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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

Research Outputs

Like dishwashing detergents, all analogies are not the same: a commentary on Ambridge (2020)

Koring, L., Giblin, I., Thornton, R. & Crain, S., 6 Feb 2020, In : First Language. 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Subject–aux inversion in children with SLI

    Rombough, K. & Thornton, R., Aug 2019, In : Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. 48, 4, p. 921-946 26 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • The interpretation of disjunction in VP ellipsis in Mandarin Chinese

    Gao, N., Thornton, R., Zhou, P. & Crain, S., Apr 2019, Three streams of generative language acquisition research. Ionin, T. & Rispoli, M. (eds.). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, p. 107-124 18 p. (Language Acquisition and Language Disorders; vol. 63).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Open Access
  • When OR is conjunctive in child Mandarin

    Huang, D., Thornton, R. & Crain, S., Apr 2019, Three streams of generative language acquisition research. Ionin, T. & Rispoli, M. (eds.). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, p. 125-142 18 p. (Language Acquisition and Language Disorders; vol. 63).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Open Access
  • 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