Language acquisition

Language acquisition research at UMass investigates the inplications of linguistic theory for our understanding of child and adult language learning, and develops theories of language learning. Research in this area ranges from the logic of acquisition in learnability theory, to the development and study of corpora of child language in a number of languages, to experimentation on topics such as complex structures in syntax, quantification in semantics, implicatures in pragmatics, and the order of acquisition of phonological structure. The Language Acquisition Research Center facilitates contact with work in  second language acquisition and Communication Disorders and enables experimental research in nursery and elementary schools.


Michael Becker
BeckerResearch interests:
Phonology, computational and experimental morphophonology, fieldwork, Semitic
Lisa Green
GreenResearch interests:
Syntax/Semantics with focus on African American English, syntactic variation, L1 Acquisition
Gaja Jarosz
Research interests:
Phonology, Learnability, Computational Modeling, Acquisition
Magda Oiry
Research interests:
Syntax, L1 and L2 Acquisition
Joe Pater
Research interests:
Phonological Theory and Learning, Computational and Experimental Methods
Tom Roeper
Research interests:
L1 and L2 Acquisition, Multiple Grammar Theory, AAE, Syntax, Morphology

Graduate students

Jaieun Kim
KimResearch interests:
Language acquisition, syntax, Korean
Year started:
Alex Nyman
NymanResearch interests:
Phonetics and phonology, language acquisition, computational linguistics, and psycholinguistics
Year started:

Recent dissertations

Brandon Prickett. 2021. Learning phonology with sequence-to-sequence neural networks.

Michael Clauss. 2017. The Form and Acquisition of Free Relatives.

Presley Pizzo. 2015. Investigating Properties of Phonotactic Knowledge Through Web-Based Experimentation.

Robert Staubs. 2014. Computational Modeling of Learning Biases in Stress Typology.

Tanja Heizmann. 2012. Exhaustivity In Questions & Clefts; And The Quantifier Connection: A Study In German And English.

Karen Jesney. 2011. Cumulative Constraint Interaction In Phonological Acquisition And Typology.