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Dr Graciela Tesan

BA UNComa, PhD Maryland.

Graciela Tesan

Associate Investigator

Contact Details

email : graciela.tesan@mq.edu.au

Profile

My research interests extend from language acquisition -with a focus on parameter theory (Chomsky 1995)- to language processing. I am mainly interested in children's implicit (innate) knowledge of principles and parameters and how this innate knowledge unfolds from the initial stage to the steady stage. Currently, my research project involves the study of functional categories in child language. In particular, I am working on the development of the morphosyntactic properties of inflectional items and negative items in English-speaking children. In the near future, I am planning to extend my research to study how this innate knowledge is realized in the brain using neuroimaging techniques.

My Doctoral dissertation (Tesan 2005) presents new longitudinal data which support the claim that children's knowledge of functional categories reflect crosslinguist properties that are not attested in the target language, but are found in other natural languages. This finding supports the idea that children's early language capacities (language processing and linguistic competence) are the same as any other adult system, and thus subject to the same set of principles and parameters (Crain 1991; Pinker 1984). It is thus predicted that children's (innate) linguistic knowledge varies from the target in ways natural languages vary from each other. The morphophonological and syntactic realization of inflectional items such as the 3rd person singular morpheme (e.g. John swims) and the negative items 'not' and 'n't' (e.g. John doesn't swim) by four English-speaking toddlers show that these children assign the INFL and NEG category properties that are not reflected by the input. For instance, some children systematically place the affix -s in a position higher than the main verb (eg. John s swim), and some others use an inflected verb following the negative marker not (e.g. John not swims). Crucially, the morpho-phonological and formal properties that children assign to the INFL and NEG categories are not part of the linguistic input. But interestingly, the non-adult properties are found in other natural languages (cf. Spanish clitics, Swedish embedded negative sentences).

Recent Grants Awarded

  • Professional Staff Development Grant (2011) Tesan, G. ($800)

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

  • Thornton, R., Crain, S., & Tesan, G. (2007). Principles, parameters and probability. In I. Gulzow, & N. Gagarina (Eds.), Frequency Effects in Language Acquisition (SOLA Series) (pp. 359-382). New York, USA: de Gruyter.
  • Tesan, G. & Thornton, R. (2005). Emergence of do-support in child English. In Arunachalam, S., Scheffler, T., Sundaresan, S & Tauberer, J. (Eds.), UPenn Working Papers in Linguistics 11.1 (pp. 265-278). Philadelphia, USA: Penn Linguistics Club.

Periodicals

  • Cheyne, D., Jobst, C., Tesan, G., Crain, S., & Johnson, B.W. (2014). Movement-related neuromagnetic fields in preschool age children. Human Brain Mapping, 35(9), 4858–4875. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22518
  • Burianová, H., Marstaller, L., Sowman, P., Tesan, G., Rich, A.N., Williams, M., Savage, G., & Johnson, B.W. (2013). Multimodal functional imaging of motor imagery using a novel paradigm. NeuroImage, 71, 50-58. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.01.001
  • Thornton, R., & Tesan, G. (2013). Sentential negation in early child English. Journal of Linguistics, 49(2), 367-411. doi:10.1017/S0022226712000382
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B., & Crain, S. (2012). How the brain responds to 'any': An MEG study. Brain and Language, 120(1), 66-72. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2011.08.006
  • Johnson, B.W., Crain, S., Thornton, R., Tesan, G., & Reid, M. (2010). Measurement of brain function in pre-school children using a custom sized whole-head MEG sensor array. Clinical Neurophysiology, 121(3), 340-349. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2009.10.017
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B.W., Reid, M., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2010). Measurement Of Neuromagnetic Brain Function In Pre-school Children With Custom Sized MEG. JoVE, 36. doi:10.3791/1693
  • Thornton, R., & Tesan, G. (2007). Categorical acquisition: Parameter setting in Universal Grammar. Biolinguistics, 1, 49-98.

