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Linguistic diversity in child language acquisition research
An adequate theory of child language acquisition presupposes an evidential base that is representative of the typological diversity present in the world’s languages. However, despite a proud history of crosslinguistic research, the field has barely scratched the surface when it comes to language coverage.
In the first half of this talk, I will present an archival analysis of the four major child language journals (Journal of Child Language, First Language, Language Acquisition, and Language Learning and Development), which showed that the data upon which we are basing our knowledge is severely skewed towards English and a handful of similar Indo-European languages. I then discuss how studying typologically diverse languages can test and challenge current theoretical positions in important ways, drawing from recent work my group has conducted on Tagalog.
Speaker Professor Evan Kidd
Evan Kidd is a Professor of Linguistics at The Australian National University.
Evan trained as a psycholinguist (La Trobe University), and across his career has conducted research on children’s language acquisition and language processing, primarily on issues relating to morphosyntax in both monolingual and bilingual contexts. He also works on socio-cognitive processes underlying early language development (e.g., symbolic play, joint attention, gesture). Much of his research takes an explicit cross-linguistic and cross-cultural approach.