About the Lab

Our research lab is interested in how children learn language. This is because a human language is a very complex, rule-governed system, and yet it is fascinating that children learn their native language in the space of a very few years, at an age when they are unable to master mathematics or other cognitive skills of comparable complexity. Linguists have argued that this rapid learning is possible because a child is born with knowledge of the basic principles of language structure and the parameters of permissible variation.

Our goal is to empirically evaluate the claim that children's evolving grammars are governed by innate principles and parameters. We are also concerned with developing new empirical methods for assessing children's grammatical knowledge.

Recent News

  • PAL featured in CLAS newsletter!
    Dr. William Snyder and Emma Nguyen’s research on children’s understanding of passive sentences and their use of the Truth Value Judgement methodology were featured by the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Special thanks to Laura Snider and Dr. Marie Coppola for their help in making the video. You can read/watch more here.
  • Emma Nguyen | Talk at UUSLAW Fall 2015
    Emma Nguyen gave a presentation at the 2015 UConn-UMass-Smith Language Acquisition Workshop that took place at Smith College on November 17, 2015. Her talk was titled “Some Thoughts on English-Speaking Children’s Comprehension of Long Passives”.
  • Dr. William Snyder | Talk at MIT
    Dr. William Snyder gave a talk at the Experimental Syntax & Semantics/Language Acquisition Lab meeting at MIT, October 14, 2015. His talk was titled “Relativized Minimality in Children’s Passives”.

Recent Publications

Wang, Shuyan. (To appear). Scope Assignment and Scalar Implicatures in Child English: The Role of  Working Memory. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics: Vol. 27.1. Proceedings of the 44th Penn Linguistics Conference (PLC 44). 

Wang, Shuyan, Kido, Yasuhito, and Snyder, William. (2020). Spontaneous production of adjectival resultatives and N-N Compounds in child English. Proceedings of the 44th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 44), ed. Megan M. Brown and Alexandra Kohut, 717-723. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. 

Nguyen, E., Pearl, L. (2019). Using developmental modeling to specify learning and representation of the passive in English children. In The Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 43).

Borga, J. and Snyder, W. (2018). Acquisition of French causatives: Parallels to English passives. Languages 3(2), 18

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Contact Us

Phone: (860) 486-0157
Address: 365 Fairfield Way
Storrs, CT 06269
U-1145 Rm 368

Related Links

UConn K.I.D.S. kids.uconn.edu

UConn Linguistics Department linguistics.uconn.edu

UConn IGERT Program igert.cogsci.uconn.edu