Published Abstracts

  • Johnson, B., Tesan, G., & Crain, S. (2012). Specialised applications of MEG: Measurement of brain function in young children and in patients with cochlear implants [Abstract]. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 43(3), 218.
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B., & Crain, S. (2012). Evidence for automatic linguistic processing in preschool children: A magnetoencephalography study [Abstract]. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 43(3), 248.
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B.W., Reid, M., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2010). Using a whole-head child MEG to assess language development in four year old children [Abstract]. Frontiers in Neuroscience Methods, BioMag2010, International Conference on Biomagnetism, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 21 March- 1 April 2010.
  • Tesan, G., & Crain, S. (2008). Processing negative polarity items: A magnetoencephalography study [Abstract]. The Abstracts of the 35th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference', Australian Journal of Psychology, 60, 102-103.

Published Conference Proceedings

  • Adachi, Y., Miyamoto, M., Kawai, J., Kawabata, M., Higuchi, M., Oyama, D., Uehara, G., Ogata, H., Kado, H., Haruta, Y., Tesan, G., & Crain, S. (2010). Development of a Whole-Head Child MEG System. In S. Supek, & A. Susac (Eds.), IFMBE Proceedings 28 (pp. 35-38). Dubrovnik, Croatia: Springer.
  • Tesan, G., & Crain, S. (2008). An MEG study of the Negative Polarity Item any: lexical and postlexical processing. In R. Kakigi, K. Yokosawa, & S. Kuriki (Eds.), Biomagnetism: Interdisciplinary research and exploration (pp. 229-231). Tokyo, Japan: Hokkaido University Press.
  • Tesan, G., & Thornton, R. (2004). Overspecification in early English. In J. Kampen, & S. Baauw (Eds.), Proceedings of GALA 2003. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Occasional Series 3.
  • Tesan, G., & Thornton, R. (2003). Small children's big grammars. In Y. Otsu (Ed.), Proceedings of the Fourth Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics (pp. 239-264). Tokyo, Japan: Hitzu Syobo Publishing Company.

