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Language is a uniquely human ability that sets us apart from other species. A large part of our research seeks to understand how this ability develops. Our work focuses on how young children learn the semantic meaning of words and grammatical constructions in their native language, and how this process interacts with the development of conceptual structure. We investigate these questions in young speakers of different languages by using a variety of offline (e.g., forced choice paradigms, elicited production) and online (e.g., non-invasive eye-tracking technology) methodologies. 


Language Acquisition

Representative Publications

Grigoroglou, M., Chan S., & Ganea, A. P. (2019). Toddlers’ understanding and use of verbal negation in inferential reasoning search tasks. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 183222–241. 

Grigoroglou, M., Johanson, M., & Papafragou, A. (2019). Pragmatics and  spatial language: The acquisition of front and back. Developmental Psychology, 55(4), 729-744.

Grigoroglou, M., & Papafragou, A. (2019). Spatial Terms. In C. Cummins & N.  Katsos (Eds.),The Oxford Handbook of Experimental Semantics and

Pragmatics (pp. 113–123). Oxford University Press.


Language is the principal means for communicating our thoughts, intentions and desires to other people. A second direction of our research investigates how speakers create messages that communicate these ideas effectively and how listeners successfully use context to interpret ambiguous speaker messages. We investigate these questions in both children and adults by using game-like interactive tasks. 

Representative Publications

Grigoroglou, M., & Papafragou, A. (2017). Acquisition of Pragmatics. In M. Aronoff (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Online edition: Oxford University Press. 

Grigoroglou, M., & Papafragou, A. (in press). Children’s (and adults’) production  adjustments to generic and particular listener needs. Cognitive Science

Grigoroglou, M., & Papafragou, A. (2019). Interactive contexts increase  informativeness in children’s referential communication. Developmental

Psychology, 55(5), 951-966.


Meaning and Conversation

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