Language, ACQuisition, DIVersity [ˈækdɪv] Lab

Chintang grandmother with child

One of the most burning questions in cognitive science has yet to be answered: what are the cognitive mechanisms that enable children to learn any of the more than 7000 languages spoken today?  Each of these languages comes with unique and widely differing demands on what needs to be learned — from different sound inventories and conjugation classes to different syntactic constructions and patterns in the lexicon — and each is embedded in substantially varying cultural and social settings. How can children learn without much effort any of these extremely diverse and highly complex systems? 

 

In the ACQDIV Lab we systematically explore to what extent language acquisition processes and strategies are used universally.
 

In search of universal processes and mechanisms, ACQDIV analyses data from maximally diverse language clusters. Taking less well-known languages into consideration is crucial for our enterprise: research on language acquisition is heavily biased towards comparatively big European languages spoken in WEIRD cultures (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic, Henrich 2010), which are all very similar to each other, so data from these languages do not help much in answering the question how children deal with diversity.

News

  • Sabine Stoll gives a talk on 'Universal mechanism of language development: the maximum diversity approach' at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru.

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  • Sabine Stoll will give a keynote on 'Patterns in the input and their impact for language development' at the 5th Annual International Language and Communicative Development Conference in Manchester, June 23-1

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  • Steven Moran, Nicholas Lester, Heath Gordon, Sabine Stoll and colleagues publish their article "Variation Sets in Maximally Diverse Languages" in the Proceedings of the 43rd annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD). Proceedings: http://www.cascadilla.com/bucld43toc.html. Direct link: http://www.lingref.com/bucld/43/BUCLD43-34.pdf.

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  • Dagmar Jung gives an invited lecture on 'Integrating first language acquisition into language documentation in the field' at the University of Toronto, on April 17th.

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  • In the context of the creation of a professorship ad personam for psycholinguistics, Prof. Dr. Sabine Stoll will give a lecture entitled "Erstspracherwerb in maximal verschiedenen Sprachen". The lecture will take place on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 10:00 in the main building (KOL F 118). Everybody is cordially invited.

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