Irina Sekerina Presents: Analyzing Quantity and Quality of Input in Bilingual Language Acquisition

FEB 28, 2019 | 4:30 PM TO 6:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




February 28, 2019: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM





Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC)


There is a general consensus that linguistic input to bilingual children who acquire a heritage language (HL) and a societal language simultaneously is reduced resulting in restructured HL grammar. The existing estimates are based on small laboratory samples of bilingual input and one-time parental questionnaires. Here I test the usefulness of big data set (~600 hours) of longitudinal bilingual Russian-English corpus of adult and child speech collected over a period of one year with the Linguistic Environment system LENA. I will also explore quantitative and qualitative analytics to characterize the nature of input in bilingual language acquisition.
Irina Sekerina has a truly interdisciplinary background in linguistics (Ph.D. in Linguistics), with specialized knowledge of experimental psycholinguistics, cognitive science (Postdoctoral fellow at two cognitive science centers), and psychology (currently Professor of Psychology). She learned eye-tracking in the form of the Visual World Paradigm 20 years ago, when it was just beginning to appear in psycholinguistics. She was the member of the research team (together with John Trueswell, University of Pennsylvania) that pioneered eye-tracking experiments with children in 1999. Dr. Sekerina's research focuses on sentence processing mechanisms in native and bilingual adults, their development in children, and breakdown in aphasia. As PI on several university- and NSF-funded grants, she laid the groundwork to participate in various research projects by conducting numerous eye-tracking experiments on processing of syntactically ambiguous and complex sentences in English and Russian. Dr. Sekerina investigates the underlying cause of sentence processing difficulties in special populations, i.e., children, bilingual heritage speakers (Russian-English, Russian-German, Russian-Norwegian), and persons with aphasia.