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Curriculum Vitae (Updated June 27, 2022)


I am Postdoctoral Researcher in Language Science at the University of California, Irvine, working with Lisa Pearl and funded by an SPRF grant from the National Science Foundation. I am currently investigating the quantity and quality of input that is developmentally meaningful for children learning the same language.

In September 2022, I will starting a position as Lecturer (= Tenured Assistant Professor) in Child Language Acquisition in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University in the UK.

I recently received my Ph.D. in August 2021 from the University of Connecticut. My dissertation is titled The predictive power of lexical semantics on the acquisition of passive voice in young children under the supervision of William Snyder, Lisa Pearl, Diane Lillo-Martin, and Letitia Naigles.

Broadly, my research 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, my research asks:

What can input frequency and lexical semantic features tell us about how children acquire the English verbal passive?

I use a combination of in-depth corpus analysis, computational modeling, behavioral experiments in order to investigate these questions.


Nguyen, E. (2022). Getting Passive by Extending Classes: A Novel Verb-Learning Study with Adults and Children. Invited Talk at Jabberwocky Words in Linguistics. University of Bucharest & University of Massachusetts, Amherst. February 11-12, 2022.

Nguyen, E., Pearl, L. (2021). The link between lexical semantic features and children’s comprehension of English verbal passives. Language Acquisition.

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(Last updated: June 27, 2022)