Acoustical Society of America (ASA): Poster presentation, 29 Nov 2021. Click here for a pdf.

Title: "Quantifying phonetic variation: A large-scale corpus analysis of coronal segments in English infant-directed speech."

Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD): Poster presentation, 6 Nov 2021. Click here for a pdf.

Title: "Phonetic variation in coronals in English infant-directed speech: A large-scale corpus analysis"

UCLA Semantics Seminar (invited speaker) -- 20 May 2020. Click here for the handout.

Title: "When you know what to want and think: Asymmetry in the acquisition of attitude verbs." 

Talks & Posters

Invited Talks

UCLA Semantics Seminar (invited speaker) -- 20 May 2020. Click here for the handout.

Title: "When you know what to want and think: Asymmetry in the acquisition of attitude verbs." 

Abstract: Attitude verbs, such as think and want, present an interesting challenge to first language learners because they lack an obvious visual referent, yet children still manage to eventually develop adult-like representations. The acquisition of these verbs is of further interest in the realm of developmental psychology since it has been linked to larger phenomena such as the development of Theory of Mind and false-belief understanding. Beyond its ties to the developmental literature, the acquisition trajectory of certain attitude verbs poses an attractive departure point for semantic work: children learn representational verbs, such as think and believe, much later than desire verbs such as want. In particular, children under the age of 4 appear to have significant difficulty with false complements, rejecting true statements with representational verbs, such as (1), compared to desire verbs as in (2):

(1) Mom thinks Peter is in bed, but he is downstairs playing video games.

(2) Mom wants Peter to be in bed, but he is downstairs playing video games.

 

Previous theories attempting to explain this asymmetry have ranged from those based in syntax and semantics to those based in general cognitive competence. Most recently, Hacquard and Lidz (2019) proposed a syntactic-pragmatic bootstrapping mechanism for the acquisition of these verbs based on several studies showing that in certain contexts, children perform in an adult-like manner with representational and desire verbs alike. I will be presenting the current state of the field, overviewing the empirical findings from attitude verb acquisition studies, past and current theories, and suggesting possible future directions for work on this topic.