College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Utako Minai

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Linguistics
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Maryland
Primary office:
785-864-1559
Blake Hall
Room 406
University of Kansas
1541 Lilac Lane
Lawrence, KS 66045-3129


First Language Acquisition, Child Language

Education

Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Maryland

M.A., Literature, Tokyo Metropolitan University

B.A., Literature, Tokyo Metropolitan University

B.A., Arts and Sciences (Major: Communications), Tokyo Woman’s Christian University

Research Interests

  • First language acquisition
  • Developmental Psycholinguistics
  • Child language acquisition

Selected Publications

Minai, U., & Nadtochiy, N. (in press). Native and non-native comprehension of the Japanese existential quantifier nanko-ka. In M. Nakayama & Y. Su (Eds.), Studies in Chinese and Japanese Language Acquisition.

Johnson, A., & Minai, U. (2016). Children's knowledge of structure-dependent semantic interactions between logical words. Language Acquisition, DOI: 10.1080/10489223.2016.1187611.

Minai, U., Isobe, M., & Okabe, R. (2015). Acquisition and Deployment of the Linguistic Knowledge: Scrambling in Child Japanese as a Test Case. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 44(3), 287-307.

Fiorentino, R., Naito-Billen, Y., & Minai, U. (2015). Morphological decomposition in de-adjectival nominal in Japanese: masked and overt priming evidence. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.

Chu, C., Gabriele, A., & Minai, U. (2014). Acquisition of quantifier scope interpretation by Chinese-speaking learners of English. In Selected Proceedings of Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA).

Hunt, L., Politzer-Ahles, S., Gibson, L., Minai, U., & Fiorentino, R. (2013). Pragmatic inferences modulate N400 during sentence comprehension: evidence from picture-sentence verification. Neuroscience Letters , 534, 246-251.

Minai, U., & Takami, N. (2012). Semantic and Pragmatic Meaning of the Existential Quantifier Some in Second Language Acquisition. In Proceedings of Boston University Conference on Language Development (Vol. 36, pp. 349-360). Cambridge, MA: Cascadilla Press.

Ito, K., Jincho, N., Minai, U., Yamane, N., & Mazuka, R. (2012). Intonation Facilitates Contrast Resolution: Evidence from Japanese Adults and 6-year Olds. Journal of Memory and Language , 66, 265-284.

Minai, U., Jincho, N., Yamane, N., & Mazuka, R. (2012). What Hinders Child Semantic Computation: Children’s Universal Quantification and the Development of Cognitive Control. Journal of Child Language , 39, 919-956.

Minai, U., & Fiorentino, R. (2010). The Role of the Focus Operator Only in Children’s Sentence Interpretations. Language Acquisition , 17(3), 183-190.

Crain, S., Goro, T., & Minai, U. (2007). Hidden Units in Child Language. In . Schalley & . Khlentzos (Eds.), Mental States Volume 1: Evolution, Function, Nature. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishers.

Minai, U. (2007). Logico-semantic Aspects of Children’s Knowledge about the Universal Quantifier: New Empirical Evidence. In Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (pp. 285-296). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Minai, U. (2006). Non-local Dependency in Child Language. In Y. Suzuki, K. Mizuno, & K. Takami (Eds.), Gengo kagaku-no shinzui-o motomete [In Search of the Essence of Language Science]: Festschrift for Professor Heizo Nakajima on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday. Tokyo, Japan: Hituzi Syobo Publishing Company.

Minai, U., Goro, T., & Crain, S. (2006). Covert Downward Entailment in Child English and Japanese. In K. U. Deen, J. Nomura, B. Schulz, & B. D. Schwartz (Eds.), University of Connecticut Occasional Papers in Linguistics, 4. The Proceedings of the Inaugural Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition–North America (pp. 205-216). Honolulu, HI.

Minai, U. (2006). Direct Approach to Inference in Child Language: A Case Study of Every. In Language Acquisition and Development: Proceedings of Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition 2005 (pp. 357-366). UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Minai, U., & Crain, S. (2006). Semantic Interactions of Quantificational Expressions in Child Language. In K. U. Deen, J. Nomura, B. Schulz, & B. D. Schwartz (Eds.), University of Connecticut Occasional Papers in Linguistics, 4. The Proceedings of the Inaugural Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition–North America (pp. 217-228). Honolulu, HI.

Goro, T., Minai, U., & Crain, S. (2005). Bringing out the Logic in Child Language. In Proceedings of the Thirty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (Vol. 35, pp. 245-256).

Goro, T., Minai, U., & Crain, S. (2005). Two Disjunctions for the Price of ONLY One. In Proceedings of Boston University Conference on Language Development (Vol. 29, pp. 228-239). CSIL Publications.

