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IASCL - Child Language Bulletin - Vol 32, No 2: December 2012
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Seminar Report: What’s New in Child Language Research: Implications for Policy and Practice

By Debra Page and Sheena Reilly, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital and the Hearing, Language and Literacy Research Group at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute held a seminar on 30th March 2012 in Melbourne to explore “What’s new in Child Language research: implications for policy and practice.” The seminar was designed for early years services, schools, allied health professionals, local government, policy makers and researchers. It brought together key experts in child language development from the United States, United Kingdom and Australia to discuss recent advances in child language research and the lessons and implications for policy and practice. Seven speakers gave nine presentations to over 200 attendees.

Keynote speakers:

The day opened with Professor Tomblin reflecting on his 40 years of clinical and research experience in the child language domain, developments in the understanding of language disorders over the years, and his longitudinal cohort study in Iowa. Attendees also heard about several community-based longitudinal studies being conducted in Australia (including the Early Language in Victoria Study and Longitudinal Study of Australian Children) and outcomes of specific interventions for children with speech and language disorders (Let’s Learn Language, Language for Learning and Lets Read trials) and an update on the 2003 Cochrane review of effectiveness of interventions. The day concluded with Associate Professor Whitehouse delivering a talk on prenatal testosterone levels and early language development across the genders and on prenatal investigations of siblings and mothers of children with autism.

The consensus from a post-event survey indicated that the vast majority of attendees found the presentations excellent and that the seminar was very successful in updating new knowledge in child language, furthering understanding of the implications of new findings, and generating ideas on adapting workplace practice.

Slides are available from

A similar seminar will be held again in March 2013.

For more information, please visit


Forthcoming Conferences and Workshops

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

What: LOT Winter School 2013
When: 7-18 Jan 2013
Where: Leiden, The Netherlands

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

What: The 3rd International Conference on Sign Linguistics and Deaf Education in Asia
When: 30 Jan -2 Feb 2013
Where: Hong Kong

What: The 14th Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics 2013 (TCP2013)
When: 8-9 Mar 2013
Where: Tokyo, Japan

What: 35th Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS))
When: 12-15 Mar 2013
Where: Potsdam, Germany

What: The 11th International Symposium of Psycholinguistics
When: 20-23 Mar 2013
Where: Canary Islands, Spain

What: CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing (CUNY 2013)
When: 21-23 Mar 2013
Where: Columbia, USA

What: 1st Symposium on Sign Language Acquisition
When: 21-23 Mar 2013
Where: Lisbon, Portugal

What: Child Language Research: Discovery, Intervention and Policy Implications
When: 22 Mar 2013
Where: Melbourne, Australia

What: The 21st International Symposium on Theoretical & Applied Linguistics
When: 5-7 Apr 2013
Where: Thessaloniki, Greece

What: The British Psychological Society Developmental Section Annual Conference 2013
When: 9-11 Apr 2013
Where: Harrogate, UK

What: The 31st AESLA Conference. Communication, Cognition and Cybernetics
When: 18–20 Apr 2013
Where: La Laguna/Tenerife, Spain

What: The Society for Research in Child Development 2013 Biennial Meeting (SRCD 2013 Biennial Meeting)
When: 18–20 Apr 2013
Where: Washington, USA

What: Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition 12 (GASLA-12)
When: 26-28 Apr 2013
Where: Florida, USA

What: The 5th International Conference of Cognitive Science (ICCS 2013)
When: 7-9 May 2013
Where: Tehran, Iran

What: Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics Annual Conference
When: 3 -5 Jun 2013
Where: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

What: The 21st International Association of Chinese Linguistics
When: 7 -9 Jun 2013
Where: National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan

What: The 9th International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB9)
When: 10 -13 Jun 2013
Where: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

What: The 25th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-25)
When: 21-23 Jun 2013
Where: University of Michigan, USA

What: The 12th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC 12, 2013)
When: 23-28 Jun 2013
Where: Edmonton, Canada

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

What: Utrecht Summer School 2013
When: July- August 2013
Where: Utrecht, Netherlands

What: Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research (TISLR) Conference
When: 10-13 Jul 2013
Where: London, UK

