Comprehensive Exam Reading List: Speech and Language


Current Committee Members

            Judith Danovitch (chair), Lauren Harris, Laura Dilly



Below is a list of journals you should monitor for content relevant articles. While we will not ask a question solely on the content of recent articles, we may ask questions that ask you to apply what you know from the content of the reading list below to a current issue or hot topic of recent articles.

·         Annual Review of Psychology

·         Child Development

·         Cognition

·         Cognitive Psychology

·         Developmental Psychology

·         Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance

·         Journal of Memory and Language

·         Speech and Language


References and further reading

Below are some reference books and articles that we have found useful to have on hand when working through topics in the list below.

·         Hoff, E. (2005). Language development (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson. [excellent summary of theory and evidence]

·         Bickerton, D. (2008). Bastard tongues: A trailblazing linguist finds clues to our common humanity in the world’s lowliest languages. New York, NY: Hill & Wang.

·         Bloom, P. (2000). How children learn the meaning of words. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

·         Pinker, S. (1994). The language instinct: How the mind creates language. New York, NY: Morrow.

·         Chomsky, N. (1968). Language and mind. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World. [among other things, shows that Skinner’s approach cannot, in principle, account for the most fundamental part of language development, namely, the acquisition of a grammar.]

·          Skinner, B.F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York, NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts. [a tour-de-force application of conditioning theory to language on the premise is fundamentally not different from any other behavior.]

·         Lane, H. (1976). The wild boy of Aveyron. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. [superb retelling of the famous story, along with previously unpublished and untranslated accounts of the original medical reports.]

·         Rymer, R. (1993). Genie: a scientific tragedy. New York, NY: HarperCollins. [the story of the most famous ‘wild child’ of the 20th century, with a frank and devastating account of her mistreatment by the scientists who treated and analyzes her.]

·         Nelson, K. (2007). Young minds in social worlds: Experience, meaning, and memory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Reviews/general background


1.       Miller, G. A. (1990). The place of language in a scientific psychology. Psychological Science, 1, 7-14.[PDF]

2.      Chomsky, N. A (1959). Review of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior.” Language, 35, 26-58.[PDF]

3.      Bickerton, D. (1983). Creole languages. Scientific American, 249, 116-122.


Language acquisition


Is there a critical period for language acqusition?

4.      Fromkin, V., Krashen, S., Curtiss, S., Rigler, D., & Rigler, M. (1974). The development of language in Genie: A case of language acquisition beyond the “critical period.” Brain and Language, 1, 81-107.[PDF]

5.      Grimshaw, G.M., Adelstein, A., Bryden, M.P., & MacKinnon, G.E. (1998). First-language acquisition in adolescence: evidence for a critical period for verbal language development. Brain and Language, 63, 237-255.     [PDF]


Social influences on language development

6.       Snow, C.E. (1989). Understanding social interaction and language acquisition: Sentences are not enough. In M.H. Bornstein & J.S. Bruner (Eds.), Interaction in human development (pp. 83-104). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.


Using infant-directed speech (“motherese”)

7.       Fernald, A., & Kuhl, P.K. (1987). Acoustical determinants of infant preference for motherese speech. Infant Behavior and Development, 10, 279-283.[PDF]

8.      Fernald, A.,  & Mazzie, C. (1991). Prosody and focus in speech to infants and adults. Developmental Psychology, 27, 209-221.[PDF]

9.      Werker, J.F., Pegg, J.E., & McLeod, P.J. (1994). A cross-language investigation of infant preference for infant-directed communication. Infant Behavior and Development, 17, 323-333.[PDF]


Semantic development

10.   Ganger, J., & Brent, M.R. (2004). Reexamining the vocabulary spurt. Developmental Psychology, 40, 621-632.[PDF]

11.  Huttenlocher, J., & Smiley, P. (1987). Early world meanings: The case of object names. Cognitive Psychology, 19, 63-89.[PDF]

12.  Huttenlocher, J., Smiley, P., & Charney, R. (1987). Emergence of action categories in the child: Evidence from verb meanings. Psychological Review, 90, 72-93. [PDF]    


Learning grammar

13.   Marcus, G.F. (1995). Children’s overregularization of English plurals: A quantitative analysis. Journal of Child Language, 22, 447-460.[PDF]


Language processing

14.   Mattys, S. L., White, L., & Melhorn, J. F. (2005). Integration of multiple speech segmentation cues: A hierarchical framework. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134, 477–500.[PDF]

15.  Tanenhaus, M. K., Spivey-Knowlton, M. J., Eberhard, K. M., & Sedivy, J. C. (1995). Integration of visual and linguistic information in spoken language comprehension. Science, 268, 1632–1634.[PDF]

16.  Miller, J. (1981) Effects of speaking rate on segmental distinctions. In P. Eimas, & J. Miller (Eds.), Perspectives on the Study of Speech (pp. 39-74).

17.  Shannon, R.V., Zeng, F.G., Kamath, V., Wygonski, J., & Ekelid, M. (1995). Speech recognition with primarily temporal cues. Science, 270, 303–304.[PDF]

18.  Kraljic, T., Samuel, A.G., & Brennan, S.E. (2008). First impressions and last resorts: How listeners adjust to speaker variability. Psychological Science, 19, 332-338.[PDF]

19.  Galantucci, B., Fowler, C. A., & Goldstein, L. (2009). Perceptuomotor compatibility effects in speech. Perception & Psychophysics, 71, 1138-1149.[PDF]

20.  Pardo, J. S., & Remez, R. E. (2006). The perception of speech. In M. Traxler & M. A. Gernsbacher (Eds.), Handbook of Psycholinguistics, 2nd Edition (pp. 201-248). New York, NY: Academic Press.

