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Melissa Bowerman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguisticsmarker.

She is an expert on language acquisition, specializing in the relationships between language and cognition, language and spatial representation, and language and event representation. Recurrent themes in her work include the relationship between conceptual development and language development, the use of cross-linguistic comparisons to disentangle what is universal and possibly innate from what is learned, the nature of children's early linguistic rules, and the potential of information about language acquisition to help decide among alternative theoretical approaches to language structure.


Her most cited publications include:

Choi, S., Bowerman, M.Learning to express motion events in English and Korean: The influence of language-specific lexicalization patterns(1991) Cognition, 41 (1-3), pp. 83–121. Cited 104 times ,according to Scopus

Majid, A., Bowerman, M., Kita, S., Haun, D.B.M., Levinson, S.C.Can language restructure cognition? The case for space(2004) Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8 (3), pp. 108–114. Cited 26 times.

Choi, S., McDonough, L., Bowerman, M., Mandler, J.M.Early Sensitivity to Language-Specific Spatial Categories in English and Korean(1999) Cognitive Development, 14 (2), pp. 241–268. Cited 24 times.

Majid, A., Bowerman, M., Van Staden, M., Boster, J.S.The semantic categories of cutting and breaking events: A crosslinguistic perspective(2007) Cognitive Linguistics, 18 (2), pp. 133–152. Cited 19 times.

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