What: Summer School in Cognitive Linguistics
When: 21-26 Jul 2013
Where: Bangor University, UK

What: The 19th International Congress of Linguists
When: 22-27 Jul 2013
Where: Geneva, Switzerland

What: DGfS Summer School: Language Development: Evolution, Change, Acquisition
When: 12-30 Aug 2013
Where: Berlin, Germany

What: AMLaP 2013
When: 2-4 Sep 2013
Where: Marseille, France

What: The 13th International Pragmatics Conference
When: 8-13 Sep 2013
Where: New Delhi, India

What: The 2013 ASHA Convention
When: 14-16 Nov 2013
Where: Chicago, USA

Conference and Workshop Calls

What: Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Roundtable (SLAT Roundtable)
When: 1-2 Mar 2013
Where: Arizona, USA
Submission Deadline: 3 Jan 2013

What: The Annual Conference of the Cognition Institute
When: 20-22 Mar 2013
Where: Plymouth University, UK
Submission Deadline: 7 Jan 2013

What: 2013 SLA Graduate Student Symposium
When: 19-20 Apr 2013
Where: Iowa, USA
Submission Deadline: 21 Jan 2012

What: International Workshop on Bilingualism and Cognitive Control
When: 15–17 May 2013
Where: Krakow, Poland
Submission Deadline: 15 Jan 2013

What: The 34th Annual Meeting of the Department of Linguistics (amgl34)
When: 16–18 May 2013
Where: Thessaloniki, Greece
Submission Deadline: 10 Jan 2013

What: Workshop on (Learner) Corpora and their Application in Language Testing and Assessment
When: 22 May 2013
Where: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Submission Deadline: 1 Feb 2013

What: The 25th International Conference on Foreign/Second Language Acquisition (ICFSLA 2013)
When: 23-25 May 2013
Where: Szczyrk, Poland
Submission Deadline: 31 Jan 2013

What: COST ACTION IS0804 Final Conference: Child Language Impairment in Multilingual Context
When: 27–29 May 2013
Where: Jagiellonian University Kraków, Poland
Details: more information about the conference can be found at to be launched in January 2013
Submission Deadline: 25 Feb 2013

What: The 16th Rencontres Jeunes Chercheurs - Models and Modeling in Language Sciences
When: 30–31 May 2013
Where: Paris, France
Submission Deadline: 14 Jan 2013

What: The International Child Phonology Conference (ICPC) 2013
When: 10-12 Jun 2013
Where: Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Submission Deadline: 15 Feb 2013

What: The Fourth Conference of the Scandinavian Association for Language and Cognition
When: 12-14 Jun 2013
Where: University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Submission Deadline: 1 Jan 2013

What: Tilburg Gesture Research Meeting
When: 19-21 Jun 2013
Where: Tilburg University, Netherlands
Submission Deadline: 20 Feb 2013

What: Workshop on Infant Language Development
When: 20-22 Jun 2013
Where: Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain
Submission Deadline: 18 Feb 2013

What: The Child Language Seminar (CLS 2013)
When: 24-25 Jun 2013
Where: University of Manchester, England
Submission Deadline: 17 Jan 2013

What: Japanese Society for Language Sciences 15th Annual International Conference (JSLS2013)
When: 28-30 Jun 2013
Where: Nagasaki, Japan
Submission Deadline: 8 Feb 2013

What: The 2013 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013)
When: 31 Jul - 3 Aug 2013
Where: Sapporo, Japan
Submission Deadline: 1 Feb 2013

What: Association for Linguistic Typology 10th Biennial Meeting (ALT10)
When: 15-18 Aug 2013
Where: University of Leipzig, Germany
Submission Deadline: 15 Jan 2013

What: The 8th International Workshop on Neurobilingualism
When: 25-27 Aug 2013
Where: University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Submission Deadline: 31 Jan 2013

What: The 23rd Annual Conference of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA23)
When: 28-31 Aug 2013
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Submission Deadline: 10 Feb 2013

What: The 18th Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology
When: 29 Aug -1 Sep 2013
Where: Budapest, Hungary
Submission Deadline: Symposia (proposed by full members): 1st March 2013, Individual contributions (posters and talks): 14th April 2013

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

What: Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition (GALA) 2013
When: 5-7 Sep 2013
Where: University of Oldenburg, Germany
Submission Deadline: 15 Mar 2013

What: Conference on Cross-linguistic Priming in Bilinguals: Perspectives and Constraints
When: 9-11 Sep 2013
Where: Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Submission Deadline: 15 Feb 2013

What: Workshop on Working Memory Resources in Language Processing and Acquisition
When: 25-27 Sep 2013
Where: Salerno, Italy
Submission Deadline: 28 Feb 2013

What: Acquisition of Referring Expressions: Crossed Perspectives
When: 25-26 Oct 2013
Where: Paris, France
Submission Deadline: 1 Mar 2013

What: Second Language Research Forum (SLRF)
When: 31 Oct - 2 Nov 2013
Where: Brigham Young University, Provo, USA
Submission Deadline: announced later

What: The XIII Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL 2014)
When: 14-19 Jul 2014
Where: Amsterdam
Submission Deadline: announced later

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

Book Announcements

Title: The Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3279-7

The Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism presents a comprehensive introduction to the foundations of bilingualism, covering language processing, language acquisition, cognition and the bilingual brain.

More information:

Author: Anne-Katharina Harr
Title: Language-Specific Factors in First Language Acquisition
Subtitle: The Expression of Motion Events in French and German
Series Title: Studies on Language Acquisition [SOLA] 48
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
ISBN: 978-16-145-1226-4 (hardback) 978-16-145-1174-8 (e-book)

A growing number of studies have begun to examine the influence of language-specific factors on language acquisition. During language acquisition, German children from six years on use structures that are similar to those of adults in their language group and also encode all semantic components from an early age. In striking contrast, French children up to ten years have difficulties producing some of the complex structures that are necessary for the simultaneous expression of several semantic components. Nonetheless, in addition to these striking cross-linguistic differences, the results of this study also clearly show similar developmental progressions in other respects, suggesting the impact of general developmental determinants.

More information:

Thesis Announcements

Author: Gisi Cannizzaro
Title: Early Word Order and Animacy
Institution: University of Groningen

Children seem to comprehend certain words and sentences before they are able to produce the same words and sentences themselves. But is this always the case? This dissertation investigates Dutch- and English- speaking 2- and 3-year-olds’ comprehension and production of word order. The dissertation reports on different tasks, some involving eye tracking. In these tasks, simple transitive sentences with animate or inanimate subjects and objects were tested, such as The car is pushing the cow or The cow is pushing the car.

Results show that young children are able to order the words in their own sentences correctly to convey meaning. However, they do not reliably understand the meaning conveyed by word order in sentences they hear. They tend to interpret sentences with a vehicle subject and an animate object incorrectly. They often assume that in a sentence like The car is pushing the cow, the cow is the one doing the pushing because it is animate (and the car is not).

Although adults understand sentences overwhelmingly based on word order, they are slower when interpreting sentences with vehicle subjects. It is concluded from these results that production of word order precedes comprehension when acquiring language.

Furthermore, animacy plays a systematic role in the comprehension of word order by both children and adults. The unusual developmental ordering found in this study challenges the traditional view that comprehension always precedes production in language acquisition. The observed asymmetry has implications for language acquisition research as well as for theories of grammar.

Author: Alex Ho-Cheong Leung
Title: Child L2 Phonology Acquisition under the Influence of Multiple Varieties
Institution: Newcastle University

Input variability is vividly present even in L1 acquisition contexts (Foulkes and Docherty 2006), let alone in an FL/ L2 context where learners are exposed to input in one form from fellow students, to a different variety from the local teacher, and possibly another variety from the institutional model which typically represents the "native-standard norm" (Cook 2008; Regan 2013). However, little is currently known about (second) language acquisition in relation to input multiplicity (cf. Siegel 2010). In fact, it is unclear how L2 acquisition models such as Speech Learning Model (Flege 1995) or Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993) cope with input comprising multiple varieties. Against this backdrop, this study set out to investigate the nature of child L2 phonology acquisition under the influence of multiple varieties and its interface with sociolinguistic factors in Hong Kong (HK).

