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Department Faculty

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Laura Wagner

I study how children acquire language, and in particular, how they learn about meaning. My research has looked at various dimensions of meaning, including children's understanding of temporal and event semantics (especially the linguistic category of aspect), and their understanding of social indexical meanings coded in dialect and register.

I also direct the Language Sciences Research Lab at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry (COSI) where I collect data and help to educate the public about language and linguistics.

Selected Publications

Fedder, J.C. & Wagner, L. (in press).  Being up front: Narrative context and aspectual choice.  Language and Cognition.

Wagner, L., Vega-Mendoza, M., Van Horn, S. (2014).  Social and linguistic cues facilitate children’s register comprehensionFirst Language, 34,  299 – 314.

Wagner, L., Clopper, C. G., & Pate, J. (2014).  Children’s perception of dialect variationJournal of Child Language, 41,  1062 – 1084.

Wagner, L., Dunfield, K., & Rohrbeck, K. (2014)  Children’s use of social cues when learning conventionsJournal of Cognition and Development, 15,  479 – 494.

Ito, K., Bibyk, S., Wagner, L., & Speer, S.R. (2014) Interpretation of contrastive pitch accent in 6- to 11-year-old English Speaking children (and adults). Journal of Child Language 41, 84 - 110.

Wagner, L. (2013) By the numbers: A quantitative content analysis of chidlren's picturebooks. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, Article 850 (November).

Clopper, C., Rohrbeck, K. L. & Wagner, L. (2013) Perception of talker age by young adults with High-Functioning Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43 134 - 146.

Candan, A., Küntay, A. C., Yeh, Y., Cheung, H., Wagner, L., & Naigles, L. R., (2012) Language and age effects in children’s processing of word order. Cognitive Development 27, 205-221

Clopper, C., Rohrbeck, K. L. & Wagner, L. (2012) Perception of dialect variation by young adults with high functioning Autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 41, 740 - 754.

Wagner, L. (2012) First Language Acquisition. In Binnick, R. (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 458 - 480.

Wagner, L., Greene-Havas, M. & Gillespie, R. (2010) Development in Children's Comprehension of Linguistic Register. Child Development 81, 1678 - 1685.

Wagner, L. (2010) Inferring Meaning from Syntactic Structures in Acquisition: The Case of Transitivity and Telicity. Language and Cognitive Processes 25, 1354 - 1379.

Wagner, L. (2010) Acquisition of Semantics. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science 1 (4), 519 - 526 .

Wagner, L., Swenson, L., & Naigles, L. (2009) Children’s Early Productivity with Verbal Morphology. Cognitive Development 24, 223 - 239.

Wagner, L. (2009)  I’ll Never Grow Up: Continuity in Aspectual Representations.  Linguistics 47 (5), 1051 - 1074.

Wagner, L. (2009) Manners and Goals in Pre-Linguistic Thought: The Origins of Aspectual Construal. In Chandlee, J., Franchini, M., Lord, S., & Rheiner, G. (eds) Proceedings of the 33rd annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville: Cascadilla Press.

Wagner, L. and Lakusta, L. (2009) Using Language to Navigate the Infant Mind. Perspectives on Psychological Science 4 (2), 177 - 184.

Wagner, L., A. Yocom, M. Greene-Havas (2008) Children’s Understanding of Directed Motion Events in an Imitation Choice TaskJournal of Experimental Child Psychology 100, 264 - 275.

Barner, D., Wagner, L., & Snedeker, J. (2008)  Events and the ontology of individuals: Verbs as a source of individuating nouns. Cognition 105, 805 - 832.

Lakusta, L., L. Wagner, K. O’Hearn, B. Landau (2007) Conceptual Foundations of Spatial Language: Evidence for a Goal Bias in InfantsLanguage Learning and Development 3(3), 179 - 197.

Wagner, L. (2006) Aspectual Bootstrapping in Language Acquisition: Telicity and Transitivity. Language Learning and Development 2(1), 51 - 76.

Wagner, L., E. Kako, E. Amick, E. Carrigan, and K. Liu (2005) Children's Use of Pointing to Anchor Reference during Story-telling. In Brugos, A., M. R. Clark-Cotton, and S. Ha (eds) Proceedings of the 29th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development. Somerville: Cascadilla Press. 639-650.

Wagner, L. and S. Carey (2005) 12-month-olds Represent Probable Endings of Motion Events. Infancy 7 (1), 73 - 83.

Wagner, L. and S. Carey (2003) Individuation of Objects & Events: A Developmental Study. Cognition 90 (2), 163 - 191.

Wagner, L. (2002) Understanding Completion Entailments in the Absence of Agency Cues. Journal of Child Language 29, 109 - 125.

Kako, E. & L. Wagner (2001) The Semantics of Syntactic Structures. Trends in Cognitive Science, Vol 5 no. 3, 102 - 108.

Wagner, L. (2001) Aspectual Influences on Early Tense Interpretation. Journal of Child Language 28, 661 - 681.


241 Psychology Building
1835 Neil Avenue Mall
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 688-3260