Imme Lammertink has been awarded an ABC Talent Grant for her postdoc research project entitled 'Acquiring Language by Stats and Structure', which she will carry out at the ACLC starting in the autumn 2021.
To become proficient language users children need to learn how their language is structured at the sound, word, and sentence level. A prominent question in the study of language acquisition is whether children use a domain-general learning mechanism or a language-specific learning mechanism to acquire linguistic structure. The goal of this ABC grant is to further develop an empirical paradigm that addresses this question in an ecologically valid but controlled laboratory setting. Children will be playing interactive games in the linguistic and nonlinguistic domain in which their main task is to convey messages to other children participating in the game. Children can only convey these messages using novel, nonexistent words (linguistic domain) or visual shapes (nonlinguistic domain). We will investigate what types of structure emerge in these games and whether children’s linguistic background (monolinguals versus bilinguals) impacts on the types of structure that emerge.