Language Acquisition Facility
The Language Acquisition Facility provides up-to-date technical support to researchers that wish to work on children's language development. Digital video recording equipment and sound recording equipment are available for data collection and analysis. This facility also hosts a large toy library, assembled over the years to provide props for our experimental studies with children. The staff members who are responsible for this facility are Professor Rosalind Thornton and Professor Stephen Crain, Dr. Iain Giblin and Dr. Loes Koring.
The Language Acquisition Facility in the Australia Hearing Hub provides a welcoming environment for studies with children aged 18 months and upwards. There is a waiting room for children across the hallway. The Language Acquisition Lab has a child-friendly room where we can conduct our language studies with children. We also go to a variety of child care centres and carry out our investigations about child language acquisition on site.
Our researchers work on children’s acquisition of morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Much of the research in our lab has focused around children's acquisition of logical words such as 'or' and 'and' and how these words are interpreted in different sentence contexts in different languages. Recently, members of our team have been investigating how these logical words function in English, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. Another topic we have been working on is ‘recursion’. We want to know whether children are able to embed a phrase of one type into another phrase of the same type. For example, can children produce one possessive phrase inside another possessive phrase in phrases like ‘Elmo’s sister’s cat’? This is of interest because the ability to use recursion is said to be a uniquely human property. Other topics our group has worked on are negation, question structures, and the interpretation of complex sentences containing words like ‘every’, and ‘some’.
We have a lively team of research students and collaborators, and we welcome new students who are interested in joining us on this and other related projects on the acquisition of syntax and semantics. Our current students work on English, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, but we welcome students who speak other languages too.