The research carried out in the Language Acquisition Research Laboratory focuses on the study of first, second and third language acquisition, bilingualism, language contact and heritage language. It provides training and support to graduate students interested in those areas of research. The lab's approach is interdisciplinary in that it combines linguistics and developmental and cognitive psychology; group and individual research is carried out using a variety of psycholinguistic methodologies, including on-line and off-line experiments, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, and the collection and analysis of spontaneous and elicited production data.
Recent and ongoing research includes studies on native and non-native compounding, derivational processes and inflectional processes, the representation of gender in the bilingual mind, clitic pronouns, Spanish-Wayuunaiki language contact, Spanish-English-Nahuatl language contact, as well as studies on the status of null and overt subjects in pro-drop and partial pro-drop languages, copula omission, anaphora, topicalization, resumptive pronouns and complex wh-constructions in native and non-native grammars, root infinitives in null subject languages and the morphosyntax and semantics of aspect in non-native grammars. We also examine child L2 acquisition, grammatical constraints on child and adult code-mixing, bilingualism as a first language, and the relationship between language development, diachronic change and the emergence of creole languages.
The Language Acquisition Laboratory collaborates with researchers from other departments and universities. We are presently working on projects with researchers from the Department of Linguistics and the School of Psychology of the University of Ottawa, the University of Western Ontario, as well as several universities in Spain such as the University of Valladolid, Pompeu Fabra University, the University of Cantabria and the University of Granada.