Naturalistic longitudinal recordings of child development promise to reveal fresh perspectives on fundamental questions of language acquisition. In a pilot effort, we have recorded 230,000 hours of audio-video recordings spanning the first three years of one childfs life at home. To study a corpus of this scale and richness, current methods of developmental cognitive science are inadequate. We are developing new methods for data analysis and interpretation that combine pattern recognition algorithms with interactive user interfaces and data visualization. Preliminary speech analysis reveals surprising levels of linguistic fine-tuning by caregivers that may provide crucial support for word learning. Ongoing analyses of the corpus aim to model detailed aspects of the child's language development as a function of learning mechanisms combined with lifetime experience. Plans to collect similar corpora from more children based on a transportable recording system are underway.
Bibliographic reference. Roy, Deb (2009): "New horizons in the study of child language acquisition", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 13-20.