Professor Ben Ambridge, Psychology, University of Manchester

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Submitted and Registered Reports

Ambridge, B. (2024). Child Language Acquisition. In Frank, M.C., & Majid, A. MIT Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science

Ambridge, B., Tatsumi, T., Saito, M., Bannard, C. & Jones, S.D. (accepted in principle). Who did what to whom in Japanese? How do children learn to mark participant roles in basic sentences? Developmental Science. [registered report]


Published and In Press

Samara, A., Wonnacott, E., Saxena, G., Maitreyee, R., Fazekas, J. & Ambridge, B. (2024). Learners restrict their linguistic generalizations using preemption but not entrenchment: Evidence from artificial-language-learning studies with adults and children Psychological Review. OSF Preprint

Ambridge, B., Arnon, I. & Bekman, D. (2023). He was run-over by a bus. Passive, but not pseudo-passive, sentences are rated as more acceptable when the subject is highly affected. New data from Hebrew, and a meta-analytic synthesis across English, Balinese, Hebrew, Indonesian and Mandarin. Glossa: Psycholinguistics.

Maitreyee, R., Saxena, G., Narasimhan, B., Sharma, D.M., Mishra, P., Nair, R.B., Samanta, S. & Ambridge, B. (2023). Children learn ergative case marking in Hindi using statistical preemption and clause-level semantics (intentionality): evidence from acceptability judgment and elicited production studies with children and adults. Open Research Europe, 3(49)

Ambridge, B., Doherty, L., Maitreyee, R., Tatsumi, T., Zicherman, S., Mateo-Pedro, P., Kawakami, A., Bidgood, A., Pye, C., Narasimhan, B., Arnon, I., Bekman, D., Efrati, A., Pixabaj, S.F.C, Peliz, M.M., & Mendoza, M.J, Samanta, S., Campbell, S., McCauley, S., Berman, R., Sharma, D.M., Nair, R.B. & Fukumura, K (2022). Testing a computational model of causative overgeneralizations: Child judgment and production data from English, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese and Kiche, Open Research Europe, 1(1)

Ambridge, B. (2022). Why Algebraic systems aren't sufficient for syntax: Experimental evidence from passives in English, Mandarin, Indonesian, Balinese and Hebrew. In S. Lappin & J-P. Bernardy (Eds)Algebraic Structures in Natural Language . [pdf]

Darmasetiyawan, I.M.S. & Ambridge, B. (2022). Syntactic representations contain semantic information: Evidence from Balinese passives. Collabra: Psychology, 8(1), 33133. [open access]

Darmasetiyawan, I.M.S., Messenger, K. & Ambridge, B. (2022). Is Passive priming really impervious to verb semantics? A high-powered replication of Messenger et al. (2012). Collabra: Psychology, 8(1), 31055. [open access]

Ambridge, B. & Wagner, L. (2021). Testable theories of core first language acquisition (Introduction to the Special Issue on Testable theories of core first language acquisition). Journal of Child Language, 48(5), 859-861. [open access]

McCauley, S., Bannard, C., Theakston, A.L., Davis, M., Cameron-Faulkner, T., & Ambridge, B. (2021). Multiword units lead to errors of commission in children's spontaneous production: 'What corpus data can tell us?' Developmental Science. [open access]

Pimental, T., Ryskina, M., Mielke, Wu, S., Chodroff, E., Leonard, B...Ambridge, B. & Vylomova, E. (2021). SIGMORPHON 2021 Shared task on morphological reinflection: Generalization across languages. In Proceedings of the 18th SIGMORPHON workshop on computational research in phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Association for Computational Linguistics (pp. 229-259). DOI: 10.18653/v1/2021.sigmorphon-1.25 [open access]

Jones, S.D., Dooley, M. & Ambridge, B. (2021). Passive sentence reversal errors in autism: Replicating Ambridge, Bidgood, and Thomas (2020). Language Development Research. [open access]

Ambridge, B. (2021). Crazy New Idea: A Computational simulation of childrens language acquisition. In 3rd Conference on Language, Data and Knowledge (LDK 2021) (pp. 4.1-4.3). Schloss Dagstuhl Leibniz Zentrum fur Informatik. doi: 10.4230/OASIcs.LDK.2021.4 [open access]

Bidgood A., Pine, J.M., Rowland, C.F., Sala, G., Freudenthal, D.T. & Ambridge, B. (2021). Verb argument structure overgeneralisations for the English intransitive and transitive constructions: Grammaticality judgments, production priming and a meta-analytic synthesis. Language and Cognition, 13 (3), 397-437.

