Research

Research

Research at our top-ranked department spans syntax, semantics, phonology, language acquisition, computational linguistics, psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics. Connections between these areas are strong, with theoretical, experimental, and computational work typically pursued in tandem. A network of collaboration at all levels sustains a research climate that is both vigorous and friendly. Here new ideas develop in conversation, stimulated by the steady activity of our labs and research groups, frequent student meetings with faculty, regular talks by local and invited scholars, and collaborations with the broader University of Maryland language science community, the largest and most integrated language science research community in North America. A recent NSF IGERT award has provided a unique means of strengthening this community through an interdisciplinary graduate program in "Biological and Computational Foundations of Language Diversity".

Facilities

The department enjoys unmatched facilities for linguistic research, organized as an open lab in which all members of the department may share. Students and faculty have ready access to any combination of tools that they might need to pursue their research. Our hardware includes an EEG/ERP lab, an MEG lab, two eye-tracking laboratories (ASL remote eye-tracker for child and adult studies; EyeLink 1000 eye-tracker for reading studies), and sound-proof space for auditory research. The Maryland Neuroimaging Center (MNC), opened in 2011, features a state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facility, and will soon house MEG, EEG, and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) as well. The Language Acquisition Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for stimulus preparation, presentation and analysis using Head-Turn Preference, Habituation, and Preferential Looking procedures, in addition to interactive tasks for older children. The lab is equipped to study children ranging from 2 months to 6 years of age and typically brings in over 500 participants each year. We benefit from a long-standing partnership with the Center for Young Children, an on-campus lab preschool with 120 children aged 3-6 years, plus other testing arrangements with local schools. The department has access to excellent resources for carrying out computational work both locally and remotely, in part due to our close ties with the CLIP lab. Much of the community's shared practical knowledge on carrying out research with these facilities is now being gathered on a collective wiki. Our students and faculty also have close ties with labs and research groups in other countries that have made it possible for students to carry out cross-linguistic studies that would not be possible in the US alone.

The IGERT

Presently much of the student research in our department is done in the context of an NSF IGERT program, "Biological and Computational Foundations of Language Diversity." One of the main goals of this program is to enable students to do innovative research that would be impossible within an individual department. Students participating in the program build collaborative relationships with students in other departments through shared coursework and events such as Language Science Day and IGERT Lunch Talks, and gain new research skill sets through workshops like Winter Storm and lab rotations in other departments.

Publications

Both faculty and students at the department are highly productive, publishing in top peer-reviewed journals (such as Linguistic Inquiry, Cognition, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and giving numerous conference presentations and invited colloquia each year. Please check out the Publications page for examples of recent work.