Conference Presentations, Colloquia, and other presentations

  • Cheyne, D., Jobst, C., Tesan, G., Crain, S., & Johnson, B.W. (2014, August). Bridging the gap in the neuroimaging of early motor development: Evidence from MEG studies in preschool age children. Poster session presented at the 19th International Conference on Biomagnetism, Halifax, Canada.
  • Cheyne, D., Jobst, C., Tesan, G., Crain, S., & Johnson, B.W. (2014, July). Movement-related neuromagnetic fields in preschool age children. Paper presented at the 12th International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON), Brisbane.
  • Johnson, B.W., Tesan, G., He, W., & Crain, S. (2013, June). MEG neuroimaging of perceptual, motor and cognitive brain function in preschool-aged children. Paper presented at the 19th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (HBM), Seattle, USA.
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B.W., & Crain, S. (2013, June). Lexical access in preschool children: Localising the N400m. Paper presented at the 19th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (HBM), Seattle, USA.
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B.W., & Crain, S. (2013, April). Lexical access in 4 year-olds: A magnetoencephalographic study. Paper presented at the Australian Hearing Hub Inaugural Conference: "Language, literacy and cognition in children with a hearing impairment" Workshop, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • He, W., Tesan, G., Brock, J., & Johnson, B.W. (2012, August). A neural marker of face processing in a four year old child. Poster session presented at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) Annual Workshop, Macquarie University, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B.W., & Crain, S. (2012, August). Measurement of cognitive processes in pre-school children with a custom-sized MEG. Paper presented at the International Conference on Biomagnetism, Paris, France.
  • Johnson, B.W., Crain, S., Tesan, G., & Uehara, G. (2012, June). Measurement of brain function in special populations with custom-engineered MEG systems. Poster session presented at the 18th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Beijing, China.
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B.W., & Crain, S. (2011, December). Evidence for automatic linguistic processing in preschool children: a magnetoencephalography study. Paper presented at the Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference - 21st Meeting of the Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Johnson, B.W., Crain, S., Tesan, G., & Reid, M. (2011, September). In search of the LAD: A cross-language MEG brain imaging study. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA 2011), Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • Thornton, R. & Tesan, G. (2011, September). Sentential negation in child grammar. Poster session presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition 2011, Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B. & Crain, S. (2011, June). An MEG study of the negative polarity item any to assess sentence-level semantic processing. Poster session presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Quebec, Canada.
  • Tham, W., Reid, M., Tesan, G. Johnson, B., & Crain, S. (2011, June). Rocket-ship MEG: an interactive video game environment to facilitate brain measurements in children. Poster session presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Quebec, Canada.
  • Brock, J., Johnson, B.W., &Tesan, G. (2011, April). Medial frontal contributions to the N400m sentence context effect. Paper presented at the British Neuroscience Association Meeting, Harrogate, U.K..
  • Reid, M., Johnson, B.W., Tesan, G., Thornton, R. and Crain, S. (2010, April). Functional brain imaging of pre-school aged children using a child-sized whole head MEG system. Paper presented at the 37th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, Melbourne.
  • Tesan, G., Johnson, B.W., Reid, M., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2010, March). Using a whole-head child MEG to assess language development in four year old children. Poster session presented at the BioMag2010, International Conference on Biomagnetism, Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • Tsai, P.-S., Tzeng, O.J.-L., Crain, S., Tesan, G., & Wu, D.H. (2009, October). Using magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate semantic processing of negative polarity items. Paper presented at the International Conference on the Processing of East Asian Languages, Beijing, China.
  • Crain, S., Tesan, G., Johnson, B.W. & Thornton, R. (2009, June). What MEG reveals about children's linguistic competence. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language (GALA 2009), Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Tesan, G., & Crain, S. (2008, August). An MEG study of the Negative Polarity Item any: lexical and postlexical processing. Poster session presented at the BIOMAG 2008, Sapporo, Japan.
  • Tesan, G., & Crain, S. (2008, June). Processing Negative Polarity Items in the absence of directed attention: evidence from MEG. Poster session presented at the 14th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, Melbourne.
  • Tesan, G., & Crain, S. (2008, March). Processing Negative Polarity Items: an MEG study. Poster session presented at the 35th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference Conference, Fremantle.
  • Tesan, G. & Crain, S. (2007, September). Licensing Negative Polarity Items: evidence from magnetoencephalography. Paper presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society (ALS), Adelaide.
  • Tesan, G, & Thornton, R. (2007, January). Sentential negation in English-speaking children. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Anaheim, USA.
  • Tesan, G. (2006, October). Negation in Child English. Colloquium at the UNSW Linguistics Department Seminar Series, University of New South Wales.
  • Tesan, G. (2006, September). What is MEG? Invited presentation given at the HAAGS Meeting, Macquarie University.
  • Tesan, G. & Thornton, R. (2004, February). Absence of do-support in early English: Parameter resetting or deficient grammars? Paper presented at the 28th Penn Linguistics Colloquium, Philadelphia, USA.
  • Tesan, G. & Thornton, R. (2004, January). A parametric account of inflection in early English. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Conference, Boston, United States.
  • Tesan, G. & Thornton, R. (2004, January). Acquiring VP ellipsis. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Conference, Boston, United States.
  • Tesan, G., & Thornton, R. (2003, September). Overspecification in early English. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA 2003) Workshop: "Learnability", Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • Tesan, G. & Thornton, R. (2003, March). Small children's big clauses. Paper presented at the Fourth Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Tesan, G. & Thornton, R. (2003, January). Speaking universal grammar: Child language and negation. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Conference, Atlanta, United States.

Further Information

Contact Details

Telephone: +61 2 9850 4127
Email : ccd@mq.edu.au
Web : www.ccd.edu.au

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