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IASCL - Child Language Bulletin - Vol 32, No 1: August 2012
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Interested in Organizing an IASCL Meeting?

By Eve Clark, IASCL President, Stanford University

The 2014 meeting of IASCL will be held in Amsterdam, and the 2017 meeting in Lyon.

For future meetings (2020, 2023), please send preliminary expressions of interest to: Eve V. Clark

An Interview with our New President, Eve Clark

By Angel Chan, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

eve clark
Eve Clark

Eve Clark is the Richard W. Lyman Professor of Humanities and Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University, Stanford. California. She studied French Language and Literature, then did her PhD (Linguistics, Edinburgh) on language acquisition before moving to Stanford.

Eve’s research has focused on children’s acquisition of meaning, beginning with her Semantic Features Hypothesis, and now framed by the pragmatic principles of Conventionality and Contrast. She has worked on the acquisition of lexical meaning for both relational and non-relational terms; on word-formation and lexical innovations, cross-linguistically; on children’s uptake of ‘new’ words in the course of conversation, and on how adults license inferences about the meanings of new words. She has also worked on the role of joint attention in new word acquisition, and on the kinds of information adults provide to children about the referents of new words. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and The Spencer Foundation in the US, and through her collaborators, by the Israel-US Binational Science Foundation and the Agence National de Recherche. Her observational and experimental studies have appeared in numerous journal articles and chapters, and in two monographs: The Ontogenesis of Meaning (1979) and The Lexicon in Acquisition (1993). She is also known for her general text and reference book on acquisition, First Language Acquisition (2nd edn, 2009).

She is currently working on adult reformulations in interactions with young children, and how these provide feedback on errors, feedback that is also relevant to children’s uptake of corrected forms; on the acquisition of verb paradigms in French where widespread homophony presents a particular challenge to discovery of the contrasting meanings involved, on the role of gesture in combination with speech in adult-child interactions, and on language-as-expertise.

In this interview, Eve comments on her impressions of the last IASCL congress, expectations for the next conference, views on the recent and future developments of the field, her own theoretical perspective on child language acquisition, and her current and future research plans.

Angel Chan: Eve, you attended the IASCL congress in Montreal last summer. What was your general impression of the conference?

Eve Clark: I was impressed by the range of questions being asked about the process of acquisition, and the open, eclectic, embrace of many different perspectives on studying first language acquisition. I was also fascinated by the topics the plenary speakers talked about: they all did a superb job of making science accessible without too much simplification, and they conveyed very clearly how exciting they found their research.

Angel Chan: Do you have any expectations for the next congress?

Eve Clark: Personally, I am particularly looking forward to the 2014 meeting being in The Netherlands – I have spent quite a bit of time there over the years, mainly as a Visiting Scientist at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics, and so having the next meeting in Amsterdam will be a real treat. I hope it will draw a lot of IASCL members too: Amsterdam is very accessible, a lovely city, full of breathtaking art, music, and history. The actual organization and planning of the next congress is in the able hands of Anne Baker and her Organizing Committee. We will be following the general model set by the Montréal and Edinburgh meetings, with poster and symposia sessions, plus invited plenary talks. It is early days, though, and the Amsterdam organizers will be posting more information about plans (and abstract deadlines) early in 2013. A lot of the behind-the-scenes planning is already well on the way, but getting the details into place takes a bit more time. But look for a website announcement before the end of the year.

Angel Chan: Your last interview with the IASCL child language bulletin was back in May 2003. What do you consider the major developments in the field of child language over the last 9 years?

Eve Clark: I see several new directions that look exciting. There is a lot more attention being paid to modeling in studies of acquisition, particularly with Bayesian-type models. While these tend to focus on just a few dimensions at a time, this is an important development, and one that could be applied to cross-linguistic data, for example, for more rigorous assessments of how differences in language typology as well as in the amount of input can affect the process of acquisition. Researchers are also beginning to attend to more of the pragmatic factors in acquisition, looking, for example, at how conversational interactions shape children’s acquisition of a language from the start, and how pragmatic demands on communication affect what children do and don’t say under different circumstances. This suggests that we have now moved away from the formerly pervasive view of ‘language as product’ to a more realistic view of ‘language-as-process’. And many researchers are looking at other dimensions in communication: gaze, facial expression, stance, hand/arm gestures, all factors that have often been ignored when it came down to talking about “language development”. I think we now realize that we have to look at language as one piece, albeit a critical one, among the various skills we draw on to communicate.

Angel Chan: How do you see the future of child language studies? What questions or issues do you particularly hope that child language researchers could take up in the coming years?

Eve Clark: I expect to see much more cross-linguistic comparisons within semantic domains, along the lines of the work inspired by Melissa Bowerman on ‘cutting and breaking’, as well as ‘placing’ things in or on other things. Semantic domains show us how languages differ in their lexical resources and in the number of contrasts they rely on, and this contributes centrally to some basic typological differences. Making such comparisons enriches the typological differences we can see in syntactic structures, and adds to what we know about different language types and how they are learnt. I’d also like to see much more integration of linguistic development with other factors that contribute to the construction of a (successful) communication system –– how adults and children use gaze and gesture, for example, along with language, as they exchange information. And there we need to look at how adults do this too. An exclusive focus on language tends to limit the questions we think of asking and also the kinds of answers we might consider.

Angel Chan: In the first chapter of your book “First Language Acquisition” (second edition), you state that you view both social and cognitive development as critical to child language acquisition. What are the influences that have shaped such a view?

Eve Clark: Keeping a daily diary of a child’s development makes one very aware of the multiple influences that are exerted on early development. And I kept such a diary for 6 years. Infants are very sociable, for example, and that propensity plays a critical role in their earliest attempts to communicate, as well as in adult reactions to infants and small children. Cognitive development sets all sorts of milestones which have an effect, in turn, on what children are interested in and try to talk about at different stages and ages. By tracking what changes over time, we can gain insight into just what is developing in the intersecting skills that children master (in varying degrees) as they get older. For instance, thanks to Anne Fernald and her lab, one factor we now know is critical is how much adults talk to their children before age 3 –– the amount of language young children hear influences how fast they recognize familiar words and how rapidly they go on to add new words to their repertoires. The effects of such early linguistic input are probably life-long: we know they affect how well children do in school, in our culture, and this will also very likely affect how skilled they become, as they get older, in making use of language in communication.

Angel Chan: How about your current and future research plans?

Eve Clark: I have been working in several areas in the last few years –– on the forms and meanings of early verbs, on common ground and its accumulation during communicative adult-child exchanges, and on the relations between speech and gesture.

First, I have been collaborating with Edy Veneziano (Paris-Descartes) on how Francophone children learn the verb paradigms of French, and we have found that we have to look very closely at conversational exchanges in order to track children’s acquisition of each specific verb form, the constructions it appears in, and its emerging meaning. We are also looking closely at the kinds of information adults offer about verbs, at how frequency in the input affects acquisition, and all the kinds of information available to children as they gradually add to their initial verb forms and their meanings, for each verb.

Second, I have become very interested in what’s involved in taking turns in a conversation –– how turns are timed as one person yields the floor to another, how speakers place information in common ground during an exchange, and how they organize given and new information to update and so accumulate common ground. One of my students, Marisa Tice, is doing ingenious studies on the timing of turns in both child and adult speech, using eye-tracking techniques, and focusing on the cues they use to anticipate upcoming ends of turns, and another, Chigusa Kurumada, is looking at how certain prosodic contours trigger specific pragmatic inferences, and how early children learn to take account of such inferences, which again require an updating of common ground.

Third, with Bruno Estigarribia (University of North Carolina), I’ve been looking at some of the relations between verbal and gestural information in adult-child interactions, and in particular at the kinds of information gestures can provide for very young children. For example, when adults offer children new words, they often also present information about the referents of those words with words for parts, properties, and functions of an unfamiliar referent, for example, alongside gestures timed to match the speaker’s words, where the speaker points at parts and properties as they are mentioned, and demonstrates the function or type of motion typical of the referent object as it is described. I hope to pursue all three of these topics further.

Angel Chan: Thank you very much Eve for sharing your thoughts with us!

Conference Report: Formal Approaches to Heritage Language, Mini-Conference at UMass Amherst

By Barbara Zurer Pearson, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Language Acquisition Research Center (LARC) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst hosted a meeting on April 21-22 to explore “Formal Approaches to Heritage Language.” The conference followed Polinsky and Kagan (2007) in defining the heritage speaker (HS) as a “person raised in a home where one language is spoken, but who subsequently switched to another dominant language.” The question posed by the call for papers was to explore the formal properties of HS grammars and how they diverge from both “native baseline” and L2 speaker grammars. Fifty-six speakers and attendees from three continents, six countries, and seven states, representing at least ten languages, heard talks and posters one day and then gathered on a second day for a panel on special educational issues for heritage speakers.

