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Department of Linguistics

Child Language Lab

The Child Language Lab, led by Distinguished Professor Katherine Demuth and Dr Titia Benders, studies the process of early child language acquisition. Our research group aims to identify language development in infants, monolingual and bilingual children, children with hearing loss and those with language delay.

CLL Lab photo

We focus primarily on issues at the phonetics/phonology interface, including the acquisition of grammatical morphology. This is done by using specifically designed tasks to gather behavioural and neurological evidence of children's developing language abilities. Our methods include behavioural speech perception and production tasks, eye-tracking, EEG, and various standardised tests of language, working memory, cognition and executive function. These are the Child Language Lab's main research areas:

  • Bilingualism: How do bilingual or second language learners acquire language? What are their unique strengths and challenges in language processing?
  • Hearing loss: What are the challenges faced by children with hearing loss when it comes to language and communication?
  • Production/speech planning: How do children produce sounds, words, morphemes, prosody and sentences, and how does this change over time?
  • Perception/comprehension/processing: When are children able to recognize sounds, words and morphemes, and predict what's coming next in the sentence?
  • Specific language impairment (SLI): Which aspects of language development are delayed in children with SLI?  Do these children process language differently?

The Child Language Lab is associated with the Centre for Language Sciences (CLaS) at Macquarie University and the Centre of Excellence for Cognition and its Disorders (CCD). Our goal is to understand the nature of language development in children in order to inform more targeted language therapies, providing an evidence base for health and education policy.


Child Lab Boy

Ongoing research projects headed by Professor Katherine Demuth.

Child Lab

Abstracts, papers, chapters, and other documents.

CLL Publications

Twice-monthly digital audio/video recordings of hour-long mother-child spontaneous speech interactions.

Lab photo

Meet our diverse group of academics and researchers.


Contact us

Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub
16 University Ave
Macquarie University
Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia

phone: +61 2 9850 6705 
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Participate in Research

Take part in one of our studies, and help advance knowledge of child language development!

Read more about our studies or register your interest today!

come and join us

Researcher Enquiries 

Postdocs and PhD, MRes or Honours students
Email: Katherine Demuth (Lab Director) or Titia Benders (Deputy Lab Director) 

Undergraduates interested in gaining research experience
Email: Nyaradzai Marunda (Lab Coordinator)

Macquarie University Centre for Language Sciences (CLaS)
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD)
The Hearing CRC

Positions Vacant



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