Aryawibawa, I.N., Qomariana, Y., Artawa, K., & Ambridge, B. (2021). Direct versus indirect causation as a semantic linguistic universal: Using a computational model of English, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese and Kiche Mayan to predict grammaticality judgments in Balinese. Cognitive Science, 45(4),e12974 [open access]

Liu, L. & Ambridge, B. (2021). Balancing information-structure and semantic constraints on construction choice: building a computational model of passive and passive-like constructions in Mandarin Chinese. Cognitive Linguistics, 32(3), 349-388. [open access]

Ambridge, B, Bidgood, A. & Thomas, K. (2021). Disentangling syntactic, semantic and pragmatic impairments in ASD: Elicited production of passives. Journal of Child Language, 48(1): 184-201 [open access]

Ambridge, B. (2021). Language Development Research editorial: Why do we need another journal? Language Development Research, [open access]

Ambridge, B., Maitreyee, R., Tatsumi, T., Doherty, L., Zicherman, S., Mateo-Pedro, P., Bannard, C., Samanta, S., McCauley, S., Arnon, I., Bekman, D., Efrati, A., Berman, R. Narasimhan, B., Sharma, D.M., Nair, R.B., Fukumura, K., Campbell, S., Pye, C., Pixabaj, S.F.C, Peliz, M.M., & Mendoza, M.J., (2020). The Crosslinguistic acquisition of causative sentence structure: Computational modeling and grammaticality judgments from adult and child speakers of English, Japanese, Hindi, Hebrew and Kiche, Cognition, 202,104301, [open access] [stimuli, data, code]

Bidgood A., Rowland, C.F., Pine, J.M. & Ambridge, B. (2020). Syntactic representations are both abstract and semantically constrained: Evidence from children's and adults' comprehension and production/priming of the English passive. Cognitive Science, 44(9), ee12892 [open access]

Ambridge, B. (2020). Against stored abstractions: A radical exemplar model of language acquisition. First Language, 40(5-6), 509-559 [open access]

Ambridge, B. (2020). Abstractions made of exemplars or You're all right and I've changed my mind. Response to commentators. First Language, 40(5-6), 640-659 [open access]

Ambridge, B, Rowland, C.F., & Gummery, A. (2020). Teaching the unlearnable: A training study of complex yes/no questions Language and Cognition, 12(2): 1-25. [open access]

Ambridge, B. & Ambridge, C. (2020). The retreat from transitive-causative overgeneralization errors: A review and diary study. In Rowland, C., Theakston, A., Ambridge, B., & Twomey, K. (Eds). Current Perspectives on Child Language Acquisition: How children use their environment to learn. John Benjamins. (pp.113-130). [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Rowland, C., Theakston, A. & Twomey, K. (2020). Introduction. In Rowland, C., Theakston, A., Ambridge, B., & Twomey, K. (Eds). Current Perspectives on Child Language Acquisition: How children use their environment to learn. John Benjamins. (pp.1-7).

Engelmann, F., Granlund, S., Kolak, J., Zreder, M., Ambridge, B., Pine, J.M., Theakston, A.L., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2019). How the input shapes the acquisition of verb morphology: Elicited production and computational modelling in two highly inflected languages. Cognitive Psychology, 110 30-69 [open access]

Granlund, S., Kolak, J., Vihman, V., Engelmann, F., Lieven, E.V.M., Pine, J.M., Theakston, A.L. & Ambridge, B. (2019). Language-general and language-specific phenomena in the acquisition of inflectional noun morphology: A cross-linguistic elicited production study of Polish, Finnish and Estonian. Journal of Memory and Language, 107 169-194 [open access]