Keynoter Acrisio Pires of University of Michigan opened by framing the question in terms of general mechanisms of language variation. The day closed with a second keynote by Ana Perez-Leroux on minimalist insights into heritage grammars, and remarks by discussant Tom Roeper. The following morning, Maria Polinsky of Harvard set the stage for considerations for the education of heritage speakers and then led the lively panel comprised of Peggy Speas and Luiz Amaral of Amherst and Silvina Montrul of the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana. Responses to the conference questions, based on Russian, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, French, and Iniktitut (among others), probed specific effects seen in constructions such as inflected infinitives and modality distinctions in Brazilian Portuguese, differential object marking in Spanish, null objects, aspect, negative polarity items, and interrogative inversion. What common properties, one asks, are found across language pairs? What are language-specific responses?

The consensus from a post-event survey indicated that a small conference such as this is a viable format for leaders in the field to move the conversation along and at the same time draw new investigators into the field.

There were a small number of participants and talks, but a large number of researchers who I wanted to talk to. [I appreciated] no parallel sessions, dinner for participants, and the division into a day of talks and a day of workshops. … The open and informal format of the workshop and the discussion were very good and made it possible to exchange thoughts and ideas - I think more than in most other conferences.

Downloadable papers and a photo gallery are available on the LARC website.

For more information, contact LARC directors, Luiz Amaral, Tom Roeper, or Barbara Zurer Pearson, also through the LARC website. Questions about a possible follow-up publication should be addressed to Acrisio Pires.

YouTube Channel for Specific Language Impairment (SLI): Spread the Word!

By Gina Conti-Ramsden, University of Manchester

Sitting in the back of a taxi, my friendly driver enquires about my job.

“I work with children with specific language impairment.”

“Children with specific what?” comes the bewildered, but not unexpected, reply.

Each member of our group has had this type of experience. There is little awareness of specific language impairment (SLI) among the general public. This is particularly surprising when the facts are revealed: SLI is much more common than autism and about as common as dyslexia. Evidence estimates prevalence at around 3%: a child in every reception class.

SLI hinders understanding and expressive language. The impact can be serious, often affecting literacy, educational attainments, social interactions and ultimately the ability to participate in society and hold down a job. Yet because SLI is a hidden disability, it often goes unnoticed with many children, young people and their families missing out on accessing much needed help and support.

As therapists, it’s distressing to see the effect late diagnosis can have on a young person’s self-esteem and self-worth. This often comes from their struggles to succeed at school because of the heavy language demands of the curriculum and difficulties communicating within their family and social circles. SLI needs to be identified so that the people around the child can understand their needs, strengths and how best to support them.

So, we joined forces to form a group called RALLI - Raising Awareness of Language Learning Impairments. Our goal is simple: for awareness of SLI to be as widespread as awareness of dyslexia and autism.


In order to reach as large an audience as possible, we have just launched a YouTube channel where we are posting short videos about SLI from various perspectives. These will range from children talking about how SLI has affected their lives through to brief summaries of recent research. We urge you to look at our channel, subscribe, add your comments and forward the link to parents and professionals. We also plan to post videos for young people with SLI and we will be encouraging all audiences to send in their own videos to share. Please help us to spread the word!


Acknowledgement: RALLI has been launched with funding support from Afasic, Afasic Cymru, The Waterloo Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

CLASTA: Communication & Language Acquisition Studies in Typical and Atypical Populations

By Virginia Volterra, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies & Maria Chiara Levorato, University of Padova

We are pleased to announce the foundation of a new scientific association in Italy. The members of the Provisional Executive Committee are:

The aims of the association are:

Anyone interested in collaborating with the association is invited to contact Maria Chiara Levorato, University of Padua.

New Academic Program in Speech Pathology

By Roxanne Bélanger, Laurentian University

Laurentian University’s Speech Language Pathology Department, in collaboration with the Departments of Biology, French Studies, Psychology and Sociology is proud to offer the first French-language Bachelor’s of Health Science program (orthophonie) in the province. Laurentian University will accept its first cohort of M.H.Sc. students in September 2012.

The curriculum developed for this 4-year program is both engaging and challenging for the students, and includes a rigorous clinical component. Consequently, the student is provided with the competencies required to further pursue their education at the Master’s level and a career as a Speech Language Pathologist or in other related areas.

The first cohort of Bachelor’s level students was accepted in September 2008. In June 2011, Faculty had the privilege of assisting to the graduation of this cohort.

