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Ten Lectures on Language, Cognition, and Language Acquisition

Melissa Bowerman presented these ten lectures in 2010. Her sudden death in 2011 prevented her from turning them into a book-size publication, as was her intention. Her close colleagues and dear friends Eve Clark and Dan Slobin then took it upon them to edit these lectures for publication - a challenging and delicate exercise. The resulting book is not only a lasting tribute to professor Bowerman as the leading developmental psycholinguist she was, but also the best, up-to-date introduction to the full breadth of her research.
Ten Lectures on Language, Cognition, and Language Acquisition


In her Beijing lectures, Melissa Bowerman presents a lucid introduction and account of her research on a range of topics: how children acquire the semantics of spatial terms, how they construct categories and acquire the semantics of nouns, and how they master the semantics of verbs in early language acquisition. Bowerman also covers the learning of argument structure and expressions of end-state, with special attention to the adult speech that guides children, and hence also the role of typology in acquisition; how cross-linguistic variation affects, for example, how speakers represent ‘cutting’ and ‘breaking’ in different languages, and the relation of the Whorfian Hypothesis to cross-linguistic variations in the semantics of languages. Bowerman’s over-riding concern throughout is with how children come to master the first language being spoken to them by their parents and caregivers.

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This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.



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