The Language Acquisition Lab

Why Study Language Acquisition?

The ability to speak and understand a language is a distinctly human trait that is foundational to much of our individual, social, and cultural achievements. Typically, children acquire their language or languages within the first 5-6 years of life. How they accomplish this remarkable feat in such a short amount of time is the central topic of the study of child language acquisition. Broadly speaking, the main questions the field aims to answer are:

To what extent is language acquisition dependent on biologically pre-determined brain structures, how are they encoded in the human genome, and how do they mature over the course of the first years of life? To what extent is language acquisition dependent on experience, what type of experience is relevant, and what strategies do children employ in order to extract relevant information from their experience?

Naomi Francis Ayaka Sugawara Ken Wexler Martin Hackl Erin Olson Despina Oikonomou Athulya Aravind Ruth Brillman Amanada Swenson Leo Rosenstein Mia Nussbaum Loes Koring

Info for Parents and Preschools

All News

Laurel Perkins will give a talk on Transitivity Acquisition on Friday, 09/22 at 2:00 PM in 32-D461.
Marie-Christine Meyer will give a talk on Implicature Priming on Thursday, 08/31 at 11:00 AM in 32-D831.
Athulya Aravind and Veronica Boyce will each give a talk at BUCLD 41 (The 41st Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development)! Click "More info" to see details on the talks.
Congratulations Ken! April 30 - May 1, 2016, we held a conference to honor the career and work of Ken Wexler. See the conference page here, and the tributes page here.
Martin Hackl gave a colloquium talk at Cornell University on April 7, 2016, titled "On the role of Question Answer Congruence, Scalar Presupposition, and the Structure of Alternatives in the Acquisition and Processing of Only."
Martin Hackl, Ayaka Sugawara and Ken Wexler gave a talk and presented a poster at BUCLD 39 (The 39th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development).
Ayaka Sugawara and Ken Wexler have recently presented findings at FAJL 7 in Tokyo and the Workshop on Quantifier Scope in Bayonne, France.

Our Partners Include:

background photo by Sebastián Pamos

assistant scientist badge by Konstantinos Roungeris

Address: 32-D808
32 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
Email: lang.acquisition.lab

Our Research Team

Recent Research


List of Partner Preschools

Interested in Becoming a Partner?


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