Start-end : 2011-2019



The project aims at characterizing the grammar of children’s very early utterances. It aims to do so both in terms of offering a detailed, formal analysis of the syntax, semantics and context of the children’s productions in spontaneous conversation, but also how these emerge as a consequence of interaction with the child’s caregivers and plausible priors.


Results : 

Many of the achievements of OLA8 arose through the PhD work of Sara Moradlou (to be defended in spring 2019) as well as international collaborations with Ye Tian (now at Amazon, UK), Dagmar Bittner (ZAS, Berlin), and Xiaobei Zheng (Shenzhen U). One important achievement of OLA 8 has been a detailed corpus-based and formal description of the one word stage based on data from the Providence corpus. A second achievement concerns corpus-based and detailed experimental work showing that children understand wh—questions before polar questions in English, German, and Chinese. A third result concerns the emergence of clarification requests: we have shown that the order of emergence of different possible forms in English is quite different from the input they receive and offered formal modelling of this.