Understanding the factors influencing the comprehension and production of complex sentences

In this project, we will build on work done in the first phase of LuCiD to understand how children learn to comprehend and produce complex sentences. We will expand our testing of theoretical models, for example to consider their role in spontaneous production and their applicability to a wider range of sentence types. In addition, we will investigate the child and environmental factors that influence children’s comprehension and production of multi-clausal sentences, and the extent to which these can be boosted in disadvantaged children and children learning English as an additional language (EAL).

We will be using a range of methodological approaches such as eye-tracking, reaction time measures, corpus data and training studies. These studies will allow us to (i) develop models of complex sentence processing that integrate general processing strategies such as attention to order of mention with knowledge of the nuanced semantics of individual adverbials, and (ii) advise educators on how best to support learning in the classroom context.

Project Team: Silke Brandt, Meredith Rowe and Anna Theakston (Lead)

Duration: 3 years, starting May 2021

Project Number: 2.3