: What are the factors that determine how children produce sounds, words, morphemes, prosody and sentences, and how does this change over time?
  • Perception/comprehension/processing: When are children able to recognize sounds, words and morphemes, and predict what's coming next in the sentence?
  • Developmental Language Disorder (Specific Language Impairment (SLI)): Which aspects of language development are delayed in children with DLD/SLI?  Do these children process language differently?

The Child Language Lab is associated with the Centre for Language Sciences (CLaS) at Macquarie University and the Centre of Excellence for Cognition and its Disorders (CCD). It is also affiliated with the Hearing Cooperative Research Centre (HearingCRC).

  • A mother and child

    Our research

    Ongoing research projects headed by Professor Katherine Demuth....

  • A group of people

    Our people

    Meet our diverse group of academics and researchers....

  • A man and a boy. Image by Chris Stacey


    Participate in research to advance child language development for children everywhere....

  • Two women and a child with a computer


    Abstracts, papers, chapters, and other documents....

  • CLL logo


    Twice-monthly digital audio/video recordings of hour-long mother-child spontaneous speech interactions....

Content owner: Department of Linguistics Last updated: 12 Mar 2020 11:06am

Back to the top of this page