Welcome to the UConn Child Language Lab

Our Research

Our research focuses on the interacting roles of linguistic input and linguistic/cognitive/social/ neurological predispositions in children's acquisition of word meanings, sentence structures, and discourse patterns. Go to our Projects tab to find out more about our current study.  
  • Child Performing IPL Task
    Child watching Intermodal Preferential Looking Paradigm Video

About CLL

What We Do In The Lab

But just how do children use their environmental input? And just what are those abilities and precursors to language learning? This is what we are studying at the UConn Child Language Lab. We study how kids develop in both speaking and understanding, but our focus is on language comprehension because early on, kids really seem to understand more than they can say and we want to give the kids every possible way to show what they know. And as you look through the projects we’re involved in, you’ll see that very young children really understand a lot about language!

How Do Children Learn Language?

Children learn language by observing language use around them. They pay attention to their environment. After all, Chinese kids learn Chinese and Turkish kids learn Turkish. But just as obviously, children come to the language learning ‘task’ equipped with abilities and predispositions unique to humans. After all, chimps and parrots, with all their gifts, don’t learn to talk like we do.

Working with Special Populations

Language impairment, broadly defined, has been considered a core component of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), yet the precise nature of this impairment—and its current status within the ASD diagnosis is unresolved. Our Lab considers both typically developing children and children who have been diagnosed with autism to better answer these questions.

Studying Different Languages

Our Lab also consider how the processes of language acquisition might vary with the specific language being learned. So far we have conducted studies looking at English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Turkish, Japanese, and German.

Early Language

In our early language studies we look at how children learn to acquire language using techniques like IPL (intermodal preferential looking).