Heidi Waterfall

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The present longitudinal study examines the role of caregiver speech in language development, especially syntactic development, using 47 parent-child pairs of diverse SES background from 14 to 46 months. We assess the diversity (variety) of words and syntactic structures produced by caregivers and children. We use lagged correlations to examine language(More)
This article examines caregiver speech to young children. The authors obtained several measures of the speech used to children during early language development (14-30 months). For all measures, they found substantial variation across individuals and subgroups. Speech patterns vary with caregiver education, and the differences are maintained over time.(More)
Variation set structure--partial overlap of successive utterances in child-directed speech--has been shown to correlate with progress in children's acquisition of syntax. We demonstrate the benefits of variation set structure directly: in miniature artificial languages, arranging a certain proportion of utterances in a training corpus in variation sets(More)
We used a syntactic priming paradigm to show priming effects for active and passive forms in monolingual Spanish-speaking four- and five-year-olds. In a baseline experiment, we examined children's use of the fue-passive form and found it was virtually non-existent in their speech, although they produced important elements of the form. Children used a more(More)
How are hierarchically structured sequences of objects, events or actions learned from experience and represented in the brain? When several streams of regularities present themselves, which will be learned and which ignored? Can statistical regularities take effect on their own, or are additional factors such as behavioral outcomes expected to influence(More)
This paper presents the results of a longitudinal examination of syntactic skills, starting at the age of emergence of simple sentences and continuing through the emergence of complex sentences. We ask whether there is systematic variability among children from different socioeconomic backgrounds in the early stages of sentence production. The results(More)
Questions concerning the role of input in the growth of syntactic skills have generated substantial debate within psychology and linguistics. The authors address these questions by investigating the effects of experimentally manipulated input on children's skill with the passive voice. The study involved 72 four-year-olds who listened to stories containing(More)
This paper reports progress in developing a computer model of language acquisition in the form of (1) a generative grammar that is (2) algorithmically learnable from realistic corpus data, (3) viable in its large-scale quantitative performance and (4) psychologically real. First, we describe new algorithmic methods for unsupervised learning of generative(More)
Previous research has used cross-linguistic priming methodology with bilingual adults to explore the nature of their syntactic representations. The present paper extends the use of this methodology to bilingual children to investigate the relation between the syntactic structures of their two languages. Specifically, we examined whether the use of passives(More)
Priming methodology was previously used to investigate children's ability to represent abstract syntactic forms. Existing evidence indicates that following exposure to a particular syntactic structure (such as the passive voice), English-speaking children increase their production of that structure with new lexical items. In the present work, we utilize(More)