Tom Roeper

Tom Roeper, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, has studied child language for thirty years, and is a co-author of the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation (DELV), co-editor of Studies in Theoretical Psycholinguistics, and one of the founding editors of Language Acquisition. He has worked on numerous grants from National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health in the US and other national science foundations in Canada, Europe and Asia. He has lectured all over the world on these topics.

  • The Prism of Grammar

    The Prism of Grammar

    How Child Language Illuminates Humanism

    Tom Roeper

    Exploring the creativity of mind through children's language: how the tiniest utterances can illustrate the simple but abstract principles behind modern grammar—and reveal the innate structures of the mind.

    Every sentence we hear is instantly analyzed by an inner grammar; just as a prism refracts a beam of light, grammar divides a stream of sound, linking diverse strings of information to different domains of mind—memory, vision, emotions, intentions. In The Prism of Grammar, Tom Roeper brings the abstract principles behind modern grammar to life by exploring the astonishing intricacies of child language. Adult expressions provide endless puzzles for the child to solve. The individual child's solutions ("Don't uncomfortable the cat" is one example) may amuse adults but they also reveal the complexity of language and the challenges of mastering it. The tiniest utterances, says Roeper, reflect the whole mind and engage the child's free will and sense of dignity. He offers numerous and novel "explorations"—many at the cutting edge of current work—that anyone can try, even in conversation around the dinner table. They elicit how the child confronts "recursion"—the heartbeat of grammar—through endless possessives ("John's mother's friend's car"), mysterious plurals, contradictory adjectives, the marvels of ellipsis, and the deep obscurity of reference ("there it is, right here"). They are not tests of skill; they are tools for discovery and delight, not diagnosis. Each chapter on acquisition begins with a commonsense look at how structures work—moving from the simple to the complex—and then turns to the literary and human dimensions of grammar. One important human dimension is the role of dialect in society and in the lives of children. Roeper devotes three chapters to the structure of African-American English and the challenge of responding to linguistic prejudice. Written in a lively style, accessible and gently provocative, The Prism of Grammar is for parents and teachers as well as students—for everyone who wants to understand how children gain and use language—and anyone interested in the social, philosophical, and ethical implications of how we see the growing mind emerge.

    • Hardcover $37.95
    • Paperback $24.95

Contributor

  • Methods for Assessing Children's Syntax

    Methods for Assessing Children's Syntax

    Dana McDaniel, Cecile McKee, and Helen Smith Cairns

    This book is designed in part as a handbook to assist students and researchers in the choice and use of methods for investigating children's grammar.

    The study of child language and, in particular, child syntax is a growing area of linguistic research, yet methodological issues often take a back seat to the findings and conclusions of specific studies in the field. This book is designed in part as a handbook to assist students and researchers in the choice and use of methods for investigating children's grammar. For example, a method (or combination of methods) can be chosen based on what is measured and who the target subject is. In addition to the selection of methods, there are also pointers for designing and conducting experimental studies and for evaluating research.

    Methods for Assessing Children's Syntax combines the best features of approaches developed in experimental psychology and linguistics that ground the study of language within the study of human cognition. The first three parts focus on specific methods, divided according to the type of data collected: production, comprehension, and judgment. Chapters in the fourth part take up general methodological considerations that arise regardless of which method is used. All of the methods described can be modified to meet the requirements of a specific study.

    ContributorsHelen Smith Cairns, Katherine Demuth, Jill de Villiers, Suzanne Flynn, Claire Foley, LouAnn Gerken, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Helen Goodluck, Peter Gordon, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Jennifer Ryan Hsu, Louis Michael Hsu, Celia Jakubowicz, Laurence B. Leonard, Barbara Lust, Dana McDaniel, Cecile McKee, Thomas Roeper, Michele E. Shady, Karin Stromswold, Rosalind Thornton

    Language, Speech, and Communication series

    • Hardcover $55.00
    • Paperback $35.00