Please join us for coffee and desserts as we welcome:
Dr. Jeffrey Lidz
Professor and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher
Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland
Children's Attitude Problems
How do children learn the meanings of propositional attitude verbs like ’think’, ’want’ or ‘know’? We argue that children use information from syntactic distribution and pragmatic function to zero in on the appropriate meanings. Specifically, we identify a potentially universal link between semantic subclasses of attitude verbs, their syntactic distribution and the kinds of indirect speech acts they can be used to perform. As a result, children can use the syntax as evidence about the meaning, which in turn constrains the kinds of pragmatic enrichments they do and do not make in understanding these verbs in conversation.
Jeffrey Lidz is Professor and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland. His research examines the relative contribution of experience, extralinguistic cognition and domain-specific knowledge in learners’ discovery of linguistic structure. Dr. Lidz received his Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Delaware and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania from 1997-2000. He also held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Laboratoire de Science Cognitive et Psycholinguistique in Paris in 1998. He was Assistant Professor at Northwestern University from 2000 until he moved to the University of Maryland in 2005. Dr. Lidz’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and he played a key role in the founding of the University of Maryland’s Language Science Center. He is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Developmental Linguistics and is the editor-in-chief of Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics.