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Associate Professor Rosalind Thornton

BA Massey, MIA Tsukuba, MA Yale, PhD UConn.

Rosalind Thornton

Chief Investigator

Contact Details

Office : 3.516
Phone : +61 2 9850 6710
Fax : +61 2 9850 6059
email : rosalind.thornton@mq.edu.au
Homepage : http://www.ling.mq.edu.au/about/staff/rosalind_thornton/index.html

External Address

Department of Linguistics
Australian Hearing Hub
16 University Avenue
Macquarie University NSW 2109

Profile

After completing my PhD in Linguistics at the University of Connecticut in 1990, I worked with Professor Ken Wexler, as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT. I then taught in the Linguistics Department at the University of Maryland for 10 years before moving to Australia. At present, I teach in the Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University, and I am a CI within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD).

My research program is in child language. I take the perspective that linguistic knowledge is largely based on our biological endowment. On this view, children are born with certain knowledge about how languages are structured, and their task is to narrow in on the language of their linguistic community. This perspective is associated with Noam Chomsky's theory of 'Universal Grammar'.

Most of my research to date has focused on children's acquisition of syntax, or grammatical structure. My dissertation investigated whether or not children adhere to the structural constraints that govern the formation of complex questions - ones with one clause embedded under another clause. One finding was that some children go through a stage in which they use an extra question word in such complex questions. For example, instead of asking "What do you think koalas eat?" they ask "What do you think what koalas eat?". And instead of "Who do you think Superman likes?" children would put the question as follows "Who do you think who Superman likes?" This kind of structure, with an 'extra' copy of the question word, is not appropriate for English, but it is possible in some languages. This in turn suggests that it is available in the menu of choices that human biology makes available to language learners. Still experience matters. Children who make the wrong menu selection must discover the correct question forms by attending to the speech of the adult speakers of the local language.

I have also worked on the structural constraints that apply to the interpretation of pronouns in a variety of different linguistic structures. One context where constraints play a role in interpretation is in coordinate sentences with elliptical verb phrases. For example, consider the sentence "John praised him and Peter did too." native speakers of English judge this sentence to mean that both John and Peter praised some other person, who is not mentioned in the sentence. So, the pronoun him cannot refer to John or to Peter. I investigated whether or not preschool children demonstrate knowledge of such constraints on VP ellipsis. A study of this topic with Ken Wexler culminated in a book: Principle B, VP Ellipsis and Interpretation in Child Grammar (1999, MIT Press)

More recently, I have been working with 2-year-old children. Together, Graciela Tesan (also a member of the CCD) and I investigated children's developing knowledge of the properties of inflection and negation in English. This topic is tricky to investigate in English, because the only utterances that contain an inflected verb in the present tense (e.g. goes, eats, likes) are ones with 3rd person subjects, and these are not frequent in children's spontaneous speech. To obtain a more adequate sample, we developed techniques to elicit the structures of interest from young children.

This project has been extended to a study of negation in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). We have elicited simple negative sentences like 'It doesn't fit' or 'It doesn't open' from a group of 5-year-old children. Although these sentences look simple, they are quite challenging, both for 2-year-old children and for children with SLI. The difficulty is in figuring out where the place the third-person 's'. For adults, it is inside 'doesn't', but children don't immediately settle on this option. Children either leave off the 's' as in 'It not fit', or they put it in the wrong place, producing sentences like 'It not fits' or even 'It's not fit'. Our findings suggest that children with SLI are delayed in their development, but their grammatical development shows the same pattern as typically-developing children. This project has been carried out with Kelly Rombough.

Awards

  • Department of Linguistics Student-Nominated Teaching Awards (2012), Thornton, R. 'Best Unit' for LING 334 (Child Language Acquisition).
  • Department of Linguistics Student-Nominated Teaching Awards (2011), Thornton, R. 'Best Unit' for LING 110 (Language: Its Structure and Use).
  • University of Maryland General Research Board Semester Research Award (1998), Thornton, R. Teaching release for one semester.
  • Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (1989), Thornton, R. Research Foundation, University of Connecticut.
  • Summer Fellowship (1988), Thornton, R. Research Foundation, University of Connecticut.
  • Predoctoral Fellowship (1986), Thornton, R. Graduate School, University of Connecticut.
  • Fulbright Travel Award for Study in the United States (1985), Thornton, R. New Zealand-US Educational Foundation.
  • Japanese Government Ministry of Education (Mombusho) Scholarship for Study in Japan (1978), Thornton, R.

