Simon Fraser University
Research Group:  HPSG and Language Acquisition
HPSG and Language Acquisition Main Page
This page contains references to discussions of HPSG in relation to (i) first language acquisition, (ii) second language acquisition and teaching, and (iii) computer-assisted language learning (CALL). This page also provides references to several important works involving language acquisition and Construction Grammar, a constraint-based grammar closely related to HPSG. Some of the listings come from Doug Arnold (see also his 1997 hpsg-l posting). We have not listed articles about machine learning (e.g. Barg and Walther, 1998; Villavicencio, 2002), but there may be fruitful similarities in that line of inquiry.  Additions, corrections, and suggestions are welcome (to:

For those who are examining HPSG and acquisition for the first time, we have placed red asterisks (***) in front of articles that provide extensive introductions to this area.

Stefan Müller's HPSG Bibliography site 

Latest update: August 14, 2008


Ackerman, Farrell and Gert Webelhuth. 1998.  A theory of predicates. Stanford: CSLI Publications.  See esp. pp. 123-137. 

Bender, Emily and Susanne Riehemann. 2000.  Experience-based HPSG. Berkeley Formal Grammar Conference. See esp. p. 1

Borsley, Robert D. 1996.  HPSG and the acquisition of Welsh syntax. University of Wales, Bangor, ms.

Culicover, Peter W. 2000.  Language acquisition and the architecture of the language faculty. Proceedings of the Berkeley Formal Grammar Conference Workshop, ed. by M. Butt and T. Holloway King. Stanford: CSLI Publications. See esp. p. 3.

Drozd, Kenneth F. 1993.  A unification categorial grammar of child English negation.  Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Arizona.

Fodor, Janet Dean.  1989.  Principle based learning. Paper presented at CUNY Forum.

Fodor, Janet Dean. 1998. Unambiguous triggers. Linguistic Inquiry 29.1.1-36

Fodor, Janet-Dean and Stephen Crain. 1990.  Phrase structure parameters. Linguistics and Philosophy 13.6.619-659.

Gibson, Edward and Kenneth Wexler. 1994. Triggers. Linguistic Inquiry 25.3.407-454.

***Green, Georgia M. to appear.  Modelling grammar growth: Universal grammar without innate principles or parameters. Non-transformational syntax, ed. by K. Borjars and R. Borsley. Oxford: Blackwell.

Green, Georgia M. and Jerry Morgan. 1996. Auxiliary inversion and the notion 'default specification'. Journal of Linguistics 32.43-56.

Sag, Ivan A. 1997.  English relative clause constructions. Journal of Linguistics 33.2.431-484. See esp. Sections 1 and 8.

***Sag, Ivan A., Thomas Wasow and Emily Bender. 2003.  Syntactic theory: A formal introduction. Second Edition. Stanford: CSLI. See esp. pp. 305-309.  (Information on the first edition: Sag, Ivan A. and Thomas Wasow. 1999.  Syntactic theory: A formal introduction. Stanford: CSLI. See esp. pp. 227-231.)

Wacholder, Nina. 1996.  Acquiring syntactic generalizations from positive evidence: An HPSG model.  Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. CUNY.



Hadic Zabala, Loreley and J. Dean Mellow. 2003. Longitudinal ESL syntactic development: The cumulation of NP constituent structure. Paper presented at the Second Language Research Forum, Tucson, Arizona.

Hamilton, Robert. 1997.  Undetermined binding: An HPSG binding theory and experimental study of adult Japanese learners of English as a second language.  Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. University of South Carolina.

Mellow, J. Dean.  2002.  Toward principled eclecticism in language teaching: The Two-Dimensional Model and the Centring Principle. TESL-EJ 5.4.A1.1-19.

***Mellow, J. Dean.  2004a.  Connectionism, HPSG signs, and SLA representations: Specifying principles of mapping between form and function. Second Language Research 20.2.131-165.

Mellow, J. Dean.  2004b.  The Two-dimensional Model and principled eclecticism: Classroom discourse and perspectives on grammatical syllabi.  Perspectives on Grammar in Language Education, ed. by A. Abd. Samad, 18-42. Serdang, Malaysia: Universiti Putra Malaysia Press.

