The primary focus of my research is language acquisition in children, especially the early acquisition of syntax and morphosyntax. My work spans many areas of language development including the development of functional structure in early grammar (eg null subjects, verb inflection and root infinitives), aspect and eventivity, binding principles and control, ergativity and auxiliary selection in Romance, and most recently, raising Structures and evidentiality. I think that cross-linguistic comparisons are very revealing of the underlying language acquisition processes and with the collaboration of my many students and colleagues I have studied in several languages including English, Italian, Greek, Dutch, German, Swahili, Japanese, Icelandic , Malagasy, Cape Verdean Creole, European Portuguese, among others, using both naturalistic and experimental techniques. In my work I try to explore the interaction of different components of language in development, for example, at the interface of syntax and semantics / pragmatics, as well as the effects of production vs. Comprehension of early language. I am especially interested in models of Universal Grammar and parameter setting and their role in current language development.
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