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The Cornell Language Acquisition Lab

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The Cornell Language Acquisition Lab (CLAL) has been the center for study of first language acquisition at Cornell for several decades. The lab is interdisciplinary, combining developmental psychology with linguistics, in order to compare first language acquisition across many languages, and to answer questions about the essential 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 has primarily concerned the developmental course of first language acquisition in the young child and sought 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 what is language specific. Recently it compares the acquisition of language to its dissolution in dementia.

CLAL has been both a research and a teaching lab. Currently it has extended to and been incorporated in the Virtual Center for the Study of Language Acquisition (VCLA).