Nous accueillons à partir du 28 mars 2018 le professeur Yasuhiro Shirai de la Case Western Reserve University (USA) pour une série de quatre séminaires sur le thème :

Where do universals of language acquisition, processing, and disorders come from? A cross-linguistic, corpus-based approach.

Ces séminaires se dérouleront selon le calendrier ci-dessous à à la Maison de la Recherche, 4 rue des Irlandais, 75005 Paris – Salle de Formation.

Abstract : In this seminar, I plan to give four talks, which outline the importance of corpus-based language acquisition research and how it can contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of language acquisition, both first and second. During the past 30 years (starting in Shirai 1990), I have conducted cross-linguistic research in the acquisition lexical and grammatical properties of language, mainly using corpus data, by systematically analyzing both learners’ production and the input they are exposed to, within various linguistic domains (e.g. tense-aspect marking, noun-modifying clause constructions, causative constructions, polysemy), and have tried to understand universals and particulars of language acquisition (Shirai 2015). Partly due to my own work (see e. g. Tomasello 2003: 219-220), the field now has a better understanding of the important role input plays in the acquisition of language (e.g. Shirai 1994, Shirai & Andersen 1995, Ozeki & Shirai 2007).

28 mars- 17h-19h Seminar 1: Lexical and grammatical aspect in language acquisition, processing, and disorders.  This talk will discuss how the frequency analysis of native and learner data can contribute to our understanding of how lexical and grammatical aspect interact in language acquisition, processing and disorders.

Attached files :
Paris-Lecture1aspect-2018 (PPT)

Lexical and Grammatical Aspect in Language Acquisition, Processing, and Disorders (PDF)

Lexical Aspect and the Use of Verb Morphology by Children With Specific Language Impairment (PDF)

Aspectual asymmetries in the mental representation of events: Role of lexical and grammatical aspect (PDF)

On the overgeneralization of progressive marking on stative verbs: bioprogram or input? (PDF)

The Acquisition of Tense-Aspect Morphology: A Prototype Account (PDF)


4 avril-17h-19h Seminar 2: The acquisition of relative clauses: A crosslinguistic, corpus-based approach.  Although previous research focused on the experimental paradigm, which sometimes lacked ecological validity, a more comprehensive picture of relative clause acquisition has become clearer, thanks to crosslinguistic corpus-based research in this domain. I will discuss such research primarily focusing on English (Diessel & Tomasello, 2000), Japanese (Ozeki & Shirai, 2007, 2010) and Chinese (Chen & Shirai, 2015), with particular reference to subject-object asymmetry and Comrie’s (e.g. 2002) new typology of attributive vs. relative clauses.


9 avril 17h-19h Seminar 3: The current state of the Aspect Hypothesis in first and second language acquisition: Exceptions that prove the rule.  The Aspect Hypothesis (e.g. Andersen & Shirai 1994) predicts strong associations between telic verbs and past/perfective markers, between atelic verbs and general imperfective markers, and between activity verbs and progressive markers in L1 and L2 acquisition. I will examine conditions under which these predictions are not supported, which I will argue settles the debate on whether such associations are observed due to universal predispositions (e.g. Bickerton, 1981) or input frequency.

Paris-Lecture3 (PPT)

Temporality in first and second language acquisition (PDF)

The development of aspectual marking in Cantonese-English bilingual children (PDF)


11 avril 17h-19h Seminar 4: Corpus-based language research: Its promises and limitations.  I will discuss strength and limitations of corpus-based language (acquisition) research. In particular, I will argue for the importance of  (1) avoiding speculative assumptions (2) comparing native and learner data (3) looking at actual use, not just relying on quantitative data, (4) using both corpus data and experimental data and (5) frequency analysis within particular linguistic domains.

Andersen, R. & Shirai, Y. (1994). Discourse motivations for some cognitive acquisition principles. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 16, 133-156.

Bickerton, D. (1981). Roots of language. Ann Arbor, MI: Karoma.

Chen, J. & Shirai, Y. (2015). The acquisition of relative clauses in spontaneous child speech in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Child Language, 42, 394-422.

Comrie, B. (2002). Typology and language acquisition: The case of relative clauses. In A. Giacalone Ramat (Ed), Typology and second language acquisition (pp. 19–37). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Diessel, H., & Tomasello, M. (2000). The development of relative clauses in spontaneous child speech. Cognitive Linguistics, 11, 131-152.

Ozeki, H. & Shirai, Y. (2007). The consequences of variation in the acquisition of relative clauses: An analysis of longitudinal production data from five Japanese
children. In Y. Matsumoto, D. Y. Oshima, O. W. Robinson & P. Sells (Eds.), Diversity in language: Perspectives and implications (pp. 243-270). Stanford, CA: CSLI

Ozeki, H. & Shirai, Y. (2010). Semantic bias in the acquisition of Japanese relative clauses. Journal of Child Language, 37, 197 – 215.

Shirai, Y. (1990). Putting PUT to use: Prototype and metaphorical extension. Issues in Applied Linguistics, 1, 78-97.

Shirai, Y. (1994). On the overgeneralization of progressive marking on stative verbs: Bioprogram or input? First Language, 14, 67-82.

Shirai, Y. (2015). Frequency effects in grammatical development: A cross-linguistic, functional approach to form-function mapping . Journal of Child Language, 42, 312-

Shirai, Y. & Andersen, R. (1995). The acquisition of tense/aspect morphology: A prototype account. Language, 71, 743-62.

Tomasello, M. (2003). Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.