First Language Acquisition

Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab

We study how children between the ages of 2 and 12 years acquire their first language and how that interacts with other aspects of their cognitive development. We use a variety of behavioral tasks including eye-tracking to test children’s language production, perception, and comprehension. The lab houses two research groups. 

To learn more about the DPL, visit the website here.

Directors: Dr. Angeliki Athanasopoulou & Dr. Dimitrios Skordos 

Where: CHD 506

DPL Workspace

Phonological Development Group

Faculty: Angeliki Athanasopoulou 

Our group studies how children develop the sound system of their language, focusing on prosodic patterns larger than the word. Our studies are typically cross-linguistic investigations of children’s production and perception abilities. Other main topics of research is the information pre-linguistic children use at the very beginning to break into their language (bootstrapping theories) as well as the role of a changing input in language acquisition.

Students: Summer Abdalla (MA), Madeline MacLean (BA Hons), Anika Rogalski (BA)

DPL Testing Room

Semantic and Pragmatic Development Group

Faculty: Dimitrios Skordos 

Our main research question is how children learn the meanings of words and phrases in their language and how they use their language-learning abilities to think about and understand context and the intentions of others. Projects in the group include the acquisition of quantifiers and logical connectives as well as the acquisition of spatial terms and motion event and how that interacts with memory and non-linguistic cognition.”

Students: Cheryl Iwanchuk (MA), Rowan Sali (Honour’s Student)

Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab Meeting


The members of DPL meet once a month to discuss current research on lanuage acquisition. To learn more, or if you are interested in joining our meeting, please email Dr. Angeliki Athanasopoulou.




Skordos, D., Feiman, R., Bale, A., & Barner, D. (2020). Do children interpret ‘or’ conjunctively? Journal of Semantics.


Landau, B., Johannes, K., Skordos, D., & Papafragou, A. (2017). Containment and support: Core and complexity in spatial language learning. Cognitive science, 41, 748-779.


Skordos, D., & Papafragou, A. (2016). Children’s derivation of scalar implicatures: alternatives and relevance. Cognition, 153, 6-18.

Bunger, A., Skordos, D., Trueswell, J., & Papafragou, A. (2016). How adults and children encode causative events cross-linguistically: Implications for language production and attention. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 31, 1015-1037.


Skordos, D., & Papafragou, A. (2014). Lexical, syntactic, and semantic-geometric factors in the acquisition of motion predicates. Developmental Psychology, 50, 1985-1998.

Book Chapters


Skordos, D. & Barner, D. Language comprehension, inference, and alternatives. In C. Cummins & N. Katsos (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Experimental Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Papafragou, A. & Skordos, D. Scalar Implicature. In J. Lidz, W. Snyder & J. Pater, (Eds.) Oxford Handbook of Developmental Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.