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Dr Clay Beckner

Job Title
Associate Professor
Applied Linguistics
Research Interests

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.