I am a sixth year Doctoral Student in Linguistics at the University of Connecticut.
My dissertation title: How language is learned by children: contributions of lexical semantic features and input to the acquisition of the English verbal passive
Broadly, this dissertation asks:
What is the role of evidence, or the language input which must be processed to develop language competence, in the acquisition of complex syntactic structures?
*How might we characterize and quantify evidence?
*How does looking at the evidence differently change the way we perceive the learning problem?
Given that there’s cross-linguistic variation and variation in a child’s input, how do children learn which verbs participate in any given complex syntactic structure (e.g. passives, double-object constructions, etc.).
*How can learning the lexical semantics of a verb be informative for children in such a learning task?
Specifically, this dissertation asks:
What can input frequency and lexical semantic features tell us about how children acquire the English verbal passive?
I used a combination of in-depth corpus analysis, computational modeling, behavioral experiments in order to investigate these questions.
Nguyen, E., & Sprouse, J. (2019). ERP satiation of whether-islands impacts scalp distribution, not amplitude. Talk at The 93nd Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. New York City, NY. January 3-6, 2019. [PDF]
Nguyen, E., & Pearl, L. (2018). Using developmental modeling to specify learning and representation of the passive in English children. Poster at the 42nd Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston University, Boston. [PDF]