Sassenhagen, J., Blything, R.B., Lieven, E.V.M., & Ambridge, B. (2019). Frequency sensitivity of neural responses to English (in)transitive verb argument structure violations. Collabra: Psychology, 4(1), 38 [open access]

Aryawibawa, I.N & Ambridge, B. (2019). Is syntax semantically constrained? Evidence from a grammaticality judgment study of Indonesian. Cognitive Science, 42(8), 3135-3148 [OSF]

Ambridge, B., Barak, L., Wonnacott, E., Bannard, C., & Sala, G. (2018). Effects of both preemption and entrenchment in the retreat from verb overgeneralization errors: Four reanalyses, an extended replication, and a meta-Analytic synthesis. Collabra: Psychology, 4(1), 23. DOI: [open access]

Tatsumi, T., Ambridge, B., & Pine, J. M. (2018). Testing an input-based account of children's errors with inflectional morphology: An elicited production study of Japanese. Journal of Child Language, 45(5), 1144-1173. [Open Access]

Tatsumi, T., Ambridge, B., & Pine, J. M. (2018). Disentangling Effects of input frequency and morphophonological complexity on children's acquisition of verb inflection: An elicited production study of Japanese. Cognitive Science, 42(S2), 555-577. [open access] [blog post]

Saviciute, E., Ambridge, B., & Pine, J.M. (2018). The roles of word-form frequency and phonological neighbourhood density in the acquisition of Lithuanian noun morphology. Journal of Child Language, 45(3), 641-672 [open access]

Ambridge, B., Goldwater, M.B., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2017). Analogical structure mapping and the formation of abstract constructions: A novel-construction-learning study. In K. Syrrett and S. Arunachalam (Eds.) Semantics in Language Acquisition, pp.178-196 [preprint]

Blything, R.P., Ambridge, B., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2017). Children's acquisition of the English past-Tense: Evidence for a single-route account from novel verb production data. Cognitive Science, 42(S2), 621-639. DOI: 10.1111/cogs.12581. [OSF]

Ambridge, B. (2017). Horses for courses: When acceptability judgments are more suitable than structural priming (and vice versa). Commentary on Branigan and Pickering. Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 40. e284 [pdf]

Ambridge, B. (2017). Syntactic categories in child language acquisition: innate, induced or illusory? In Cohen, H. & Lefebvre, C. (Eds). Handbook of Categorization in Cognitive Science. Amsterdam: Elsevier. [docx]

Ambridge, B. & Blything, R.P. (2016). A connectionist model of the retreat from verb argument structure overgeneralization. Journal of Child Language, 43(6), 1245-1276. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Bidgood, A., Pine, J.M., Rowland, C.F. & Freudenthal, D. (2016). Is passive syntax semantically constrained? Evidence from adult grammaticality judgment and comprehension studies. Cognitive Science, 40(6) 1435-1459 [open access]

Twomey, K., Chang, F., & Ambridge, B. (2016). Lexical distributional cues, but not situational cues, are readily used to learn abstract locative verb-structure associations. Cognition, 153, 124-139 [open access]

Rasanen, S. H. M., Ambridge, B. & Pine, J. M. (2016). An elicited-production study of inflectional verb morphology in child Finnish. Cognitive Science, 40(7), 1704- 1738 [pdf]

Aguado-Orea, J., Otero, N. & Ambridge, B. (2016). Statistics and Semantics in the acquisition of Spanish word order: Testing two accounts of the retreat from locative overgeneralization errors. Linguistics Vanguard, 2(1), 1-22[open acess]

Ambridge, B., Bannard, C., & Jackson, G.H. (2015). Is grammar spared in Autism Spectrum Disorder? Data from judgments of verb argument structure overgeneralization errors. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 45(10), 3288-3296. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Bidgood, A., Twomey, E., Pine, J.M., Rowland, C.F. & Freudenthal, D. (2015). Preemption versus Entrenchment: Towards a construction-general solution to the problem of the retreat from verb argument structure overgeneralization. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0123723. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123723 [open access]

