My interests include experimental psycholinguistics, morphosyntax, mechanisms of language change, iterated learning, and complex systems. My research generally explores a usage-based perspective on language, in which usage and structure interact throughout the lifespan, and diachronic and social processes are essential to understanding language.
I received my Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 2013. In my thesis research, I performed experiments on the dynamic nature of the mental lexicon, with a focus on multi-word 'prefabs' in English. From 2013-2018, I worked at the New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain & Behaviour. My research included studies of interspeaker alignment (i.e., convergence), iterated learning, and human-machine interaction. More recently I studied the effect of ambient exposure on speakers' knowledge of a language, with experiments on English-speaking New Zealanders' knowledge of sound patterns in M?ori.
- Beckner, Clay, Pierrehumbert, Janet B., Hay, Jennifer, 2017. The emergence of linguistic structure in an online iterated learning task. Journal of Language Evolution, 2 (2), pp. 160-176
- Beckner, Clay, 2018. The evidence add ups : a speech error study of prefabs in the lexicon. In Smith, K. Aaron; Nordquist, Dawn (eds.), Functionalist and usage-based approaches to the study of language : in honor of Joan L. Bybee, Amsterdam ; Philadelphia, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 199-224
- Bybee, Joan, Beckner, Clay, 2015. Emergence at the Cross-Linguistic Level. In The Handbook of Language Emergence, John Wiley and Sons, pp. 181-200