Anat Ninio's important new book places the syntactic learning process under close scrutiny. The focus is on the characteristics of the linguistic input and resultant output, which, she shows, are surprisingly similar in their global features. Unique to this book is its reliance on very large English corpora of parental speech and child utterances, hand-analyzed for core grammatical relations, revealing surprising new facts about the input and output of syntactic development. Drawing on mainstream linguistic theory (the Minimalist Program, Dependency Grammar), Complexity Theory (self-organization), and quantitative linguistics (corpus-based linguistics, Zipf curves), it analyzes the input and output languages both theoretically and empirically, building on the contribution of the different source theories in a detailed and explicit manner. This book presents a highly novel perspective on the acquisition of syntax, one which will be required reading for those in the field of developmental psycholinguistics.
Anat Ninio graduated from Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a Ph.D. in Psychology for which she studied under the supervision of Professor Daniel Kahneman. She spent a year of post-doctoral studies with Professor Jerome Bruner at Oxford, studying early language development. Anat Ninio has been on the faculty of the Hebrew University since 1970 where she now holds a professorship. She has spent sabbatical years as a Visiting Scholar or Visiting Professor Duke University, the New School for Social Research in New York, New York University, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, the University of Quebec, Montreal, Harvard University, and Macquarie University. She has served as the Chair of the Graduate Developmental Program, and as the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Hebrew University. Anat Ninio is an Associate of Behavioural and Brain Sciences and a member of the Unesco Institute for Education Exchange Network on Functional Literacy in Industrialized Countries.