Minai, U., Meroni, L., & Crain, S. (2004). Children’s Non-local Interpretation of Quantification. In Proceedings of the Fifth Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics (pp. 255-276). Tokyo, Japan: Hituzi Shobo Publishing Company.

Crain, S., Meroni, L., & Minai, U. (2004). If Everybody Knows, Then Every Child Knows. In Proceedings of the Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition 3 (pp. 127-138). Utrecht: LOT.

Minai, U. (2000). The Acquisition of Japanese Passives. In M. Nakayama & C. J. Quinn (Eds.), Japanese/Korean Linguistics (Vol. 9, pp. 339-350). Stanford, CA: CSLI Publishers.

» Show All Publications

Selected Presentations

Chu, C. & Minai, U. (05/19/2016 - 05/20/2016). Semantics facilitates children’s pragmatic processing: Chinese-speaking children’s use of semantics. XPRAG Workshop on the Role of Pragmatic Factors in Child Language Processing. Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

Vogt-Woodin, A., Johnson, A. & Minai, U. (11/14/2015 - 11/14/2015). Preschool children's sensitivity to non-local structural dependencies between logical words. 40th Boston University Conference on Language Development. Boston, MA. Available Here

Krueger, B., Storkel, H. & Minai, U. (11/13/2015 - 11/13/2015). A comparative analysis of two tools for measuring children's word processing: mouse tracker & eye-tracking. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) 2015 Annual Convention. Denver, CO. Available Here

Minai, U., Gustafson, K., Fiorentino, R., Jongman, A. & Sereno, J. (10/15/2015 - 10/15/2015). Assessing pre-natal rhythm-based discrimination of language by fetal magnetocardiography (fMCG). Society for Neuroscience of Language 2015 Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL. Available Here

Chu, C. & Minai, U. (05/30/2015 - 05/30/2015). The interplay between demonstrative comprehension and cognitive development: a cross-linguistic investigation. 2015 International Conference on Applied Linguistics. National Chiayi University, Taiwan

Minai, U. & Chan, Y. (03/21/2015). Universal quantifier comprehension, visual information and the development of executive function. 2015 Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting. Philadelphia, PA.

Chu, C. & Minai, U. (11/07/2014). The role of Theory of Mind in the acquisition of demonstratives: Evidence from child Chinese. The 39th Boston University Conference on Language Development. Boston, MA

Johnson, A. & Minai, U. (07/31/2014). Children’s knowledge of structural dependency in the semantic interaction of logical words. The 13th International Association for the Study of Child Language. Netherlands

Chu, C. & Minai, U. (06/30/2014). Comprehension of the demonstratives by Chinese-speaking preschool children. The 14th International Symposium on Chinese Languages and Linguistics (IsCLL-14). Taiwan

Chu, C. & Minai, U. (03/31/2014). Comprehension of demonstrative phrases in Mandarin Chinese. The Second East Asian Psycholinguistics Colloquium. U. of Chicago

Ito, K., Minai, U. & Royer, A. (03/13/2014). Is every child different until they turn 15?: Not so quick development of universal quantifier comprehension. The 2014 CUNY Conference on Human Language Processing. The Ohio State University

Chu, C. & Minai, U. (11/30/2013). Examining the role of theory of mind and executive function in the first language acquisition of demonstratives. The 38th Boston University Conference on Language Development.. Boston, MA

Chu, C. & Minai, U. (09/30/2013). Comprehension of demonstratives by English-speaking preschool children. The 5th Biennial Conference of Experimental Pragmatics. Utrecht University, Netherlands

Minai, U., Brown, R., Chu, C. & Hess, G. (06/30/2013). Probing morpho-semantic representations of compounds. The 8th International Morphological Processing Conference. Cambridge University

Minai, U., Chan, Y., Chu, C., Brown, R. & . (04/30/2013). Visual information and child universal quantification: seeking a causal relation between language and cognition in development. Poster presentation, Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting 2013. Seattle, WA

Minai, U., Isobe, M. & Okabe, R. (12/31/2012). Word order in child Japanese: an experimental study on relative clauses. Poster presentation, 5th Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA). University of Kansas

Chu, C., Gabriele, A. & Minai, U. (10/31/2012). Acquisition of quantifier scope interpretation by Chinese-speaking learners of English. Poster presentation, 5th Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA). University of Kansas

Minai, U., Isobe, M. & Okabe, R. (12/31/2011). Acquisition and Deployment of the Knowledge of Scrambling in Child Japanese. Oral presentation, GALA 2011: Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition. Thessaloniki, Greece

