Much of the research in our projects is based on experimental data, and in 2008 we established a language acquisition lab on campus, funded by CASTL and the Department of Language and Linguistics. Here we conduct experiments with children and adults in order to investigate various grammar phenomena, e.g. word order in wh-questions, embedded clauses, etc. In 2014 we purchased an eye tracker to the lab (funded by the HSL faculty), an SMI RED 500. With the eye tracker, we have for example run experiments that target the processing of gender markers in Norwegian and children’s understanding of spatial information in speech.
Getting children to produce specific clause types is often quite a challenge, and our experiments are carefully designed and tested in pilot studies before the actual investigation starts. We elicit sentences from the children with the help of hand puppets. A typical set-up is that the hand puppet is too shy to talk to adults, and we ask the child to help us communicate with it. In our eye tracking experiments, we use child friendly images combined with simple verbal stimuli. We then measure how different linguistic cues trigger the children to focus their attention to relevant parts of the images.
The lab can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org