more options

Words of the World’s Children

Description of the Collection

This collection includes research data and related materials from almost 40 years of study of language acquisition created by the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab and by the international Virtual Center for Language Acquisition ( Research data collected across the world from numerous languages are included: English, Sinhala, Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, and Arabic are reflected each through a series of experimental and naturalistic studies with children, aged 2 to 8 years of age, eliciting speech production and comprehension. Subsequent research includes: Spanish, Korean, German, Dutch, Tulu, Inuktitut, French, Tamil, and Malayalam. Additional data involving multilingual language acquisition include: Basque-Spanish, Hebrew-English, and Korean-English bilingual child data, as well as adult second language (English) data including Indonesian, Italian and Chinese and a contrastive study of Spanish and Japanese acquisition of English.

Much of these language data derive from experimental designs allowing unique comparability across languages across the developmental course of language acquisition, with children grouped by age. Research data include audio files as well as metadata on each subject, transcripts and translations across languages, supplemented by lab records on the experimental methods used in each study, allowing their replication on future studies. Multilingual child acquisition data are supported by video recordings for several longitudinal case studies.

Research data and materials are supplemented by archived course materials that support survey courses on language acquisition, and on multilingual acquisition, and also teachings of laboratory methods for the study of language acquisition. Course materials include video modules introducing methods for eliciting language production and comprehension data from children under scientific research methods. They exemplify several published experimental studies resulting from such methods.

In addition, the collection includes course materials for the study of the cognitive psychologist, Jean Piaget, and the ‘Growth of the Mind’ (234, 334, 434).

All data and materials have been collected by a number of interdisciplinary Principal Investigators or groups of investigators, each generally an expert in one language or another, and each a director of selected data sets which they have collected and analyzed.

  • Maria Blume, Spanish
  • Jennifer Austin, Spanish-Basque bilingualism
  • Yuchin Chien, Chinese
  • Claire Foley and Cristina Dye, French
  • Katharina Boser, German
  • Shamitha Somashekar, Tulu, and Hindi
  • Tatsuko Wakayama, Japanese
  • Reiko Mazuka, Japanese
  • Yarden Kedar, Hebrew
  • James W. Gair, (in memorium), Sinhala (with Milan Rodrigo, Kalyani Karunatillake and John Rogers)
  • David Parkinson, Inuktitut
  • Isabelle Barbier, Dutch
  • Suzanne Flynn, English and bilingualism
  • Gita Martohardjono, (adult) bilingualism
  • Carissa Kang, child bilingualism (Chinese-Malay-English)
  • Alicia (Ah-Young) Kim, child bilingualism, Korean

Research has been funded by a number of NSF grants: NSF7825115, and dissertation grants to Reiko Mazuka and David Parkinson. Development of a cyberinfrastructure for the collection, preservation and archiving of research data has been funded by NSFOCI-0753415 to Maria Blume and Barbara Lust, NSF 0437603 to Janet McCue (Mann Library) and Barbara Lust, and a Planning Grant for the VCLA to Barbara Lust NSF BCS 0126546. An open course in multilingual language acquisition has been funded by the Cornell University Provost Grant:

Course materials have been assembled into a Virtual Linguistic Lab (VLL) through a web based portal: Research data and metadata are now being gradually digitized and integrated into a cyberinfrastructure for shared and collaborative research, through a new cybertool, a Data Transcription and Analysis (DTA) Tool, linked to the VLL. (See Blume and Lust, 2017, Research Methods in Language Acquisition, de Gruyter; Pareja Lora, Blume and Lust (eds), in press, Linked Open Data in Linguistics, MIT Press.)