Professor Emerita
G57, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, New York
Human Development


Prof. Barbara Lust studied Developmental Psychology, Linguistics and Philosophy, as well as English literature.  She received her Ph.d. in Developmental Psychology from City University of New York Graduate Center after earlier studies at L'Institut des Sciences de l"Education, at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She followed this with postdoctoral study in linguistics and philosophy at MIT before coming to Cornell.  Her teaching at Cornell involves Developmental Psychology and Linguistics, within an interdisciplinary perspective of Cognitive Science.

Dr. Lust's research is framed in an interdisciplinary and cross-linguistic framework, involving the study of first, second and multilingual language acquisition, especially in the child, and links theoretical paradigms of linguistic inquiry to experimental methods of research.  She is involved in building a virtual internet-based  international center for the study of language acquisition and the related science of information integration which it involves.  She is also developing comparative study of language in normal healthy aging in contrast to that in early Alzheimer's Disease.

Dr. Lust's primary research concerns the child's acquisition of language, studied from a theoretical and experimental cross-linguistic perspective. Data from children acquiring more than 20 languages of the world are studied in the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab. Her interdisciplinary research program seeks both to identify the universals which characterize child language acquisition across all languages, and to explicate the nature of development of language during the time between birth and early childhood, as well as the nature of language loss with aging and dementia. A new theory of "Grammatical Mapping" has been recently articulated to capture this development.  

In the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab, both experimental and naturalistic studies of young children's acquisition of early syntax and semantics are conducted. In addition to research on first language acquisition, research is also now being conducted on the development of multilingualism in young children and providing evidence for its cognitive consequences.  Studies of adult second language acquisition are related.  Studies of language in normal healthy aging  and in patients with early Alzheimer's Disease are contrasted with the process of first language acquisition in the young child. Evidence is provided against the 'regression hypothesis' which proposed that acquisition and dissolution would be reversed. 

Research directed at the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab is linked to related research being conducted in several national and international universities through a developing  Virtual Center for Language Acquisition. Currently Dr. Lust is involved with an international agenda to develop 'linked open data in linguistics', especially as it impacts language acquisition data.

Lust, B. and Foley, C. (eds). 2004. Language Acquisition: The Essential Readings. Blackwell. Oxford, UK.

Lust, B. 2006. Child Language. Acquisition and Growth. Cambridge University Press. UK (second edition in prep)

Lust, B. (2010). Acquisition of Language.  In Hogan, P. (ed).  Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences. Cambridge, UK. Cambridge Univesity Press

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Director, Cornell Language Acquisition Lab. Professor, Developmental Psychology, Linguistics and Cognitive Science.

Co-director, Virtual Center for Language Acquisition

Graduate fields: Developmental Psychology, Linguistics, Psychology, Cognitive Science, Asian Studies

My teaching involves a program of courses in the area of language acquisition. This program consists of introductory lecture type, more advanced seminar type and hands-on lab type courses   All are taught in an interdisciplinary framework.  Lab type courses develop students' ability to actively engage in collaborative research while they are learning scientific methods of cognitive science. The Cornell Language Acquisition Lab typically involves students in a mentorship and team experience on active research projects such as language in children acquiring their first language across the world, or in multilingual children or projects studying language loss in prodromal Alzheimer's Disease. Interdisciplinary and cross-linguistic approaches are followed throughout.  Collaborative team work across groups of students is cultivated. An international perspective carries throughout. My teaching also includes courses in cognitive development.

HD637/Cogst637/Ling 700.4.  Advanced Topics in Language Acquisition
HD/LING/PSYCH/COGST 436/337. Language Development. A Survey Course
COGst/HD/Ling/Psych 437/450. Lab in Language Development.
HD4270/Ling4270/CogSt4275. Entering a Virtual Linguistic Lab: New Cybertools for the Scientific Study of Language Acquisition
Cogst 4710. Cognitive Studies Research Workshop. Cyber-infrastructure-enhanced research in multilingualism and second language acquisition.
Ling/HD/Cogst 633. Seminar in Language Acquisition

COGST/LING/HD 471 Bilingualism and Cognitiion: Exploring the Bilingual Cognitive Advantage Across the Lifespan (with Carissa Kang)

HD334/Cogst 334. The Growth of the Mind.
Cogst 471. Research Workshop for Undergraduates.
HD 401/Ling/Cog St 700. Independent Research

Ling3390/CogSc/Psych Independent Research

Postdoc 1976 - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistics and Philosophy of Language

Ph.D. 1975 - City University of New York
Developmental Psychology

Advanced Studies 1968-1969: L'Institute des Sciences de l'Education. Geneva Switzerland.

M.A. 1971 - Fordham University
English Literature

B.A. 1963 - Manhattanville College
English Literature

Professor Lust administers the Cornell Language Acquisition Lab and the Virtual Center for the study of Language Acquisition.