Professor Kristen Syrett studies first language acquisition, investigating when and how children come to have an adult-like understanding of certain words and sentence interpretations. In her experimental, psycholinguistic research with children age two to six and undergraduates, she finds creative ways to evaluate the meaning that children and adults assign to words like verbs and adjectives, what kinds of linguistic and contextual information they use to constrain the hypothesis space, what suppresses or facilitates certain interpretations, and how language processing and grammatical mechanisms interact. She focuses on semantics, syntax, and pragmatics, and the interfaces between these areas. She is a member of the faculty of Linguistics and the Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS) and directs the Laboratory for Developmental Language Studies, where she has a number of talented and eager research assistants. Outside of research and teaching, she is devoted to raising her two beautiful children, enjoys spinning (indoor cycling), and loves finding new ways to deepen her yoga practice.
- Department of Linguistics and the Center for Cognitive Science