Goro, T. & Minai, U. (12/31/2011). Conjunction, Disjunction and Negation in Second Language Acquisition: A Study of L2 English and Japanese. Poster presentation, The 36th Boston University Conference on Language Development. MA

Naito-Billen, Y., Minai, U. & Fiorentino, R. (12/31/2011). Detection and Utilization of Prosody in Sentence Processing: an EEG Study of L1 and L2 Japanese. Poster presentation, 2011 Neurobiology of Language Conference. Annapolis, MD

Naito-Billen, Fiorentino, R. & Minai, U. (12/31/2011). Effects of Prosody in the Processing of Temporarily Ambiguous Japanese Sentences. Oral presentation, Seventh International Conference on Practical Linguistics of Japanese. San Francisco State University, CA

Hunt, L., Politzer-Ahles, S., Minai, U. & Fiorentino, R. (12/31/2011). N400 is Elicited by Pragmatic As Well As Semantic Anomalies: a Visual-world Study of Scalar Implicatures. Poster presentation, 2011 Neurobiology of Language Conference. Annapolis, MD

Minai, U. & Takami, N. (12/31/2011). Semantic and Pragmatic Meaning of the Existential Quantifier Some in Second Language Acquisition. Oral presentation, The 36 Boston University Conference on Language Development. MA

Fiorentino, R., Naito-Billen, Y. & Minai, U. (12/31/2010). Masked Priming and Morphological Productivity: Evidence from Japanese De-Adjectival Nominalization. Poster Presentation, AMLAP 2010: Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing. The University of York, UK

Minai, U. (12/31/2009). Dai’ichi gengo kakutoku ni okeru gakushuu: huhen-bumpoo-kiban apuroochi to yoohoo-kiban apuroochi [Learning in the First Language Acquisition: UG-based Approach and Usage-based Approach]. Invited Lecture at the Colloquium Series. Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan

Ito, K., Jincho, N., Minai, U., Yamane, N. & Mazuka, R. (12/31/2009). Use of Emphatic Pitch Prominence for Contrast Resolution: An Eye-tracking Study with 6-year Old and Adult Japanese Listeners. Oral presentation, The 34th Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston University. Boston, USA

Minai, U., Jincho, N., Yamane, N. & Mazuka, R. (12/31/2008). Development of Cognitive Flexibility and Semantic Computation. Poster presentation, CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing 2008, University of North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC

Jincho, N., Ito, K., Yamane, N., Minai, U. & Mazuka, R. (12/31/2008). Effects of Visual Contrast in Pre-nominal Modifier Phrase Comprehension in Japanese: An Eye Tracking Experiment with Children and Adults. Poster presentation, CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing 2008, University of North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC

Ito, K., Jincho, N., Minai, U., Yamane, N. & Mazuka, R. (12/31/2008). Use of Emphatic Intonation for Contrast Resolution in Japanese: Adults vs. 6-yr-Olds. Poster presentation, CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing 2008, University of North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC

Minai, U. (12/31/2007). A New Methodological Approach for Probing Logical Aspects of Language Development: Inference, Universal Quantifier and Negation. Poster presentation, Society for Research in Child Development 2007 Biennial Meeting. Boston, USA

Ito, K., Jincho, N., Mazuka, R., Yamane, N. & Minai, U. (12/31/2007). Effect of Contrastive Intonation in Discourse Comprehension in Japanese: An Eye Tracking Study with Adults and 6-yr Olds. Poster presentation, 20th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, University of California. San Diego, USA

Goro, T., Fujii, T., Minai, U. & Koizumi, M. (12/31/2007). The Acquisition of Anti-reconstruction and Grammar Variation in Adult Japanese. Oral presentation, GLOW in Asia IV, Parametric Syntax and Language Acquisition, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. China

Minai, U. (12/31/2007). Yooji gengo ni okeru ronri setsuzokushi to focus enzanshi: nichi-eigo hikaku kenkyuu [Logical Connectives and the Focus Operator in Child Language: A Comparative Study with English- and Japanese-acquiring Children]. Symposium on Japanese L1 Acquisition and Universal Grammar, The Twenty-fifth Conference of The English Linguistic Society of Japan. Nagoya University, Japan

Minai, U. (12/31/2006). Everything Children Know about Every: An Investigation of Logical Words in Child Language. The First UMD – UFRJ Meeting on Syntax and Neuroscience of Language. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Minai, U. (12/31/2006). Evidence for Children’s Knowledge about the Focus Operator Only. The First UMD – UFRJ Meeting on Syntax and Neuroscience of Language. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Minai, U. (12/31/2006). Logico-semantic Aspects of Children’s Knowledge about the Universal Quantifier: New Empirical Evidence. Poster presentation, The Second Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America, McGill University. Montréal, Canada

