The Cornell Language Acquisition Lab (CLAL) is the center for study of first language acquisition at Cornell. The lab is interdisciplinary, combining developmental psychology with linguistics, in order to compare first language acquisition across many languages, and so answer questions about the properties of language development:

  • What is biologically programmed about language knowledge and its acquisition?

  • What must be acquired and how?

Research in the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab primarily concerns the developmental course of first language acquisition in the young child and seeks its explanation. It compares language acquisition across many different languages in order to discover the universal properties of this development, and to separate these from the language specific.

CLAL is both a research and a teaching lab. Currently it is the burgeoning core of the Virtual Center for the Study of Language Acquisition (VCLA).