Carnegie Mellon University

Brian MacWhinney

Brian MacWhinney

Director, CHILDES - Child Language Data Exchange System

Education: Ph. D., University of California, Berkeley. B.A., University of California, Berkeley.


I am a Teresa Heina Professor of Cognitive Psychology whose research spans language acquisition and psycholinguistics. I continue to be a leader in SLA. My most well-known contributions to the field include my work on emergentist theory and the Competition Model of language processing (MacWhinney, 2015). I also manage the NIH and NSF-funded CHILDES and TalkBank (including SLABank) corpora. My mentorship with SLA students is also well documented. My recent work with SLA students includes studies with online tutors for the learning of English article usage, studies of beginners' learning of French noun gender, L2 learning of definite article selection in WikiPedia articles in German, online L2 learning through captioned video, language learning in VR, eye-movement monitoring of predictive processing in L2 Japanese, literacy training in Latin, learning of compounds and verb expansion in Mandarin, online methods for learning Pinyin and Chinese tones, computational tools for corpus analysis, and the development of an online database with commentary for analyzing interactions in the L2 classroom.

  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Child Language
  • Corpora
  • Emergentism
  • Competition Model
  • Language and Thought
  • Crosscultural Psychology
  • Analytic Research Methods
  • Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, CMU, 2018
  • FABBS Honor Award, 2017
  • On the list of 30 most influential living Cognitive Psychologists, 2014
  • First Recipient of the IASCL Roger Brown Award, 2011
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Southern Denmark, 2010
  • Faculty Senate, NSF reviewer, chair CLARIN Federation

Department Member Since 1981