Lisa Pearl, cognitive sciences associate professor, has received a $141,500 grant from the National Science Foundation to study strategies children use to learn the intricate structure of their native language, called syntax. To do this, she’ll use both computational and experimental methods, applying complex algorithms to thousands of hours of pre-recorded child-directed speech to understand how children utilize those data to learn the syntax of their language as fast and as well as they do. Findings will help develop a set of large-scale theories of syntactic acquisition and highlight which learning strategies children could use to accomplish this linguistic feat.

Funding for this work began in July 2014 and will run through December 2017.

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