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Personal profile

Research interests

Child language, acquisition of morphology, syntax and semantics, language development in children with language delay (specific language impairment)

Biography

I study children's acquisition of language, in particular, their acquisition of grammatical structures (syntax) and sentence meanings (semantics). My research is conducted within the framework of Chomsky's 'Universal Grammar'. The goal of my research is to understand which aspects of children's knowledge of language are in place at birth, and which aspects are learned over time from the environment. To understand children's developing grammars, I do experiments with young children. Recently, I have also been studying the grammars of children with language delay, sometimes termed specific language impairment.

I am a CI in the Language Program of the ARC Centre of Cognition and its Disorders and Director of the Centre for Language Sciences. Within the Linguistics department, I am Research Director. 

Research student supervision

I am available as an MRes or PhD supervisor for projects in child language acquisition, especially in children's morphological, syntactic and semantic knowledge. I would also consider supervision of projects working with special populations of chlldren on these areas of linguistic knowledge.

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Projects 2006 2017

Centre for Language Sciences (CLaS)

Thornton, R., Crain, S., Peters, P., Cupples, L., Johnston, T., Nickels, L., McMahon, C., Johnson, M., Armstrong, B., Cox, F., Harrison, R., Mannell, R., Napier, J., Newall, P., Rieschild, V., Slatyer, H., Tent, J., Lising, J., Mollering, M., Winchester-Seeto, T., Jensen, B., Palethorpe, S. & Tesan, G.

1/07/07 → …

Project: Research

Appointments and Schedules
Language

Tobii eye-tracker for testing infants and young children

Demuth, K., Grant, K., McMahon, C., Crain, S., Thornton, R., Sharma, M., Cox, F., Tsukada, K., Zhou, P. & Moscati, V.

1/01/1231/12/12

Project: Research

Research Output 1991 2018

An introduction to language

Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., Hyams, N., Amberber, M., Cox, F. & Thornton, R. 2018 9th ed. South Melbourne, Vic.: Cengage Learning. 610 p.

Research output: Book/ReportTextbook

language
student
learning objective
phonetics
syntax

Children’s interpretation of disjunction in negative sentences: a comparison of Turkish and German

Geçkin, V., Thornton, R. & Crain, S. 2018 In : Language Acquisition. 25, 2, p. 197-212 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

interpretation
speaking
animal
language
Eat

Cleft sentences and reconstruction in child language

Thornton, R., Kiguchi, H. & D'Onofrio, E. Jun 2018 In : Language. 94, 2, p. 405-431 27 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

reconstruction
language
linguistics
value judgement
interpretation

Differences in scope assignments for children and adult speakers of Mandarin

Gao, N., Thornton, R., Zhou, P. & Crain, S. 5 Feb 2018 In : Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

speaking
reconstruction
value judgement
syntax
Assignment
Language
Specific Language Impairment
Wh-questions
Syntax
Child Language