In September 2012, Laurentian University will open its doors to students in the newest French-language Master’s in Health Science program (orthophonie) in Ontario. The program comprises two options: one M.H.Sc. with thesis and one M.H.Sc. without thesis. The mission of the program is to equip future clinicians with a solid theoretical and practical foundation, thereby making them capable of integrating research to clinical practice both in English and French. Given that there are waiting lists for speech and language services throughout Northern Ontario, Laurentian University is host to its own Speech Language Pathology Clinic. This clinic:

Speech-Language Pathology laboratories are also situated on site, thus providing research opportunities to students within the programs. Faculty members at Laurentian University conduct research on a wide range of topics.

Roxanne Bélanger, PhD candidate, is a Speech Language Pathologist who is examining the neuro-developmental outcomes of children born prematurely. Her research interests include, but are not limited to the speech and language development of bilingual children born in a linguistic minority context.

Chantal Mayer, PhD candidate, is a Speech Language Pathologist who is pursuing her doctoral studies in the Human Studies program, also at Laurentian University, under the supervision of Elin Thordardottir, bilingual language acquisition expert from McGill University. Chantal’s research interests include, among others, the language development of bilingual children with and without SLI in Northern Ontario.

Michèle Minor-Corriveau, PhD candidate, is a Speech Language Pathologist who has successfully defended her thesis working on standardizing and validating a speech and language screening tool designed for use with the franco-ontarian population. Her research interests include but are not limited to standardizing and validating assessment batteries and treatment options in order to make them accessible to the franco-ontarian population; articulation and phonological disorders; and written language.

Manon Robillard, PhD candidate, is a Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Her interest in AAC stems from her clinical work with children having complex communication needs. For 12 years, she was a team member of an AAC clinic in Ontario. Her present research involves the establishment of core words for French speaking and bilingual children living in minority communities. She is also studying the influence of cognition and language on young children’s ability to navigate a speech-generating device.

Students are therefore engaged in research activities from the baccalaureate level onward, learning from and collaborating with professors actively researching and working in the field.

These interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs offer students across the province as well as across the country the opportunity to study Speech-Language Pathology in a culturally diverse linguistic minority setting, while offering the communities of Northern Ontario the promise of producing graduates in the ever-evolving field of Speech-Language Pathology, ready to provide high-quality service to populations with needs as diverse as their cultures.


Forthcoming Conferences and Workshops

What: The 2012 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012)
When: 1-4 August 2012
Where: Sapporo, Japan

What: The 7th International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG-7)
When: 10-12 August 2012
Where: Seoul, Korea

What: Biennial Meeting EARLI SIG 5 Learning and Development in Early Childhood: Researching Development, Learning and Well-Being in Early Childhood
When: 27-29 August 2012
Where: Utrecht, The Netherlands

What: Embodied and Situated Language Processing 2012 (ESLP 2012)
When: 28-30 August 2012
Where: Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK

What: Measuring Behavior 2012: The 8th International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research
When: 28-31 August 2012
Where: Utrecht, The Netherlands

What: Τhe 13th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Adolescence (EARA)
When: 29 August – 1 Sep 2012
Where: Spetses, Greece

What: Workshop on Prosody in Typical and Atypical Populations
When: 3-4 September 2012
Where: University of Reading, UK

What: The British Psychological Society Developmental Section Annual Conference 2012
When: 5-7 September 2012
Where: Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK

What: The 22nd Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA22)
When: 5-8 September 2012
Where: Poznań, Poland

What: Narrative, Intervention and Literacy: Development of Oral Narratives, Intervention Procedures and Reading Comprehension (NIL2012)
When: 6-7 September 2012
Where: Paris, France

What: The 18th Annual Conference on Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing (AMLaP 2012)
When: 6-8 September 2012
Where: Riva del Garda, Italy

What: The 22nd Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA22)
When: 6-8 September 2012
Where: Poznań, Poland

What: Self-Talk: Forms and Practices
When: 10-12 September 2012
Where: Paris, France

What: Deaf Children Development Conference
When: 11 September 2012
Where: City University London, UK

What: The 8th International Conference on Third Language Acquisition and Multilingualism
When: 13-15 September 2012
Where: Castelló, Spain

What: The 16th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (SEMDIAL 2012)
When: 19-21 September 2012
Where: Paris, France

What: The International Fall School Multilingualism: European and Asian Perspectives
When: 8-12 October 2012
Where: Hamburg, Germany

What: The Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition in North America (GALANA 5)
When: 11-13 October 2012
Where: Kansas, USA