21.  Berent, I., & Lennertz, T. (2010). Universal constraints on the sound structure of language: Phonological or acoustic. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 36, 212-223.[PDF]

22.  Christophe, A., Peperkamp, S., Pallier, C., Block, E., & Mehler, J. (2004) Phonological phrase boundaries constrain lexical access I. Adult data. Journal of Memory and Language, 51(4), 523-547.[PDF]

23.  Viswanathan, N., Magnuson, J. S., & Fowler, C. A. (accepted). Compensation for coarticulation: Disentangling auditory and gestural theories of perception of coarticulatory effects in speech. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.[PDF]

24.  Holt, L. L. (2005). Temporally non-adjacent non-linguistic sounds affect speech categorization. Psychological Science, 16, 305-312.[PDF]


Brain development and language

25.   Bates, E., & Dick, F. (2002). Language, gesture, and the developing brain. Developmental Psychobiology, 40, 293-310.[PDF]

26.  Guttorm, T.K., Leppanen, P.H.T., & Poikkeus, A.M. (2005). Brain event-related potentials (ERPs) measured at birth predict later language development in children with and without familial risk for dyslexia. Cortex, 41, 291-303.[PDF]

27.  Vicari, S., Albertoni, A.M., Chilosi, A.M., & Cipriani, P. (2000). Plasticity and reorganization during language development in children with early brain injury. Cortex, 36, 31-46.[PDF]

28.  Liegeois, F., Connelly, A., Cross, H., Boyd, S.G., Gadian, D.G., Vargha-Khadem, F., & Baldeweg, T. (2004). Language reorganization in children with early-onset lesions of the left hemisphere: an fMRI study. Brain, 127, 1229-1236.[PDF]

29.  Lai, C.S.L., Gerrelli, D., Monaco, A.P., Fisher, S.E., & Copp, A.J. (2003). FOXP2 expression during brain development coincides with adult sites of pathology in a severe speech and language disorder. Brain, 126, 2455-2462.[PDF]

30.  Volterra, V. Capirci, O. Pezzini, G., Sabbadini, L., & Vicari, S. (1996). Linguistic abilities in Italian children with Williams syndrome. Cortex, 32, 663-677.[PDF]

31.  Sakai, K.L. (2005). Language acquisition and brain development. Science, 310(5749), 815-819.[PDF]


Language and Thought

32.   Lucy, J. (1999). Entry on “Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis.” In MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive science.

33.  Boroditsky, L. (2011). How language shapes thought. Scientific American, 63-65. [PDF]

34.  Winawer, J., Witthoft, N., Frank, M., Wu, L., Wade, A., & Boroditsky, L. (2007). The Russian Blues reveal effects of language on color discrimination. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 104(19), 7780-7785. [PDF]

35.  Majid, A., Bowerman, M., Kita, S., Haun, D. B. M., & Levinson, S. C. (2004). Can language restructure cognition? The case for space. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(3), 108-114. [PDF]

36.  Boroditsky, L. (2001). Does language shape thought?: Mandarin and English speakers’ conceptions of time. Cognitive Psychology, 43, 1–22.[PDF]

37.  January, D., & Kako, E. (2007). Re-evaluating evidence for linguistic relativity: Reply to Boroditsky (2001).  Cognition, 104, 417-426.[PDF]

38.  Chen, J-Y.  (2007). Do Chinese and English speakers think about time differently?  Failure of replicating Boroditsky (2001).  Cognition, 104, 417-426.[PDF]


Cognitive Effects of Bilingualism

39.   Danziger, Shai, &Ward, R. (2010). Language Changes Implicit Associations between Ethnic Groups and Evaluation in Bilin­guals. Psychological Science, 21(6), 799–800. [PDF]

40.  Bialystok, E., & Craik, F.I.M. (2010). Cognitive and linguistic processing in the bilingual mind. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 19-23.[PDF]

41.  Bialystok, E. (1999). Cognitive complexity and attentional control in the bilingual mind. Child Development, 70, 636-644.[PDF]


Evolution of Language

42.   Hauser, M., Chomsky, N., & W.T. Fitch (2002).  The Faculty of Language: What Is It, Who Has, It, and How Did It Evolve? Science, 298(5598), 1569-1579.[PDF]

43.  Bever, T., Bever, M., & Montalbetti (2002).  Linguistics:  Noam's Ark.  Science, 298(5598), 1565-1566. [PDF]



44.   Keysar, B., & Henly, N. (2002). Speaker's overestimation of their effectiveness. Psychological Science, 13, 207-212.[PDF]

45.  Keysar, B., Barr, D. J., Balin, J. A., & Paek, T. S. (1998). Definite reference and mutual knowledge: Process models of common ground in comprehension. Journal of Memory and Language, 39, 1-20.[PDF]

46.  Shatz , M. (1994). Theory of mind and the development of sociolinguistic intelligence in early childhood. In C. Lewis & P. Mitchell (Eds.), Children’s early understanding of mind: Origins and development (pp. 311-329). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.