Virve-Anneli Vihman, Marie Curie Research Fellow
I am currently a Marie Curie Research Fellow working with Prof. Elena Lieven at the Child Study Centre at the University of Manchester (funded by the European Commission, 2014-2016), as well as Senior Research Fellow in Estonian Language at the University of Tartu (Estonia). I am interested in how children learn grammar, relying on general cognitive skills and learning mechanisms, and what variation we see in this process across different languages.
My two-year project, Early Acquisition of Argument Structure, focuses on the acquisition of simple transitive sentences in Estonian, a Finno-Ugric language unrelated to English. Estonian relies on case-marking to signal relations between subject, object and verb, and has more flexible word order than languages like English or German. I am doing research on naturalistic corpora of Estonian children speaking with their caregivers, and also conducting experiments on how children learn nominal morphology (how case-marking works), differential object marking (how verb object case varies, depending on various factors) and information structure (how to signal what is already known or what is new) in Estonian.
I will be working with research assistants in Tartu, Estonia, from August 2015, to run experiments investigating the above questions. If you are interested in hearing more about these experiments or the results of my research more generally, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This research has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, Marie Curie IEF grant no 623742 .