Dr. Jennifer Culbertson

ProfileJenBigI study the development of grammatical knowledge in children, and how the way children learn influences the types of languages we see across the world.


I am a Lecturer in Linguistics and English Language. I’ve been interested in linguistics and how language are acquired and change over time since I was an undergraduate. I got my Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from Johns Hopkins, in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland in the US.

Likes: pizza, books, travelling
Dislikes: commercials on TV


  • Grammatical development, with a focus on morphology and word order
  • Cognitive biases in children and adults


  • Culbertson, J. and Newport, E.L. (2015). Harmonic biases in child learners: In support of language universals. Cognition, 139:71–82.
  • Culbertson, J. and Adger, D. (2014). Language learners privilege structured meaning over surface frequency. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(16):5842–5847.
  • Legendre, G., Culbertson, J., Zaroukian, E., Hsin, L., Barrière, I., and Nazzi, T. (2014). Is children’s comprehension of subject-verb agreement universally late? Comparative evidence from French, Spanish, and English. Lingua, 144:21–39.
  • Culbertson, J. and Smolensky, P. (2012). A Bayesian model of biases in artificial language learning: The case of a word-order universal. Cognitive Science, 36(8):1468–1498.
  • Culbertson, J., Smolensky, P., and Legendre, G. (2012). Learning biases predict a word order universal. Cognition, 122:306–329.
  • More publications

External links