Mellow, J. Dean.  2006.  The emergence of second language syntax: A case study of the acquisition of relative clauses. Applied Linguistics, 27, 4, 645-670.

Mellow, J. Dean. 2008. The emergence of complex syntax: A longitudinal case study of the ESL development of dependency resolution. Lingua, 118, 4, 499-521.

Mellow, J. Dean and Sun-Kwang Bae.  2001.  Longitudinal ESL syntactic development: The cumulation of features and combinatorial processes.  Paper presented at the Pacific Second Language Research Forum, Honolulu, U.S.A.

Mellow, J. Dean and Karen Stanley. 2001.  Alternative accounts of developmental patterns: Toward a functional-cognitive model of second language acquisition. Proceedings of the third annual High Desert Linguistics Society conference, ed. by K. A. Smith and D. Nordquist, 51-65. Albuquerque, N.M: High Desert Linguistics Society.

Mellow, J. Dean and Karen Stanley. 2002.  Theory development in applied linguistics: Toward a connectionist framework for understanding second language acquisition.  Issues in Applied Linguistics 13.1.3-39

Ro, Atle. 1994.  Interlanguage signs and lexical transfer errors. Proceedings of Coling '94. 134-137. Kyoto.

Romeo, Ken.  2001.  A constraint-based lexicalist approach to sentence processing:  Implications for language learning.  Masters Scholarly Paper, Stanford University.



Heift, Trude. 1998.  Designed intelligence: A language teacher model.  Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. Simon Fraser University.

Heift, Trude. 2003. Multiple learner errors and meaningful feedback: A challenge for ICALL systems. CALICO 20.3.533-549. 

Heift, Trude and Devlan Nicholson. 2000. Theoretical and practical considerations for web-based intelligent language tutoring systems. Intelligent Tutoring Systems. 5th International Conference, ITS 2000, Montreal, Canada, June 2000, ed. by G. Gauthier, C. Frasson, and K. VanLehn, 354-62. 

Heift, Trude and Devlan Nicholson. 2001. Web delivery of adaptive and interactive language tutoring. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education 12.4.310-325. 

Heift, Trude and Paul McFetridge. 1999. Exploiting the student model to emphasize language teaching pedagogy in natural language processing. Proceedings of ACL/IALL: Computer-Mediated Language Assessment and Evaluation in Natural Language Processing (ACL/IALL 1999), ed. by M. Olsen, 55-62.

Heift, Trude, Janine Toole, Paul McFetridge, Fred Popowich, and Stavroula Tsiplakou. 2000. An interactive course-support system for Greek. Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 00, World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, ed. by J. Bourdeau and R. Heller, 394-399. Charlottesville, VA: AACE. 

Schulze, Mathias. 1999. From the developer to the learner: Computing grammar - learning grammar. ReCALL 11.1.117-124.

Schulze, Mathias and Marie-Josée Hamel. 2000. Towards authentic tasks and experiences - The example of parser-based CALL. The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics 3.1-2.79-90.

Turcato, Davide, Janine Toole, Stavroula Tsiplakou, Trude Heift, and Paul McFetridge. 2000. An approach to lexical development for inflectional languages. Second International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-2000), 1441-1445. 



Diessel, Holger. 2004. The acquisition of complex sentences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, Nick. 2003. Constructions, chunking, and connectionism: The emergence of second language structure. Handbook of second language acquisition, ed. by C. Doughty and M. Long, 33-68.   Oxford: Blackwell.

Ginzburg, Jonathan and Ivan A. Sag. 2000. Interrogative investigations: The form, meaning, and use of English interrogatives. Stanford: CSLI Publications. (This volume provides a discussion of the relationship between HPSG and Construction Grammar, see esp. pp. 2-8)

Goldberg, Adele. 2006. Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Goldberg, Adele, Devin Casenhiser, and Nitya Sethuraman. 2004. Learning argument structure generalizations. Cognitive Linguistics 14.289-316.

Tomasello, Michael. 2003. Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Tomasello, Michael and Patricia J. Brooks. 1999. Early syntactic development: A Construction Grammar approach. The development of language, ed. by M. Barrett, 161-190. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.