Recent Grants Awarded

  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research - Scientific Research Category C [17K02738] (2017 - 2020) Kiguchi, H., Funakoshi, K., & Thornton, R. ($26,500)
  • ARC CCD Cross Program Support Scheme (2016) "Lost for words: Exploring how language disruption impacts social interactions in dementia." Irish, M., Barnier, A., Harris, C., Thornton, R., Crain, S., & Piguet, O. ($39,656)
  • ARC CCD Cross Program Support Scheme (2016 - 2017) "Building a cognitive model of coding: The link between coding ability and syntactic skills." Marinus, E., Powell, Z., Thornton, R., McArthur, G., & Crain, S. ($21,573)
  • Macquarie University Faculty of Human Sciences Equipment Grant (2014) "Speech studio equipment." Cox, F., Proctor, M., Demuth, K., Crain, S., Xu, N., Slatyer, H., Kruger, J.-L., Mannell, R., Yuen, I., Palethorpe, S., McMahon, C., Barnes, S., Thornton, R., Cupples, L., & Sharma M. ($9,980)
  • ARC CCD Cross Program Support Scheme (2013) "The historical present in past and future narratives." Irish, M., Crain, S., Thornton, R., Johnson, B., Addis, D., & Piguet, O. ($40,000)
  • Australia-China Science and Research Fund (9201200088) (2012) "Developing strategic links between Macquarie University, Beijing Language and Culture University and project partners on language acquisition and childhood language disorders." Crain, S., Gao, L., Cutler, A., Coltheart, M., Yu, W., Bi, H., Ma, Y., Wang, M., Wang, F., Johnson, B., Thornton, R., & Zhou, P. ($13,455)
  • Macquarie University Research Infrastructure Block (2012 - 2013) "Tobii eye-tracker for testing infants and young children." Demuth, K., Grant, K.-A., McMahon, C., Crain, S., Thornton, R., Sharma, M., Cox, F., Tsukada, K., Zhou, P., & Moscati, V. ($49,150)
  • Macquarie University Research Infrastructure Block Grant Scheme (2012) “Upgrade of child magnetoencephalography (MEG) system.” Johnson, B.W., Crain, S., Thornton, R., Demuth, K., Brock, J., Sowman, P., Zhou, P., & Johnson, M. ($100,000)
  • ARC Centre of Excellence [CE110001021] (2011 - 2017) "ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders." Crain, S., Rhodes, G., Hodges, J., Coltheart, M., Castles, A., Barnier, A., Brock, J., Byrne, B., Demuth, K., Green, M., Langdon, R., Johnson, B., McArthur, G., Miller, L., Nickels, L., Piguet, O., Savage, G., Thompson, W., Thornton, R. et al. ($21,000,000)
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research - Scientific Research Category C [23520519] (2011 - 2013) Kiguchi, H., Gakuin, M., Takahashi, S., & Thornton, R. ($53,980)
  • National Social Science Foundation Grant of China (2009 - 2011) Semantic acquisition in Chinese and English: A Cross-linguistic comparison of children's understanding of logical words. Gao, L.Q., Crain, S., Thornton, R., Lee, T. H.-T., Huang, Y. Y., Yang, S. Y., & Zhou, P. ($13,000)
  • ARC Discovery Project Grant (2008 - 2011) "The meaning of 'OR' in logic and human languages". DP0879842 Thornton, R., Crain, S. ($306,700)
  • Macquarie University Research Centres Scheme (2007 - 2011) "Centre for Language Sciences." Crain, S., Peters, P., Cupples, L., Johnston, T.A., Nickels, L., McMahon, C., & Thornton, R. ($150,000)

Selected Publications

Books

  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2015). Investigations in Universal Grammar: A Guide to Experiments on the Acquisition of Syntax and Semantics. Translation Series of Linguistics Abroad, Classical Textbook. Beijing, China: The Commercial Press.
  • Fromkin, V., Rodman, R., Hyams, N., Amberber, M., Cox, F., & Thornton, R. (2014). An Introduction to Language: Australia and New Zealand Edition (8th ed.). Melbourne: Cengage Learning.
  • Thornton, R., & Wexler, K. (1999). Principle B, VP Ellipsis and Interpretation in Child Grammar. Cambridge, USA: The MIT Press.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (1998). Investigations in Universal Grammar: A Guide to Experiments in the Acquisition of Syntax and Semantics. Cambridge, USA: The MIT Press.

Book Chapters

  • Geçkin, V., Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2016). Acquisition of scope relations by Turkish-English bilingual children. In B. Haznedar & F. Nihan Ketrez (Eds.), Trends in Language Acquisition Research: The Acquisition of Turkish in Childhood (pp. 119-150). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Thornton, R. (2016). The acquisition of questions. In J. Lidz, W. Snyder, & J. Pater (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Linguistics (pp. 310-340). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2015). 3rd year grammar. In A. Gallego & D. Ott (Eds.), 50 Years Later: Reflections on Chomsky (pp. 71-84). Cambridge, USA: MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
  • Thornton, R. (2015). Syntax. In S. McLeod & J. McCormac (Eds.), Introduction to Speech, Language and Literacy. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Thornton, R. (2015). Linguistic theory of first language acquisition. In J.D. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Volume 9) (2nd ed., pp. 206-211). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science & Technology.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2014). Theories of language acquisition. In D.C. Phillips (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy. Thousand Oaks, USA: Sage Publications.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2013). Innateness and parameter setting. In H. Pashler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind (pp. 414-418). Thousand Oaks, USA: Sage Publications.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2013). Unification in child language. In I. Caponigro, & C. Cecchetto (Eds.), From Grammar to Meaning: The Spontaneous Logicality of Language (pp. 235-265). New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kiguchi, H., & Thornton, R. (2013). Connectivity effects in child grammar. In S. Stavrakaki, M. Lalioti, & P. Konstantinopolou (Eds.), Advances in Language Acquisition (pp. 129-137). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Thornton, R. (2013). Children's acquisition of syntactic knowledge. In M. Aronoff (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
  • Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2013). Parameters: The pluses and the minuses. In M. den Dikken (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Generative Syntax (pp. 927-970). New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2011). Constraints in language acquisition. In P. Hogan (Ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences (pp. 214-216). New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2011). Acquisition of semantics. In P. Hogan (Ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences (pp. 745-748). New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
  • 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.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2006). Acquisition of syntax and semantics. In M. Traxler, & M. Gernsbacher (Eds.), Handbook of Psycholinguistics (pp. 1073-1110). Cambridge, USA: Academic Press.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2005). Acquisition of syntax. In L. Nadel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (pp. s00271). Hoboken, USA: Wiley Online Library.
  • 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.
  • Thornton, R. (1996). Elicited production. In Cairns, H., McDaniel, D. & McKee, C. (Eds.), Methods for Assessing Children's Syntax (pp. 77-102). Cambridge, USA: The MIT Press.
  • Thornton, R. & Crain, S. (1994). Successful cyclic movement. In T. Hoekstra, & B. Schwartz (Eds.), Language Acquisition Studies in Generative Grammar (pp. 215-253). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins.
  • Thornton, R. & Crain, S. (1991). Recharting the course of language acquisition: Studies in elicited production. In N. Krasnegor, D. Rumbaugh, R. Schiefelbusch, & M. Studdert-Kennedy (Eds.), Biobehavioral Foundations of Language Development (pp. 321-339). Hillsdale, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Periodicals

  • Crain, S., Koring, L., & Thornton, R. (2017). Language acquisition from a biolinguistic perspective. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.09.011
  • Geçkin, V., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (In Press). Children’s interpretation of disjunction in negative sentences: A comparison of Turkish and German. Language Acquisition. doi:10.1080/10489223.2017.1280796
  • Khetrapal, N., & Thornton, R. (2017). C-command in the grammars of children with high functioning autism. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 402. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00402
  • Rombough, K., & Thornton, R. (In Press). Probing morphological, syntactic and pragmatic knowledge through answers to wh-questions in children with SLI. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. doi:10.1080/17549507.2017.1287217
  • Geçkin, V., Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2016). The interpretation of logical connectives in Turkish. Journal of Child Language, 43(4), 810. doi://10.1017/S0305000915000306
  • Irish, M., Kamminga, J., Addis, D.R., Crain, S., Thornton, R., Hodges, J.R., & Piguet, O. (2016). 'Language of the past': Exploring past tense disruption during autobiographical narration in neurodegenerative disorders. Journal of Neuropsychology, 10, 295-316. doi:10.1111/jnp.12073
  • Kiguchi, H., & Thornton, R. (2016). Connectivity effects in pseudoclefts in child language. Studia Linguistica, 70(1), 34-65. doi:10.1111/stul.12043
  • Thornton, R., Notley, A., Moscato, V., & Crain, S. (2016). Two negations for the price of one. Glossa, 1(1), 45. doi:10.5334/gjgl.4
  • Thornton, R., Rombough, K., Martin, J., & Orton, L. (2016). Negative sentences in children with Specific Language Impairment. First Language, 36(3), 228-264. doi:10.1177/0142723716640187
  • Thornton, R., & Rombough, K. (2014). The syntax-PF interface in children's negative sentences. Language Acquisition, 22(2), 132-157. doi:10.1080/10489223.2014.943901
  • Zhou, P., Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2014). Children’s knowledge of double negative structures in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 23(4), 333-359. doi:10.1007/s10831-013-9118-y
  • Steel, G., Rose, M., Eadie, P., & Thornton, R. (2013). Assessment of complement clauses: A comparison between elicitation tasks and language sample data. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15, 286-295.
  • Thornton, R., & Tesan, G. (2013). Sentential negation in early child English. Journal of Linguistics, 49(2), 367-411. doi:10.1017/S0022226712000382
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2012). Syntax acquisition. Advanced Review. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 3(2), 185-203. doi:10.1002/wcs.1158
  • Notley, A., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2012). English-speaking children's interpretation of disjunction in the scope of 'not every'. Biolinguistics, 6(1), 32-69.
  • Thornton, R. (2012). Studies at the interface of child language and models of language acquisition. First Language, 32, 281-297.
  • Thornton, R. (2012). Review of Ambridge and Lieven (2011): Child language acquisition: Contrasting theoretical approaches. Lingua. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2012.09.007
  • Thornton, R. (2012). Invited Commentary: Studies at the interface of child language and models of language acquisition. First Language, 31, 281-297.
  • Landau, I., & Thornton, R. (2011). Early child control. Lingua, 121, 920-941.
  • Thornton, R. (2011). Reviews. Ana Lucia Santos. Minimal answers: Ellipsis, syntax and discourse in the acquisition of European Portuguese, 2009. Language, 87(1), 229-234.
  • Crain, S., Khlentzos, D., & Thornton, R. (2010). Universal Grammar versus linguistic diversity. Lingua, 120, 2668-2672. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2010.03.005
  • 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
  • Shankweiler, D., Conway Palumbo, L., Fulbright, R., Einar Mencl, W., Van Dyke, J., Kollia, B., Thornton, R., Crain, S., & Harris, K. (2010). Testing the limits of language production in long-term survivors of major stroke: A Psycholinguistic and anatomic study. Aphasiology, 24(11), 1455-1485.
  • 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. (2010). Verb phrase ellipsis in children’s answers to questions. Language Learning and Development, 6, 1-31.
  • Crain, S., Thornton, R., & Khlentzos, D. (2009). The case of the missing generalizations. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(1), 145-155. doi:10.1515/COGL.2009.008
  • Crain, S., Thornton, R., & Murasugi, K. (2009). Capturing the evasive passive. Language Acquisition, 16(2), 123-133. doi:10.1080/10489220902769234
  • Notley, A., Zhou, P., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2009). Children's interpretation of focus expressions in English and Mandarin. Language Acquisition, 16(4), 240-282. doi:10.1080/10489220903266669
  • Thornton, R., & Tesan, G. (2007). Categorical acquisition: Parameter setting in Universal Grammar. Biolinguistics, 1, 49-98.
  • Crain, S., Goro, T. & Thornton, R. (2006). Language acquisition is language change. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 35, 31-49.
  • Kiguchi, H. & Thornton, R. (2004). Binding principles and ACD constructions in child grammars. Syntax, 7, 234-271.
  • Thornton, R. (2002). Let's change the subject: Focus in early grammar. Language Acquisition, 10, 229-267.
  • Gavruseva, E. & Thornton, R. (2001). Getting it right: Acquisition of 'whose' questions in child English. Language Acquisition, 9(3), 229-267.
  • Musolino, J., Crain, S., & Thornton, R.J. (2000). Navigating negative semantic space. Linguistics and Philosophy, 38, 1-32.
  • Thornton, R. & Crain, S. (1999). Levels of representation in child language. Linguistic Review, 16, 81-123.
  • Crain, S., Thornton, R., Boster, C., Conway, L., Lillo-Martin, D., & Woodams, E. (1996). Quantification without qualification. Language Acquisition, 3(2), 83-153.
  • Shankweiler, D., Crain, S., Katz, L., Fowler, A.E., Liberman, A.M., Brady, S.A., Thornton, R., Lundquist, E., Dreyer, L., Fletcher, J.M., Stuebing, K.K., Shaywitz, S.E. & Shaywitz, B.A. (1995). Cognitive profiles of reading-disabled children: Comparison of language skills in phonology, morphology and syntax. Psychological Science, 6, 149-156.
  • Thornton, R. (1995). Referentiality and wh-movement in child English: Juvenile D-Linkuency. Language Acquisition, 4, 139-175.
  • Avrutin, S. & Thornton, R. (1994). Distributivity and binding in child grammar. Linguistic Inquiry, 25, 165-171.

Published Abstracts

  • 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.
  • Miller Amberber, A. Nickels, L., Coltheart, M., Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2009). Language-switching and language selection in bilinguals with aphasia: Grammatical versus discourse impairment [Abstract]. Brain Impairment: Abstracts of the 32nd Brain Impairment Conference, 10, 138-139.

Published Conference Proceedings

  • Thornton, R., Kiguchi, H., & D'Onofrio, E. (In Press). Clefts and reconstruction in English-speaking children's grammars. In J. Scott, & D. Waughtal (Eds.), Proceedings of the 40th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville, USA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Zhou, P., Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2014). Lexical aspect and the use of negation by Mandarin-speaking children. In U. Minai, A. Tremblay, C. Coughlin, C.-Y. Chu, & B. Lopez Prego (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition - North America 5 (GALANA 5) (pp. 150-156). Somerville, USA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Zhou, P., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2013). The logic of double negation in child language. In S. Baiz, N. Goldman, & R. Hawkes (Eds.), Proceedings of 37th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 495-507). Somerville, USA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Akagi, N., Goro, T., Thornton, R., and Crain, S. (2011). Children’s interpretation of disjunction in questions in Japanese. In M. Pirvulescu., M.C. Cuervo, A. Pérez-Leroux, J. Steele, & N. Strik (Eds.), Proceedings of GALANA 4 (pp. 1-11). University of Toronto, Canada: Cascadilla Press.
  • Jensen, B., & Thornton, R. (2008). Fragments of child grammar. In M. João Freitas, & A. Gavarró Algueró (Eds.), Language Acquisition and Development: Papers from GALA 2007. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Thornton, R. (2006). Parameter setting: Universal grammar or statistical learning? In M. Laughren, & I. Mushin (Eds.), Proceedings of the ALS Conference 2006 Brisbane: ePrintsUQ.
  • Conroy, S., & Thornton, R. (2005). Children's knowledge of Principle C in discourse. In Otsu, Y. (Ed.), Proceedings of the Sixth Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics (pp. 69-94). Tokyo, Japan: Hitzu Syobo Publishing Company.
  • 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.
  • Thornton, R. (2004). Why continuity. In A. Brugos, L. Micciulla, & C.E. Smith (Eds.), Proceedings of Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD) 28 (pp. 620-632). Somerville, USA: Cascadilla Press.
  • 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.
  • Panizza, D., Notley, A., Thornton, R., & Cain, S. (). When children are as logical as adults: The interpretation of numerals in child language In Baiz, S., Goldman, N., & Hawkes, R. (Eds.), Proceedings of BUCLD 37 (pp. 306-318). Somerville, USA: Cascadilla Press.

Conference Presentations, Colloquia, and other presentations

  • Koring, L., & Thornton, R. (2017, June). Roots inform (children about) syntactic projection. Poster session presented at the Roots V Workshop, Queen Mary, University of London, UK.
  • Rombough, K., & Thornton, R. (2016, November). How children ask questions. Poster session presented at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention, Philadelphia, USA.
  • Gao, N., Zhou, P., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2016, September). The interpretation of disjunction in verb phrase ellipsis in Mandarin Chinese. Paper presented at the 7th Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America Conference (GALANA-7), University of Illinois, USA.
  • Huang, H., Zhou, P., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2016, September). Children’s knowledge of disjunction. Paper presented at the 7th Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America Conference (GALANA-7), University of Illinois, USA.
  • Gao, N., Zhou, P., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2016, August). The interpretation of disjunction in verb phrase ellipsis in Mandarin Chinese. Poster session presented at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Annual Workshop, The Fairmont Resort, Leura.
  • Gao, N., Zhou, P., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2016, June). The interpretation of disjunction involving negative linguistic contexts in Mandarin Chinese. Paper presented at the Workshop "Disjunction days: Theoretical and experimental perspectives on the semantics and pragmatics of disjunction", Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin, Germany.
  • Huang, H., Zhou, P., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2016, June). Children’s knowledge of disjunction. Poster session presented at the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS), Berlin, Germany.
  • Rombough, K., & Thornton, R. (2016, June). Answers to wh-questions in children with Specific Language Impairment. Poster session presented at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, Perth.
  • Rombough, K., & Thornton, R. (2015, November). Answers to wh-questions in children with Specific Language Impairment. Poster session presented at the 5th Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference, Auckland, NZ.
  • Thornton, R., Kiguchi, H., & D’Onofrio, E. (2015, November). Clefts and reconstruction in English-speaking children’s grammars. Paper presented at the 40th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD40), Boston, USA.
  • Crain, S., An, S., Zhou, P., and Thornton, R. (2015, January). Dou and disjunction in child Mandarin. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America 2015 Annual Meeting, Portland, USA.
  • Crain, S., Geckin, V., & Thornton, R. (2015, January). Disjunction and negation in Turkish: A comparison of children and adults. Poster session presented at the Linguistic Society of America 2015 Annual Meeting, Portland, USA.
  • Rombough, K., & Thornton, R. (2014, November). Negative sentences in children with Specific Language Impairment. Poster session presented at the Boston University Conference on Child Language Development, Boston, USA.
  • An, S., Thornton, R., Crain, S., & Zhou, P. (2014, May). Mandarin-speaking children’s knowledge of the quantifier Dou. Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics and the 26th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics, College Park, USA.
  • Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2014, February). Acquisition of syntax and semantics. Colloquium at the IDEALAB Winter School, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Geçkin, V., & Thornton, R. (2013, September). Cross-linguistic influence in bilingual pre-schoolers’ acquisition of articles. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA 2013), Oldenburg, Germany.
  • Liao, M., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2013, September). Children’s acquisition of shenme in Mandarin downward entailing context. Poster session presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA 2013), Oldenburg, Germany.
  • Liao, M., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2013, June). Children’s interpretation of disjunction in Mandarin comparatives. Paper presented at the 21st International Association of Chinese Linguistics (IACL 21), Taiwan.
  • Thornton, R., Crain, S., Rombough, K., McKenzie, J., Orton, L., & Malin, S. (2013, June). Children’s acquisition of doesn’t in negative sentences. Paper presented at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, Broadbeach.
  • Panizza, D., Notley, A., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2012, November). When children are as logical as adults: Entailment patterns affect the interpretation of numerals in language development. Presentation given at the 37th Annual Boston University Conference on Child Language, Boston, USA.
  • Zhou, P., Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2012, November). The logic of double negation in child language. Paper presented at the 37th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, USA.
  • Zhou, P., Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2012, October). Lexical aspect and the use of negation by Mandarin-speaking children. Paper presented at the 5th Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition - North America (GALANA5), Lawrence, USA.
  • Zhou, P., Crain, S., & Thornton, R. (2012, October). When two negatives make a positive in child Mandarin. Paper presented at the 5th Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition - North America (GALANA5), Lawrence, USA.
  • Thornton, R., Crain, S., Zhou, P., Notley, A., & Goro, T. (2012, January). The latest scoop on scope in child language. Paper presented at the 86th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Portland, USA.
  • Thornton, R. (2011, November). Studies of negation in children with Specific Language Impairment. Invited presentation given at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) Annual Workshop, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Thornton, R. & Kiguchi, H. (2011, September). Connectivity effects in child grammar. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition 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.
  • Notley, A., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2011, August). Children's interpretation of the logical words 'not', 'every', and 'or'. Poster session presented at the Harvard-Australia Workshop on Language, Learning and Logic, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Thornton, R. (2011, August). Acquiring sentential negation in child English. Presentation given at the Harvard-Australia Workshop on Language Learning and Logic, Sydney.
  • Notley, A., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (2011, July). Children's interpretation of the logical words 'not', 'every', and 'or'. Poster session presented at the 12th International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Montreal, Canada.
  • Thornton, R. (2011, May). Children’s acquisition of negative sentences. Presentation given at the Linguistics Department Seminar Series at Macquarie Universiy, Sydney.
  • Thornton, R. (2011, April). Children’s negative sentences in English and Mandarin. Presentation given at the Child language workshop. Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing, China.
  • Akagi, N., Goro, T., & Thornton, R. (2010, September). Children's Interpretations of Disjunction in Japanese Questions. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition - North America 4 (GALANA 4), Toronto, Canada.
  • Akagi, N., Thornton, R., & Goro, T. (2010, August). Toward a universal typology of yes-no questions: Implications from child Japanese. Paper presented at the 8th Conference of Generative Linguistics in the Old World Asia (GLOW-in-Asia 8), Beijing, China.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jensen, B. & Thornton, R. (2008, January). Making sense of children's early answers to wh-questions. Colloquium at the MARCS Auditory Laboratories Wednesday Afternoon Research Colloquium, University of Western Sydney, Sydney.
  • Jensen, B., & Thornton, R. (2007, September). Children's answers to wh-questions. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Australian Linguistics Society, University of Adelaide, Adelaide.
  • Thornton, R., & Jensen, B. (2007, September). Fragments of child grammar. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Jensen, B., & Thornton, R. (2007, August). Fragments of child grammar. Paper presented at the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, King's College London, UK.
  • Tesan, G, & Thornton, R. (2007, January). Sentential negation in English-speaking children. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Anaheim, USA.
  • Thornton, R. (2007, January). Models of parameter setting. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Anaheim, USA.
  • Thornton, R. (2006, July). Parameter setting and statistical learning. Keynote paper presented at the 37th Annual Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society (ALS), Brisbane.
  • Thornton, R. (2005, September). Bringing out hidden structure in child language. Presentation given at the 3rd International Conference on Formal Linguistics and the Second Yuelu Workshop on Language Acquisition, Hunan University, Hunan, China.
  • Thornton, R. (2005, September). Acquiring VP ellipsis. Presentation given at the Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing, China.
  • Conroy, S. & Thornton, R. (2005, March). Children's knowledge of Principle C in Discourse. Presentation given at the Sixth Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, Tokyo, Japan.
  • 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.
  • Kiguchi, H. & Thornton, R. (2002, March). Children's knowledge of the interaction between binding principles and QR. Paper presented at the Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Kiguchi, H. & Thornton, R. (2001, October). Children's understanding of binding Principle B in ACD Constructions. Paper presented at the NELS 32, New York, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (2001, March). A-Movement in early English. Paper presented at the Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Thornton, R. (2001, March). Methodologies for investigation child grammars. Colloquium at the Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, Tokyo, Japan.
  • Thornton, R. (1999, September). VP ellipsis: Infinitives not an option. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA 1999), Potsdam, Germany.
  • Thornton, R. (1999, September). No lack of focus at two. Paper presented at the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA 1999), Potsdam, Germany.
  • Gavruseva, L. & Thornton, R. (1999, January). Possessor extraction in child English: A minimalist account. Paper presented at the Penn Colloquium 1999, .
  • Thornton, R. (1998, July). Children's knowledge of pragmatics. Implications fr learning to read. Colloquium at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
  • Thornton, R. (1998, April). Children's interpretation of pronouns in VP ellipsis structures. Colloquium at the Johns Hopkins University, Department of Cognitive Science, Baltimore, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (1998, April). Children's interpretation of pronouns in VP ellipsis structures. Colloquium at the Yale University, Linguistics Department, New Haven, United States.
  • Ni, W., Shankweiler, D., Conway-Palumbo, L., Harris, K.S., Fulbright, R.K., Thornton, R., & Crain, S. (1998, January). Elicitation of verbs and inflections in nonfluent aphasia. Poster session presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Aphasia, Santa Fe, USA.
  • Chierchia, G., Crain, S., Guasti, M.T., & Thornton, R. (1997, January). "Some" and "Or": A study on the emergence of Logical Form. Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Boston University conference on child language development, Boston, USA.
  • Gavruseva, L. & Thornton, R. (1997, January). Evidence for access to UG: L2 Acquisition of long-distance questions. Paper presented at the Annual Linguistics Society of America Conference, Chicago, United States.
  • Thornton, R. & Gavruseva, L. (1996, November). Children's split "whose-questions" and the structure of possessive NP's. Paper presented at the Boston University Annual Conference on Child Language Development, Boston, United States.
  • Crain, S., Conway, L. & Thornton, R. (1995, September). Semantic distinctions in child language. Paper presented at the Groningen Assembly on Child Language Acquisition, Groningen, The Netherlands.
  • Thornton, R. (1995, June). Referentiality and Wh-Movement. Colloquium at the UCLA, Los Angeles, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (1995, April). Referential questions in children's grammars. Colloquium at the University of Delaware Colloquium, Delaware, United States.
  • Guasti, T., Thornton, R. & Wexler, K. (1994, October). Children's negative questions. Paper presented at the Boston University Annual Conference on Child Language Development, Boston, United States.
  • Crain, S., Thornton, R. Boster, C. & Conway, L. (1994, September). Quantification without qualification. Paper presented at the Eastern States Conference on Linguistics (ESCOL), Columbia, USA.
  • Thornton, R. (1994, September). Placement and interpretation of negation in children's questions: A production/comprehension asymmetry. Paper presented at the ESCOL, Columbia, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (1993, December). Children's negative questions. Colloquium at the NYU Colloquium, New York, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (1993, November). Panel discussant for the mini-seminar 'Investigating Morphosyntactic Deficits from a Linguistic Perspective'. Presentation given at the ASHA Conference, Anaheim, United States.
  • Thornton, R. & Crain, S. (1993, November). Workshop on experimental methodologies for language acquisition. Colloquium at the Department of Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
  • Thornton, R. (1993, October). Children's knowledge of bound variables. Colloquium at the CUNY 'Syntax Lunch', New York, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (1993, July). Cross-linguistic perspectives on language acquisition. Colloquium at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Natural and Humanistic Sciences, Trieste, Italy.
  • Avrutin, S. & Thornton, R. (1993, January). The distributive operator: Evidence from binding theory in child grammars. Paper presented at the LSA Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (1993, January). Children who don't raise the negative. Paper presented at the LSA Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, United States.
  • Thornton, R., Wexler, K., & Leszek, A. (1992, October). Escape from islands. Paper presented at the 17th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (1991, November). Whither Principle B. Paper presented at the MIT Cognitive Science Colloquium, Cambridge, United States.
  • Thornton, R. & Wexler, K. (1991, October). VP Ellipsis in young children's grammars. Paper presented at the 16th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, United States.
  • Thornton, R. (1991, April). Successful cyclic movement. Paper presented at the 14th GLOW Colloquium Workshop on Language Acquisition, Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • Thornton, R. (1990, October). A Principle-based explanation of some exceptional wh-questions. Paper presented at the 15th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, United States.
  • Crain, S. & Thornton, R. (1990, April). Levels of representation in child grammar. Paper presented at the 13th GLOW Colloquium, Cambridge, UK.
  • Thornton, R. & Crain, S. (1989, December). Children's use of bound pronouns. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., USA.
  • Crain, S. & Thornton, R. (1988, December). The acquisition of wanna contraction. Paper presented at the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans, USA.
  • Crain, S. & Thornton, R. (1988, October). Innateness and wh-movement. Paper presented at the 13th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, USA.
  • Crain, S. & Thornton, R. (1988, June). Elicited Production: Recharting the course of language acquisition. Paper presented at the Biobehavioral Foundations of Language Development, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Washington D.C., USA.
  • Crain, S., Thornton, R. & Murasugi, K. (1987, October). Capturing the evasive passive. Paper presented at the 12th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, USA.
  • Thornton, R. & Wexler, K. (0000, January). There's no escape from strong islands. Paper presented at the 2nd Workshop on the Acquisition of Wh-Movement: 'On questions and quantifiers', University of Massachusetts, United States.

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