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Predicting Word Learning from Infants' Home Environment
Dr. Elika Bergelson
Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 01:00pm - 02:00pm
Duke University, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
One of the most fascinating aspects of language acquisition is that within a range of "normal" exposure and "typical" development, all children acquire the language in their environment, on a similar timescale. At the same time, the specific input a child gets dictates what she is in principle able to learn: a child who has never seen or heard of kangaroos will not learn the sound or meaning of that word. In this talk I examine the environment for early language acquisition, asking two central questions: 1) how much variability (or redundancy!) is there in the object words that young infants see and hear, at the group and individual level, and 2) how does infants' home environment predict their own productions, and their performance on word comprehension measures in the lab. I will examine these questions within a multimodal, yearlong, longitudinal dataset, dubbed SEEDLingS, which includes 44 infants studied from 6 months to 18 months of age. In particular, I will discuss (very) recent results of several eyetracking studies and corpus analyses emerging from this dataset.