Department of Linguistics University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Cynthia L Fisher

Professor of Linguistics
Professor of Psychology
Beckman Institute

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  • Address:
    University of Illinois
    Dept. of Psychology, MC-716
    619 Psychology Building
    603 E. Daniel St.
    Champaign, IL 61820
    USA
  • Telephone: (217)333-3545
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Research Interests

Children rapidly acquire the grammar and vocabulary of their native languages. My research explores how they manage this. For example, what information do children use to figure out the meanings of verbs? In a series of studies in which novel verbs are taught to preschoolers in different grammatical contexts, children interpret verbs in different sentence structures as describing different aspects of the same events. Other work in my lab explores special properties of speech addressed to young children and infants, and young children's representation of speech they hear. These lines of research suggest that young children can use isomorphisms between levels of linguistic structures to gain access to successively deeper analyses of language, from sound to syntax to meaning.