The syntactic structure of a sentence is determined by its functional or closed-class items. In this line of work, we are studying how children analyze closed-class items, asking (i) whether learners’ computations reflect the special role of these items in sentence structure and (ii) how these analyses shape learners’ grammatical representations.

(Getz & Newport, 2018 GALANA talk, 2018 BUCLD poster, and in prep)

Language acquisition researchers have long worried about how children can acquire language despite the Poverty of the Stimulus. In this paper, I argue that whether the input is impoverished depends on a specific view of the learning problem. There may not be enough input for a specific learning approach to work, but one always has to consider the possibility that there exists another approach for which input actually is adequate.

(Getz, 2018, Language Acquisition)

This work focuses on neural entrainment to higher-level grammatical structure (Ding et al., Nature Neuroscience, 2016).  Here we asked how this brain response emerges as learners acquire representations of such structure in a miniature language.

(Getz, Ding, Newport, & Poeppel, 2018, Cognition)

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