What: Workshop on Causality in Language and Cognition: From Prelinguistic to Linguistic Causality in Infants
When: 12 October 2012
Where: Paris, France
Inquiries: Bridget Copley

What: Second Language Research Forum (SLRF)
When: 18-21 October 2012
Where: Pittsburgh, USA

What: Workshop on Acquisition at the Interface (WAI)
When: 22-23 October 2012
Where: Tromsø, Norway

What: The Road Less Travelled: An International Conference on Heritage Languages and Heritage Language Acquisition
When: 26-27 October 2012
Where: Victoria College, University of Toronto, Canada

What: The 37th Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 37)
When: 2-4 November 2012
Where: Boston, USA

What: New Trends in Experimental Psycholinguistics
When: 7 -9 November 2012
Where: Madrid, Spain

What: The IEEE Conference on Development and Learning, and Epigenetic Robotics
When: 7-9 November 2012
Where: San Diego, California, USA

What: Maryland International Conference on Chinese as a Second Language (MICCSL1)
When: 10-11 November 2012
Where: College Park, Maryland, USA

What: The 2012 ASHA Convention
When: 15-17 November 2012
Where: Atlanta, USA

What: New Perspectives on Crosslinguistic Influence in Language Learning (CLI 2012)
When: 15-17 November 2012
Where: Zadar, Croatia

What: Early Language Acquisition 2012 (ELA 2012)
When: 5-7 December 2012
Where: Lyon, France

What: The 87th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America
When: 3-6 January 2013
Where: Boston, USA

What: Experimental Methods in Language Acquisition Research (EMLAR IX)
When: 30 Jan-1 Feb 2013
Where: Utrecht, Netherlands

What: Specific Conditions in Language Acquisition (DGfS Workshop)
When: 12-15 March 2013
Where: University of Potsdam, Germany
Inquiries: Flavia Adani, Johannes Hennies and Eva Wimmer

What: The 5th International Conference of Cognitive Science (ICCS2013)
When: May 2013
Where: Tehran, Iran

What: Language Development Courses at the Linguistic Institute
When: 24 June – 19 July 2013
Where: University of Michigan, USA

What: The 18th meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology
Where: Budapest, Hungary

Conference and Workshop Calls

What: Three Factors and Beyond: The Socio-Syntax of (A)typical Language Acquisition and Development (3FB)
When: 16-18 November 2012
Where: Nicosia, Cyprus
Submission Deadline: 14 September 2012

What: The 14th Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics 2013 (TCP2013)
When: 8-9 March 2013
Where: Tokyo, Japan
Submission Deadline: 30 Nov 2012

What: Experimental Approaches to Perception and Production of Language Variation (ExAPP2013)
When: 20-22 March 2013
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
Submission Deadline: 3 August 2012

What: The 11th International Symposium of Psycholinguistics
When: 20-23 March 2013
Where: Tenerife, Spain
Submission Deadline: 30 November 2012

What: The 26th Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing (CUNY 2013)
When: 21-23 March 2013
Where: Columbia, USA
Submission Deadline: 1 December 2012

What: The 31st AESLA Conference. Communication, Cognition and Cybernetics (XXXIAESLA)
When: 18-20 April 2013
Where: La Laguna/Tenerife, Spain
Submission Deadline: 30 November 2012

What: Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (GASLA 12)
When: 26-28 April 2013
Where: Gainesville, FL, USA
Submission Deadline: 15 November 2012

What: Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics Annual Conference (ACLA - CAAL)
When: 3-5 June 2013
Where: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Submission Deadline: 16 November 2012

What: The 9th International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB9)
When: 10 -13 June 2013
Where: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Submission Deadline: 31 Oct 2012

What: The 12th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC 12, 2013)
When: 23-28 June 2013
Where: Edmonton, Canada
Submission Deadline: 1 November 2012

What: Child Language Seminar (CLS 2013)
When: 24-25 June 2013
Where: University of Manchester, UK
Submission Deadline: will be announced in September 2012

What: The 19th International Congress of Linguists (19ICL)
When: 22-27 July 2013
Where: Geneva, Switzerland
Submission Deadline: 1 September 2012

What: Association for Linguistic Typology 10th Biennial Meeting (ALT10)
When: 15-18 August 2013
Where: University of Leipzig, Germany
Submission Deadline: 10 Dec 2012 (theme sessions), 15 Jan 2013 (papers/posters)

What: The 7th International Conference on Language Acquisition (AEAL 2013)
When: 4-6 September 2013
Where: Bilbao, Spain
Submission Deadline: 15 Jan 2013

