Utako Minai, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Director, Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab
University of Kansas
1541 Lilac Ln., Blake Hall Room 406
Lawrence, KS 66045 USA
minai [at] ku [dot] edu (email)
My research investigates first language acquisition and language processing by preschool-age children. I am particularly interested in (i) how children acquire the knowledge of language meaning at various levels (meaning of words, sentences and utterances), (ii) how children utilize the knowledge of meaning in real-time language processing and the comparison of multiple related meanings, and (iii) how children's development in meaning comprehension interacts with their non-linguistic cognitive development. I address these research issues by conducting experimental studies, utilizing linguistic comprehension tasks, cognitive tasks and the visual world eye-tracking paradigm. I am also interested in cross-lingusitic aspects of child language development and language processing. Part of my research program also investigates adults' meaning comprehension and processing both in their first and second languages. My current languages of research include English, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.
I direct a research laboratory, the Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab. A group of student research assistants, both undergraduate and graduate, are working with me on various projects on child language. We visit local preschools to conduct our studies, as well as invite study participants to our lab.
I teach a variety of courses in linguistics on a regular basis, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including First Language Acquisition (I & II), Seminar in First Language Acquisition (topic varies), Research Methods in Child Language, Research Methods in Linguistics and The Structure of Japanese.