Psycholinguistics Laboratory



Psycholinguistics Laboratory
University of Zürich
Plattenstrasse 54
CH-8032 Zürich


Acquisition of linguistic diversity

The biggest running project at the Psycholinguistics Laboratory is the ERC concolidator project: Acquisition processes in maximally diverse languages: min(d)ing the ambient language (ACQDIV). Click here for more information.


Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure

ACQDIV is associated with the CLARIN network, which seeks to archive and bundle various kinds of linguistic resources. Click here for more information.

Welcome to the Psycholinguistics Laboratory at the University of Zürich

The Psycholinguistics Laboratory investigates cognitive, language-specific and cultural variables that are relevant for first language acquisition. Learning a language is a uniquely human ability and one of the main questions of this research unit is to find out whether there are universal, i.e. language-independent strategies children apply in learning a language and if yes, how theses strategies interact with language-specific and culture-specific variables of individual languages.

Languages differ to an extreme degree both in their linguistic structures and the cultural contexts in which they are used. One of the main goals of this research unit is to find out how children cope with this diversity. This requires a comparative approach to acquisition. We focus on the early linguistic development of children growing up in diverse cultures. In order to learn about the early grammar of children, their language use is compared to that of their surrounding adults in longitudinal corpora (regular recordings in the natural environment over an extended period of time). The study of both the role of variation across languages and the role of variables for variation within languages takes center-stage and for this research new methods for measuring and comparing development are being developed.

An important emphasis is the documentation and study of first language learning of endangered languages. The documentation of the acquisition process in endangered languages extends our knowledge about the linguistic variables children are able to cope with and at the same time it contributes to the documentation of world heritage.

The Psycholinguistics Laboratory is headed by Sabine Stoll.


Dagmar Jung and Steve Moran will present a talk on "Documenting typological diversity for real: the need of language acquisition studies"

Dagmar Jung, Steve Moran and Sabine Stoll will present a talk on "Documenting typological diversity for real: the need of language acquisition studies" at the Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores, UNAM, at Morelia campus Escuala Nacional de Estudios Superiores, UNAM, Mexico on March 19th. At the "First Latin-American Summer school on Language Documentation and Linguistic typology" from March 23 to 28, Dagmar Jung will teach a class on language documentation and documentation of variation in endangered languages, and Steve Moran will teach a class on Language documentation methods and tools.

New paper by Stoll and colleagues on syntactic mixing

A paper by Sabine Stoll, Taras Zakharko, Steven Moran, Robert Schikowski and Balthasar Bickel with the title: "Syntactic mixing across generations in an environment of community-wide bilingualism" was published in Frontiers in Psychology, 6:82


Sabine Stoll to give guest lecture at MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

Sabine Stoll will give an invited talk at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen on Tuesday, 25 November. The talk is entitled: The quest for universal acquisition principles in maximally diverse languages: a new crosslinguistic research program.