What: The 13th International Pragmatics Conference
When: 8-13 September 2013
Where: New Delhi, India
Submission Deadline: announced later

What: The XIII Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL 2014)
When: 14-19 July 2014
Where: Amsterdam
Submission Deadline: will be announced in early 2013

What: The 17th World Congress of Applied Linguistics (AILA2014)
When: 10-15 August 2014
Where: Brisbane, Australia
Submission Deadline: April 2013

New CHILDES Corpora

New Clinical Corpus

A new clinical corpus contributed by Dr. Aparna Nadig and Janet Bang of McGill University is now available on CHILDES as part of the clinical corpora. The corpus is part of a larger study on word learning in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and includes transcripts of parent-child interactions during a brief play interaction (approximately 10 minutes). These include English-speaking and French-speaking families from Montreal, Quebec. The corpus includes both children with ASD (36-74 months old) and typically-developing children (12-57 months) who were recruited to match children with ASD on language ability. Sample sizes for the English-speaking sample include: 12 children with ASD and 25 children with typical development. Sample sizes for the French-speaking sample include: 8 children with ASD and 17 children with typical development. Full documentation can be found in the manual for clinical corpora at under Language Disorders.

New French Corpus

A new French corpus has been contributed by Katerina Palasis of the University of Nice. The data include 20 hours of recordings of 22 children in a single kindergarten classroom. Their ages across the period of the study range from 2;5 to 4;0. The data are linked to either audio or video recordings and there was a special emphasis on the analysis of error types.

New American English Corpus

Braunwald-Max Planck Corpus is a new corpus contributed by Susan Braunwald with the help of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The corpus consists of an electronic version of a diary kept by Sue Braunwald of her daughter's language development together with transcriptions and linked sound files. The main data collection periods covered in the electronic corpus were from 1;3 – 3;10 for the diary and 1;6 -4;6 for the recordings, with some later ones as well. Keeping the diary was an enormously arduous task for Sue as was making the recordings, and the CHILDES community is immensely grateful to her for contributing this corpus as well as to the Leipzig and Manchester members of MPI-EVA for turning it into the electronic version. Full details are in the section of the corpus manual for the American English segment of the database.

Book Announcements

Authors: Patricia Brooks and Vera Kempe
Title: Language Development
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3146-2

From the first moment of life, language development occurs in the context of social activities. This book emphasizes how language development interacts with social and cognitive development, and shows how these abilities work together to turn children into sophisticated language users—a process that continues well beyond the early years. Covering the breadth of contemporary research on language development, Brooks and Kempe illustrate the methodological variety and multi-disciplinary character of the field, presenting recent findings with reference to major theoretical discussions. Through their clear and accessible style, readers are given an authentic flavor of the complexities of language development research.

With such research advancing at a rapid pace, Language Development uncovers new insights into a variety of areas such as the neurophysiological underpinnings of language, the language processing capabilities of newborns, and the role of genes in regulating this amazing human ability.

More information:

Editors: Jean-Marc Colletta and Michèle Guidetti
Title: Gesture and Multimodal Development
Publisher: John Benjamins
ISBN: 978-90-272-0258-1 (hardbound) 978-90-272-7392-5 (e-book)

We gesture while we talk and children use gestures prior to words to communicate during the first year. Later, as words become the preferred form of communication, children continue to gesture to reinforce or extend the spoken messages or even to replace them. This volume, originally published as a Special Issue of Gesture 10:2/3 (2010), brings together studies from language acquisition and developmental psychology. It provides a review of common theoretical, methodological and empirical themes, and the contributions address topics such as gesture use in prelinguistic infants with a special and new focus on pointing, the relationship between gestures and lexical development in typically developing and deaf children and even how gesture can help to learn mathematics. All in all, it brings additional evidence on how gestures are related to language, communication and mind development.

More information:

Authors: Jean Berko Gleason and Nan Bernstein Ratner
Title: Development of Language (The 8th Edition)
Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
ISBN-10: 0132612380
ISBN-13: 978-0-13261-238-8

Combining the contributions of experts and highly-respected researchers, the eighth edition of Language Development offers a definitive exploration of language acquisition and development from infancy through adulthood.

Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, it examines what we know about language development—addressing communication development in infancy, phonological development, semantic development, morphology and syntax. Broadening the scope of study, it puts language development into larger biological, social and cultural contexts, while investigating individual differences, atypical development, literacy and even language development in adults.