Ambridge, B., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2015). A Constructivist account of child language acquisition. In B. MacWhinney and W. O'Grady (Eds). Handbook of Language Emergence. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell. (pp. 478-510) [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2015). Explanatory adequacy is not enough: Response to commentators. Language: Perspectives. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Rowland, C.F., Theakston, A.L. & Kidd, E.J. (2015). The ubiquity of frequency effects in first language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 42(2), 239-73 [Target article + commentaries] [open access]

Ambridge, B. (2015). Island constraints and overgeneralization in language acquisition. Cognitive Linguistics, 26(2), 361-370. [pdf]

Blything, R.P. Ambridge, B., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2014). Children use statistics and semantics in the retreat from overgeneralization. PLoS ONE, 9(10) e110009. [open access]

Ambridge, B., Noble, C., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2014). The semantics of the transitive causative construction: Evidence from a forced-choice pointing study with adults and children. Cognitive Linguistics, 25(2), 293-311. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2014). Child Language Acquisition: Why Universal Grammar doesn't help. Language: Perspectives. [pdf] [commentaries (zip)] [Response (pdf)]

Twomey, K., Chang, F., & Ambridge, B. (2014). Do as I say, not as I do: A lexical distributional account of English locative verb class acquisition. Cognitive Psychology, 73, 41-71 [pdf]

Bidgood, A., Ambridge, B., Pine, J.M. & Rowland, C.F. (2014). The retreat from locative overgeneralisation errors: A novel verb grammaticality judgment study. PLoS ONE, 9(5), e97634 [open access] [Excel data]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M, Rowland, C. F., Freudenthal, D.,  & Chang, F. (2014).  Avoiding dative overgeneralization errors: semantics, statistics or both? Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 29(2), 218-243. [pdf] [Appendices]

Rasanen, S. H. M., Ambridge, B. & Pine, J. M. (2014). Infinitives or bare stems? Are English-speaking children defaulting to the highest frequency form? Journal of Child Language, 41, 756-779[pdf]

Ambridge, B. (2013). How do children restrict their linguistic generalizations?: an (un-)grammaticality judgment study. Cognitive Science, 37 (3), 508-543. [Open Access]

Ambridge, B.,  & Rowland, C. F. (2013).  Experimental methods in studying child language acquisition. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 4, 149-168. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J.M., Rowland, C.F., Chang, F.  & Bidgood, A. (2013).  The retreat from overgeneralization in child language acquisition: Word learning, morphology and verb argument structure. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 4: 47-62. [pdf]

Ambridge, B. (2013). Just who didn't eat what, exactly? Negation and universal quantification in the real world. Linguistic Approaches to Billingualism, 3(3), 287-288 [pdf]

Ambridge, B. & Brandt, S. (2013). "Lisa filled water into the cup": The roles of entrenchment, pre-emption and verb semantics in German speakers’ L2 acquisition of English locatives. Zeitschrift fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik, 61(3), 245-263 [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J.M. & Rowland, C.F. (2012). Semantics versus statistics in the retreat from locative overgeneralization errors. Cognition, 123(2) 260–279. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F. & Chang, F. (2012). The roles of verb semantics, entrenchment and morphophonology in the retreat from dative argument structure overgeneralization errors. Language, 88(1) 45–81. [pdf]

Rowland, C.F., Chang, F., Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2012). The development of abstract syntax: Evidence from structural priming and the lexical boost. Cognition, 125(1) 49–63. [pdf]

Ambridge, B. & Lieven, E.V.M., (2011) Child Language Acquisition: Contrasting theoretical approaches. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [book preview]

Ambridge, B. (2011) Paradigms for assessing children’s knowledge of syntax and morphology in E. Hoff (ed.) Guide to Research Methods in Child Language. London: Blackwell-Wiley (pp 113-132). [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J.M. & Rowland, C.F., (2011). Children use verb semantics to retreat from overgeneralization errors: A novel verb grammaticality judgment study. Cognitive Linguistics, 22(2), 303–323. [pdf]

