Emma Healey

Thesis title: The Reference Problem and how children use gesture and grammatical number to solve it

Background

I am a PhD student in the department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh. My research is on child language acquisiton and looks at how 2- and 3-year-olds use gesture and grammatical number to inform their understanding of newly encountered object labels

I am a member of the Edinburgh Laboratory for Language Development (ElfLanD) and I support Bilingualism Matters.

Education

PhD in Linguistics

  • Ongoing empirical and theoretical research in child language acquisition.
  • Thesis: The Reference Problem and how children use gesture and grammatical number to solve it

MSc by Research in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics: August 2008

  • Graduated with distinction.
  • Thesis: Will children accept two labels for a single object when given a socio-cognitive cue to do so? A comparative study of word-learning strategies in monolingual and bilingual children (85%)

MA (hons) English Language and Linguistics: June 2007

  • Graduated with first class honours
  • Dissertation: Are children willing to accept two labels for one object? A comparative study of mutual exclusivity in monolingual and bilingual children (80%)

Awards

2009-present

  • My PhD research is fully funded by the Carnegie Trust. I was also offered a scholarship offer from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for this purpose.

2007-2008

  • My MSc was fully funded by a scholarship the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
  • I was awarded a Paula Menyuk Travel Award allowing me to present my MSc research at the 2009 Boston University Conference on Language Development.

2007

  • I received the Helen Philip Memorial Prize, awarded on the basis of academic achievement to the best graduate in humanities disciplines by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Publications

Refereed publications

  • Healey, E & Skarabela, B (2008). Are children willing to accept two labels for one object?: A comparative study of mutual exclusivity in bilingual and monolingual children. In: Proceedings of the Child Language Seminar 2007. University of Reading.
  • Healey, E. (2008). Review of Snyder, W. (2007). Child Language: The Parametric Approach. First Language. 28(4). 443-444.

Refereed presentations

  • Healey, E., Skarabela, B. & Ota, M. (2009). Do monolingual and bilingual children differ in their adherence to mutual exclusivity? Poster presented at the Boston University Conference on Language Development.
  • Healey, E & Skarabela, B. (2007). Are children willing to accept two labels for one object?: A comparative study of mutual exclusivity in bilingual and monolingual children. Paper presented at the Child Language Seminar, 2007, hosted by the University of Reading.

Invited presentations

  • Healey, E. (2012) Word learning as the product of multiple cues: Factors involved in learners’ strategy preferences. Paper presented at the Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference, 15th May 2012.
  • Healey, E. (2012) Word learning as the product of multiple cues: Factors involved in learners’ strategy preferences. Paper presented to the Developmental Linguistics Research Group, 13th April 2012.
  • Healey, E. (2011). The relationship between social and grammatical cues in word learning. Paper presented at the Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference at the University of Edinburgh
  • Healey, E. (2008). An investigation into the relationships between childhood bilingualism, social cognition and lexical acquisition. Paper presented at the Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference at the University of Edinburgh
  • Healey, E. (2007). An investigation into the relationships between childhood bilingualism, social cognition and lexical acquisition. Paper presented to the Developmental Linguistics Research Group at the University of Edinburgh

Teaching

Between January and December 2009 I tutored undergraduates in the department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh. This included teaching on phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax and figurative language (Semester 1) and language variation and change (including Scots) and the history of English (Semester 2). As part of this I developed some own teaching exercises and received excellent feedback from my students.

Additional experience

2008-2009: Research Assistant

Between my MSc and PhD degrees (September 2008-January 2009), I worked as a research assistant on syntactic priming study looking at 3- to 5-year-old children’s use of possessive structures. The project was run by Barbora Skarabela and Ludovica Serratrice and I was responsible for stimuli preparation, participant recruitment and data collection.

Research summary

Language acquisition, social cognition, childhood bilingualism and developmental psychology