New to This Edition:

More information:

Author: Deborah A. Hwa-Froelich
Title: Supporting Development in Internationally Adopted Children
Publisher: Brooks Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-59857-191-2

Thousands of children are adopted from outside the United States each year—and professionals must be ready to meet their complex needs and recognize when to refer them for assessments and services. This is the evidence-based resource professionals need to fully understand the development of children adopted from abroad, make appropriate recommendations and referrals, and choose interventions that ensure the best outcomes.

Professionals working with internationally adopted children will recognize their accuracy in referring internationally adopted children for further developmental assessments and services; understand the impact of specific issues associated with international adoption, including transitions in language and relationship development, health care, social interaction, and cultural values; discover effective intervention strategies for each developmental area; and study the theoretical foundations for the development of internationally adopted children.

With the clear and helpful referral indicators in each chapter, it’s much easier for professionals to make educated decisions about whether a child needs further assessment. A must-have for a wide range of professionals—including early interventionists, educators, SLPs, therapists, pediatricians, and social workers—this book is the key to appropriate services that ensure the best outcomes for children adopted from abroad.

More information:

Editors: Michael Siegal and Luca Surian
Title: Access to Language and Cognitive Development
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-199-59272-2 (hardback)

One of the most important questions about children's development involves how knowledge acquisition depends on the effect of language experience. To what extent, and in what ways, is a child's cognitive development influenced by their early experience of, and access to, language? Likewise, what are the effects on development of impaired access to language? This book confronts directly the issue of how possessing an enhanced or impaired access to language influences children's development. Its focus is on learning environments, theory of mind understanding, and the process of deriving meaning from conversations. The book features chapters which are concerned with bilingualism, deafness, atypical child development, and development in cultures with limited vocabularies in areas such as number concepts. Throughout, it maps out what is known about the interface between language and cognitive development and the prospects for the future directions in research and applied settings.

More information:

Editors: Sebastian Suggate and Elaine Reese
Title: Contemporary Debates in Childhood Education and Development
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 978-0-415-61490-0 (paperback) 978-0-415-61489-4 (hardback) 978-0-203-11555-8 (e-book)

Contemporary Debates in Childhood Education and Development is a unique resource and reference work that brings together leading international researchers and thinkers, with divergent points of view, to discuss contemporary problems and questions in childhood education and developmental psychology. Through an innovative format whereby leading scholars each offer their own constructive take on the issue in hand, this book aims to inform readers of both sides of a variety of topics and in the process encourage constructive communication and fresh approaches.

Spanning a broad spectrum of issues, this book covers:

This book combines breadth of vision with cutting edge research and is a ‘must have’ resource for researchers, students and policy makers in the fields of education and child development.

More information:

Thesis Announcements

Author: Lucimar Almeida Dantas
Title: How Our Children Learn to Talk? Path Acquisition of Portuguese Spoken in Brazil
Institution: Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias

This research aimed to describe the pathway of acquisition of the Portuguese Language spoken in Brazil. Regarding theoretical basis, we make use of multiple approaches involving behaviorist, innatist, Piaget’s cognitive, social-interactionist and emergentist approaches in order to help us study language acquisition. It is a longitudinal study which recorded every two weeks audio language development in two Brazilian children from the age of 1;00 to 5;00. The data were phonetically and/or orthographically transcribed and were analyzed in phonological, morphological and syntactic aspects. In the field of phonology, we study the process of acquisition of phonemes, the phonemes of difficult pronunciation and the repair strategies used by children. In morphology, we describe the learning process of nominal and verbal morpheme inflections. In syntax, we present the path followed by children in the construction of simple sentences and the different types of composed phrases. In general, we observed a slow and gradual learning process in which biological, cognitive, social and linguistic factors interact. The process is marked by highs and regressions, indicative of a self-regulated system that learns.

Author: Thomas Doukas
Title: Acquisition of the Verbal Domain in Child Greek: Evidence from a New Child Greek Corpus
Institution: University of Reading

This thesis addresses the acquisition of the verbal domain in early Greek by exploring tense, finiteness, and subject-verb agreement based on samples from two monolingual children aged 1;7 - 2;11. The analyses of the data address two main theoretical accounts of language acquisition, namely, the generative approach and the usage-based approach. The results of the analyses, however, suggest that the latter approach did not provide sufficient empirical evidence to account for the data presented in this study.

