Cynthia L Fisher, Professor

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Personal profile

Professional Information

Children rapidly acquire the grammar and vocabulary of their native languages. My research explores how they manage this. For example, what information do children use to figure out the meanings of verbs? In a series of studies in which novel verbs are taught to preschoolers in different grammatical contexts, children interpret verbs in different sentence structures as describing different aspects of the same events. Other work in my lab explores special properties of speech addressed to young children and infants, and young children's representation of speech they hear. These lines of research suggest that young children can use isomorphisms between levels of linguistic structures to gain access to successively deeper analyses of language, from sound to syntax to meaning.

Office Address

University of Illinois
Dept. of Psychology, MC-716
619 Psychology Building
603 E. Daniel St.
Champaign, IL 61820
USA

Office Phone

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

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Research Output

  • 33 Article
  • 4 Conference contribution
  • 2 Chapter
  • 1 Review article

The Developmental Origins of Syntactic Bootstrapping

Fisher, C., Jin, K. S. & Scott, R. M., Jan 1 2020, In : Topics in Cognitive Science. 12, 1, p. 48-77 30 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Mistakes weren't made: Three-year-olds’ comprehension of novel-verb passives provides evidence for early abstract syntax

    Messenger, K. & Fisher, C., Sep 2018, In : Cognition. 178, p. 118-132 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Not all subjects are agents: Transitivity and meaning in early language comprehension

    Scott, R. M., Gertner, Y. & Fisher, C., Jan 1 2018, Trends in Language Acquisition Research. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Vol. 24. p. 153-176 24 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Where are the cookies? Two- and three-year-olds use number-marked verbs to anticipate upcoming nouns

    Lukyanenko, C. & Fisher, C., Jan 1 2016, In : Cognition. 146, p. 349-370 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Learning Verb Syntax via Listening: New Evidence From 22-Month-Olds

    Messenger, K., Yuan, S. & Fisher, C., Oct 2 2015, In : Language Learning and Development. 11, 4, p. 356-368 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle