Early semantic development: Linking language development to emerging participation in social events (EASE)

  • Rohlfing, Katharina (PI)
  • Rączaszek-Leonardi, Joanna (CoI)
  • Nomikou, Iris (Team Member)

Project Details


The project was funded by the NCN-DFG Beethoven 1, 2014/15/G/HS1/04536 Initiative.

The main goal of this project is to contribute to the theory of early language development within the emerging embodied, distributed and situated approach to cognition. For decades, the field of language acquisition has been dominated by approaches, which searched for the learning mechanisms for language mainly in the individual mind of a child and focused mostly on word learning as mapping of labels to their referents. However within the emerging approach, in which language is seen as tightly integrated with other cognitive and social skills and inextricably immersed in action, there is a need to redefine language acquisition in terms of an extended set of mechanisms.

In this project, we pursue a series of studies on early interactions between infants (2 to 12 months) and caregivers, aiming at: 1) revealing the background structure of early interactions in which language is immersed; 2) the timing and place language assumes in these interactions; 3) demonstrating the difference that language makes in structuring interactions, especially in directing them towards external world.

Research methods will consist in: A) theoretical analyses within existing frameworks for language development and for linking cognition to action (ecological psychology) and B) empirical methods, which rely on an innovative integration of qualitative microanalysis of existing videocorpora of early interactions, quantitative statistical and novel dynamical analyses of these data, as well as original experimental work.

Key findings

The findings of the project were presented in multiple publications.
Short titleEarly semantic development
Effective start/end date1/02/1631/01/19


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