Previous research suggested that sigmatic past in Greek is more prominent than non-sigmatic past, and therefore, its acquisition is subject to a dual mechanism. The results of the use of past tense suggest that sigmatic forms are used more often than non-sigmatic ones. A frequency analysis suggests that high frequency past tense forms in adults are used more often by children than low frequency ones.

Studies in child Greek proposed an early stage of development, during which children produce non-finite non-adult verbal forms, also referred to as the Root Infinitive stage. The data analysis shows very few non-finite non-adult forms. These occur in children's speech only for a very short period at around the age of 2 years. The frequency analysis reveals that input does not relate to the production of RIs in children's speech.

Previous studies on the acquisition of verbal morphology showed that children's use of person and number markings are not productive and that children use mainly the 3rd singular. The subject-verb agreement analysis shows that error rates are low in children's speech and that subject-verb agreement is used productively from very early on. A frequency analysis shows that use of inflectional morphology is very similar between the two children but different from adults.

To conclude, this thesis provides new evidence for very early acquisition of the verbal domain in child Greek.

Further Announcements

By Brian MacWhinney, Carnegie Mellon University

In order to more accurately reflect the relation between the CHILDES and TalkBank Projects, we have added the hostname to the Internet DNS tables. The old name of will continue to work. However, in future communications and links, we will refer to the CHILDES host machine as

This hostname change is intended to underscore the ways in which CHILDES, AphasiaBank, PhonBank, TBIBank, DementiaBank, and similar projects are sub-components of the overall TalkBank system.

Antwerp CHILDES Mirror

By Brian MacWhinney, Carnegie Mellon University

Thanks to the hard work of Joris Gillis and additional moral support from Steven Gillis, there is now a fully functioning mirror of the CHILDES site in Antwerp at This site continually mirrors all of the pages of the Pittsburgh site along with all of the transcripts and media.

Having this mirror available provides an important backup for the system lest something unforeseen and catastrophic occur in Pittsburgh or even if we just make some silly mistakes. Of course, we keep multiple backups of data, but having a complete online mirror provides a very different level of protection. Also, if the Pittsburgh site is occasionally down, people can access the Antwerp site and sometimes it may also prove to be more responsive, depending on network topography.

At the moment, all of the pages and transcripts are available. Not all of the media are yet in place, but they will be there soon.

Brian would like to stress that Joris has provided this mirror and the various scripts upon which it depends on a strictly volunteer basis. Many thanks to him for providing this service and to Steven for his moral support.

Special Issue of Journal of French Language Studies on Language Acquisition

By Aliyah Morgenstern, Université Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle

We are pleased to announce the online publication of a special issue of Journal of French Language Studies on Language Acquisition:

First language acquisition of French grammar (from 10 months to 4 years old).

Editor: Martine Sekali (Université Paris Ouest Nantererre-La Défense)

The papers present results of analyses conducted in the framework of the CoLaJE project (COmmunication LAngière chez le Jeune Enfant: financed by the "Agence Nationale de la Recherche". The authors thank all the members of the CoLaJE team for their extensive feedback on the first drafts of the papers, and the anonymous reviewers for their rich and constructive comments. The data used (the Paris corpus) can be downloaded or consulted on CHILDES ( or on the CoLaJE website.


First language acquisition of French grammar (from 10 months to 4 years old) Introduction MARTINE SEKALI

The Paris Corpus

Le rôle de la prosodie dans les premières constructions grammaticales: étude de cas d'un enfant français monolingue

CATEGORIES IN THE MAKING: Assessing the role of semantics in the acquisition of noun and verb categories

Rising grammatical awareness in a French-speaking child from 18 to 36 months: uses and misuses of possession markers

Développement de la référence à soi chez une enfant de 1;05 à 3;00: de l'influence de l'input à la reconstruction du système

The unfolding of the verbal temporal system in French children's speech between 18 and 36 months

The emergence of complex sentences in a French child's language from 0;10 to 4;01: causal adverbial clauses and the concertina effect

From the Editor

The Child Language Bulletin is the official newsletter of the IASCL Association, and it is published twice a year on the website. All members of the association will receive an e-mail message each time a new issue of the Bulletin is published.

I encourage members to submit news and information that might be relevant to our research community, for instance, report on a conference or workshop, announcements about forthcoming conferences and workshops, new CHILDES corpora, books, and completed PhD Theses, conference and workshop calls, book reviews, and surveys. We need your contributions to keep the Bulletin abreast of developments in our field.

Please send any items that are of interest to the IASCL community to

I look forward to receiving your submissions!

Angel Chan
Room GH632
Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hunghom, Hong Kong SAR


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