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Psychology Department
Dr. Richard Weist

Dr. Richard Weist

Weist's Photo


My research has been on two major problems in the area of first language acquisition.

The first problem concerns the relationship between language and thought. To what extent does our conceptual development enable us to acquire linguistic concepts, and to what extent does the structure of our language shape the acquisition process and ultimately our thinking? In this regard, I have conducted a number of projects with Poland and Finland on how children learn to talk about time and space.

The second research project is focused on the system that governs sentence composition. We are looking at the way in which the structure of the child's verbs reveals this system.

Selected Publications

Weist, R. M. (2009). Children think and talk about time and space. In P. Łobacz, P. Nowak, & W. Zabrocki (Eds.) Language, science and culture. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM.

Weist, R. M. (2002).  Space and time in first and second language acquisition: A tribute to Henning Wode.  In P. Burmeister, T. Piske, A. Rohde (Eds.) An integrated view of language development: Papers in honor of Henning Wode (pp. 79 - 108). Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier (WVT).

For a more complete list of recent publications, please click here.

Department and University Service

In the department, I always worked on curriculum issues such as the design of our major and interdisciplinary programs that integrate psychology and linguistics.

Selected Student - Faculty Collaboration

Weist, R. M., Pawlak, A., & Hoffman, K. (2009). Finiteness systems and lexical aspect in child Polish and English. Linguistics, 47, 1321 - 1350. 

Pawlak, A., Oehlrich, J. S., & Weist, R. M. (2006). Reference time in child English and Polish. First Language, 28, 281-298.

Olson, R., & Weist, R. M. (2006, April). The development of habitual meaning in child language. 8th Annual Student Research and Creativity Exposition, Fredonia, NY.

Weist, R. M., Pawlak, A., & Hoffman, K. (2005, July). Finite systems and lexical aspect in child English and Polish. 10th IASCL meeting, Berlin, Germany.

Weist, R. M., Pawlak, A., & Carapella, J. (2004). Syntactic-semantic interface in the acquisition of verb morphology. Journal of Child Language, 31, 31 - 60.

Anderson, C. & Weist, R. M. (2004, April). The development of habitual meaning in child language. Student Research & Creative Endeavors Exposition (SRCEE), Fredonia, NY.

Internicola, R. & Weist, R. M. (2003). The acquisition of simple and complex spatial locatives in English: A longitudinal investigation. First Language, 23, 239 - 248.

Hoffman, K., Peterson, R. & Weist, R. M. (2003, April). The emergence of tense and agreement morphology. SCREE, Fredonia, NY.

Montgomery, A. & Weist, R. M. (2003, April). The development of future temporal reference in child language. SCREE, Fredonia, NY.

Numerous students collaborated on our Fredonia Parent – Child Interaction Project.

Here is a link to the project:
Adult-child interaction transcripts from six children learning English in the Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES).  Go to: and look for the “Weist” files.

The following undergraduate research assistants had an important role in this project: Carey Anderson, Christa Bokman, Jenell Carapella, Lauren Cheney, Erin Cox, Helga Gretarsdottir, Karen Hoffman, Audra Montgomery, Jessica Oehlrich, Catherine Offen, and Ryan PetersonRobert Olson conducted a pilot inquiry on these data and presented a paper at the 2005 undergraduate conference at SUNY Fredonia.

Page modified 12/7/15