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Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D. (Cornell University) maintains a very active and productive laboratory whose focus is language acquisition. She has developed new methods (the Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm and its 3-D version) to assess children’s lexical and syntactic learning through the route of language comprehension. Much of her research is couched in the context of her theory, the Emergent Coalition Model, a hybrid theory that emphasizes how multiple forms of information (perceptual, social, and linguistic) influence the process of acquisition. She is also concerned with the role of infant-directed speech in language learning, the process of segmentation, and the acquisition of verbs, in particular, as they appear to require considerable effort on the child’s part. Her laboratory also studies the conceptual underpinnings of language learning, seeking to understand how infants come to perceive and conceptualize components of events (such as path and manner, figure and ground) that will find their way into verbs and prepositions in the world’s languages.
language acquisition, verbs, precursors, segmentation, theory development
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