Ambridge, B. (2010). Children’s judgments of regular and irregular novel past tense forms: New data on the dual- versus single-route debate. Developmental Psychology 46(6), 1497-1504. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J. M., Rowland, C. F., Jones, R.L, & Clark, V. (2009). A semantics-based approach to the ‘no negative-evidence’ problem Cognitive Science, 33(7), 1301-1316. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., & Rowland, C.F. (2009). Predicting children’s errors with negative questions: Testing a schema-combination account. Cognitive Linguistics, 20(2), 225-266. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Pine, J.M., Rowland, C.F. & Young, C.R. (2008) The effect of verb semantic class and verb frequency (entrenchment) on children's and adults' graded judgements of argument-structure overgeneralization errors. Cognition. 106(1), 87-129. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Rowland, C. F., & Pine, J. M. (2008). Is Structure Dependence an innate constraint? New experimental evidence from children's complex question production. Cognitive Science, 32(1), 222-255. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., & Goldberg, A., E. (2008). The island status of clausal complements: evidence in favor of an information structure explanation. Cognitive Linguistics, 19(3), 349-381. [pdf]

Ambridge, B. & Pine. J.M. (2006) Testing the Agreement/Tense Omission Model using an Elicited Imitation Paradigm. Journal of Child Language 33(4)879-898. [pdf]

Ambridge, B., Rowland, C. F., Theakston, A. & Tomasello, M. (2006) Comparing Different Accounts of Non-Inversion Errors in Children’s Non-Subject Wh-Questions: ‘What experimental data can tell us?’ Journal of Child Language 30(3) 519-557. [pdf]

Ambridge, B. Theakston, A., Lieven, E.V.M. & Tomasello, M. (2006) The Distributed Learning Effect for Children’s Acquisition of an Abstract Grammatical Construction. Cognitive Development 21, 174–193. [pdf]

Ambridge, B. (2004). Experimental investigations of the formation and restriction of abstract grammatical constructions in young children. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Manchester. [doc]

Gathercole, S.E., Pickering, S.J, Ambridge, B. & Waring, H. (2004) The Structure of Working Memory from 4-15 Years of Age. Developmental Psychology 40(2) 177-190. [pdf]



Ambridge, B., Thomas, E., & Uden, B. (unpublished). Good, gooder, goodest (da, daach, daaf): The role of input frequency on overgeneralization errors with Welsh comparative adjectives. [docx]


Book Reviews

Ambridge, B. (2010) Review of Gulzow and N. Gagarina (Eds). Frequency Effects in Language Acquisition: Defining the limits of frequency as an explanatory concept. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Journal of Child Language, 37(2), 453-460. [pdf]

Ambridge, B. (2009) Review of Ninio, A. (2006) Language and the learning curve: A new theory of Syntactic Development: Oxford: Oxford University Press. Infant and Child Development, 18 102-104. [pdf]

Ambridge, B. (2009) Review of Hirsh-Pasek, K. & Golinkoff, R.M (2005) Action meets word: How children learn verbs. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Infant and Child Development, 18 99-101. [pdf]


Handouts and things

Slides for my LOT summer school course on Child Language Acquisition, based partly on my textbook [zip]

A Psychology tutorial based on Ben Goldacre's book Bad Science; predictably called Bad Psychology

Learn the Russian alphabet with this chart

Statistics for the terrified in two pages (between subjects t-test with no SPSS[TM]) [pdf] [xlsx]

Worksheet with datafile: Running a complex within-subjects ANOVA in SPSS[TM] (and reporting it) [zip]

Got SPSS[TM] data that you need to convert into R format? Here's how [Handout by Amy Bidgood]

Got a load of CSV data files that you need to join together? [be my guest]

Ambridge, B. (2014). Over-generalization of grammatical constructions. In. P. Brooks, V. Kempe, & J.G. Golson (Eds.) Encyclopaedia of Language Development [docx]

Ambridge, B. (2014). Grammaticality Judgment Task. In. P. Brooks, V. Kempe, & J.G. Golson (Eds.) Encyclopaedia of Language Development [docx]

Ambridge, B. (in press). Language Development. In Miller, H.L. (Ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Psychology [docx]

Ambridge, B. (in press). Language Acquisition. In Hopkins, B., Geangu E., & S. Linkenauger (Eds) Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development [pdf]