CUNY Psycholinguistics Supper: Erin Quirk (CUNY Graduate Center)

OCT 29, 2013 | 6:30 PM TO 8:00 PM

Details

WHERE:

The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue

ROOM:

7102

WHEN:

October 29, 2013: 6:30 PM-8:00 PM

ADMISSION:

Free

Description

Speaker:

Erin Quirk (CUNY Graduate Center)

 

Title:

Children are more formulaic as they develop

 

Abstract:

How formulaic are children in their early linguistic productions?  Prior studies examining formulaicity in children have lacked an adult baseline that is controlled for the child’s smaller vocabulary and output.  The present study addresses this gap via a new automated method for comparing controlled child and adult spontaneous speech data on an established similarity metric, the Dice coefficient.  We make within-speaker comparisons of multi-word sequences (bi-grams and tri-grams) produced by children and the adults they converse with, matching child and adult data for vocabulary size (n-gram types) and output (n-gram tokens).  We find that children become more, not less, formulaic over time, while adults remain stable.  These results suggest that children are not heavily reliant on formulas in earlier stages of acquisition, but instead, converge on adult-like levels of formulaicity as they master this strategy for reducing the processing burden.
[The research reported was undertaken in collaboration with Virginia Valian (Hunter College & Graduate Center, CUNY).]