Minai, U. (12/31/2005). Direct Approach to Inference in Child Language: A Case Study of Every. Oral presentation, The Eleventh Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition. University of Siena, Italy

Minai, U. (12/31/2005). Logical Words in Child Language. RIKEN BSI Seminar, RIKEN Brain Science Institute. Saitama, Japan

Minai, U. & Crain, S. (12/31/2005). The Interaction of Quantificational Expressions in Child Semantics. Oral presentation, Linguistic Society of America 2005 Annual Meeting. San Francisco, USA

Minai, U. (12/31/2005). Toward Children’s Logical Inferences: A Preliminary Report. Poster presentation, The Second International Workshop on Evolutionary Cognitive Sciences--In Pursuit of Language-Brain Interactions: Language Acquisition, Sentence Processing, and Neurolinguistics, 21st Century COE Program. University of Tokyo, Japan

Goro, T., Minai, U. & Crain, S. (12/31/2004). Boolean Conjunction in Child Japanese. General poster presentation, The First Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America, University of Hawai'i. Manoa, USA

Crain, S., Goro, T. & Minai, U. (12/31/2004). Bringing Out the Logic in Child Language. Poster presentation, The Thirty-fifth North Eastern Linguistic Society, University of Connecticut. Storrs, USA

Minai, U. & Meroni, L. (12/31/2004). Children’s Knowledge of the Entailments at a Distance. Oral presentation, The Fifth Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, Keio University. Tokyo, Japan

Minai, U., Goro, T. & Crain, S. (12/31/2004). Covert Downward Entailment in Child English and Japanese. Oral presentation, The First Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America, University of Hawai'i. Manoa, USA

Minai, U. & Crain, S. (12/31/2004). Entailments at a Distance in Child Language. Oral presentation, Linguistic Society of America 2004 Annual Meeting. Boston, USA

Minai, U. & Crain, S. (12/31/2004). Semantic Interactions of Quantificational Expressions in Child Language. Oral presentation, First Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America, University of Hawai'i. Manoa, USA

Goro, T., Minai, U. & Crain, S. (12/31/2004). Two Disjunctions for the Price of ONLY One. Oral presentation, The Twenty-ninth Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston University. Boston, USA

Meroni, L., Minai, U., Gualmini, A. & Crain, S. (12/31/2003). If Everybody Knows, Then Every Child Knows. Oral presentation, The Tenth Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition. Utrecht University, Netherlands

Minai, U. (12/31/1999). The Acquisition of Japanese Passives. Oral presentation, Ninth Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference, Ohio State University. Columbus, USA

Selected Grants

Minai, Utako, Why young children exhibit difficulty in comprehending the word "only"., 2301119, $8,964, (07/01/2016 - 06/30/2017) . University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded.

Minai, U., Pre-birth Assessment of Language Ability: a Fetal MEG Study, UL1 TR000001, formerly UL1RR033179, Frontiers Pilot and Collaborative Studies Funding Program/NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award Grant, (03/01/2013 - 02/28/2014) . Federal. Status: Funded.

Gabriele, A. , Fiorentino, R., Minai, U., GALANA 2012: Psycholinguistic and Neurolinguistic Approaches to Language Development, Project Number 1123399, National Science Foundation, (09/01/2012 - 08/31/2013) . Federal. Status: Funded.

Minai, U., Acquisition and Deployment of Semantic Knowledge: Eye-tracking Studies, Fund allocation #2302262, New Faculty General Research Fund, University of Kansas, (07/01/2011 - 05/31/2012) . University (KU or KUMC). Status: Funded.

Minai, Utako, Yooji-gengo ni okeru imi-keesan to ninchi-jikkoo-kinoo [Semantic Computation and Cognitive Function in Child Language], Project Number 20720115, KAKENHI/Grant-in-aid for Scientific Research for Young Scientists (B), Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT)/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), $ ({ }), (04/01/2008 - 03/31/2009) . Federal. Status: Funded.

Jincho, Nobuyuki, Hayashi, Akiko, Minai, Utako, Gankyuu-undou-keisoku ni yoru choukaku-shougai-ji to kenjyou-jidou no yomi-rikai-katei no hikaku [An Eye-tracking Study of Children’s Reading Ability: A Comparison between Typically-developing Children and Children with Auditory Difficulties], Project Number 06-B-0011, The Hakuho Foundation Research Grant for Language and Education, (04/01/2007 - 03/31/2008) . Foundation. Status: Funded.


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