I am an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at George Mason University. My research focuses on how children learn their native language(s). I’m especially interested in how children learn about and use linguistic structure and the connections between words in a sentence. This Spring, I’m teaching Research Methods in Linguistics and a seminar on Language Acquisition and Linguistic Variation. Other classes I’ve taught at GMU include First Language Acquisition, Syntax 1, Modern English Grammar and seminars on the syntax and processing of negation, bilingual first language acquisition, and the development of language processing.
I received my BA in Linguistics from the University of Maryland, where I worked with Jeff Lidz on studies investigating 2-year-olds’ pronoun interpretation. I then headed to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for my PhD in Developmental Psychology. There I worked with Cynthia Fisher, looking at how 2- and 3-year-old children use subject-verb agreement during language comprehension and production. I then spent a few years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Language Science at Penn State, working with Karen Miller on how language variation affects the acquisition of plural morphology and agreement.
Lately, I’ve been working on projects exploring variation in English agreement and negation. In one project, I’m working with Frances Blanchette, Jessi Grieser, and Paul Reed to ask when speakers use different structures to express negation, and how they comprehend those structures (even the ones they never use!). In another, I’m exploring children’s acquisition of variable subject-verb agreement in English, and how that’s reflected in their real-time comprehension and their own speech.
Take a look around for more information about me and my research.