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What do you know when you know a language? Traditional accounts of acquisition focus on the challenges of mapping words and rules in an infinite hypothesis space. But what if learning is the easy part? What if the real barrier to mastering a language is retrieving what you already know? That itself is not trivial. Natural speech unfolds at the breakneck pace of 2.5 words a second. In order to learn from this input, children must develop strategies to keep up. To figure out what these look like, I've done some studies that examine how comprehension processes may inform developmental trajectories. This approach bridges across traditions that focus on learning in children and processing in adults, explains how the same mechanisms that lead to differences within individuals can also create distinctions across populations, and sheds light on why humble children possess paradoxical advantages for language learning.