This talk will be held in 3401 Walnut Street Room 401B, and livestreamed via Zoom.
The Nascent Lexicon: What Infants Know and How They Come to Know It
Within a range of “normal” exposure and “typical” development, all children acquire language from their environment, on relatively similar timescales. At the same time, both the specific input and cognitive faculty a given child is endowed with dictates what they are in principle able to learn and when. Using data from eye tracking experiments and dense long-form home recordings, I will describe my lab’s work focusing on (a) infants earliest forays into word learning, focusing on conceptual, perceptual, and lexical knowledge and (b) the variability in young children’s home language environment, and how this does (or doesn’t!) predict their growing language knowledge and production. Throughout, I will highlight how iteration between tightly controlled multi-measure lab studies and naturalistic observation is needed to drive theory-building within language and cognitive development in particular, and the study of the mind more broadly construed.