The study looks at L2 English phonology acquisition by Hong Kong Cantonese children when various varieties are present. Specifically, it targets youngsters exposed to Filipino-accented English from live-in housekeepers in addition to the school and community input encompassing UK, US, and HK varieties. Results show that the 31 kindergarten 3rd graders aged 4;6 to 6, and the 29 1st year secondary students aged 11 to 14 who had received/were still receiving Filipino-accented English significantly outperformed 34 age-matched controls, who were not exposed to such input on a picture-choosing task and a sound discrimination AX3 task targeting Filipino English plosives /p, t, k/ and fricatives /f, v/ (plosive onsets are often unaspirated while /f ,v/ are sometimes rendered as [p, b] respectively in this variety (Tayao 2008)). These findings confirm predictions made by L2 speech acquisition theories in that the acquisition of L2 phonology is possible given a sufficient amount of exposure to the target input.

However, participants did not produce this variety in the production part of the experiment (a picture naming and a pair matching task) despite showing signs of perceptual knowledge. In addition, a separate instrument (verbal-guise technique) tapping into informants' attitude towards Filipino accented English reveals ambivalent attitudes towards this variety, making it challenging for one to resort to speech accommodation (Beebe and Giles 1984) or speech design models (Bell 1984; 2001) for an adequate explanation.

This study highlights the complexity involved when multiple varieties are present in the acquisition context, which is arguably the norm rather than the exception in this current age of unprecedented geographic, social, and occupational mobility (Chambers 2002). It also reminds us of the importance of scrutinizing from several perspectives the nature of input in L2 phonology (Moyer 2011; Piske and Young-Scholten 2009). Without a clear understanding of the diversity present in the input, it is difficult to make any solid claims about learners' phonological competence in a given target language. In addition, the seemingly conflicting results on the perceptual and production parts of the study underline how essential it is to analyse the acquisition outcome from several perspectives through task triangulation.

Author: Michèle Minor-Corriveau
Title: Standardization and Validation of a Speech and Language Screening Tool for Use among Franco-Ontarian Children (3 Years 10 Months to 4 Years 10 Months) (Thesis written in French)
Original Title in French: Étude normative sur le développement de la parole et du langage chez l'enfant franco-ontarien : normalisation et validation du Profil de la langue, du langage et de la parole (PLLP)
Institution: Laurentian University

This study investigated psychometric properties of a tool designed to screen for speech and language impairment (Profil de la langue, du langage et de la parole – Speech and Language Profile) in children aged 46 to 58 months who have entered the school system in junior kindergarten. Over 600 children were assessed using the PLLP and formed the standardized sample for this study. 72 children were included in the interrater reliability study. Of these 72 children, 24 were randomly selected to form the test-retest reliability study. Preliminary data on criterion – referenced validity (concurrent reliability) was obtained on a sample of 26 students. Information on construct validity is presented and demonstrates good internal consistency with regard to the PLLP. A two factor structure solution for the PLLP was reported, all the subtests centering around 2 factors: those pertaining to speech skills, and those pertaining to language skills. Interrater reliability exceeds 80% for 42 of 46 test items. Test-retest reliability was deemed perfectly correlated on 43 of 47 test items. Moderate to significant correlations were found between PLLP and the Leiter (Repeated Patterns), the ÉVIP (French equivalent to the PPVT), the Carrow-Woolfolk (French adaptation of the TACL-R) and the CELFCDN-F(Concepts et exécution de directives) in the criterion-referenced reliability. Reliability and validity were statistically demonstrated for the PLLP, through criterion – referenced (preliminary data), interrater and test-retest measures. Clinical implications of the use of the PLLP will be discussed.

Author: Esther Parigger
Title: Language and Executive Functioning in Children with ADHD
Institution: University of Amsterdam

Thesis downloadable at:

This study examines the language abilities of children with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and compares these abilities to those of children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing children. Executive functioning, an umbrella term for various higher order cognitive processes, and responsible for goal-directed behaviour, is also examined. Moreover, the study explores the possibility that executive dysfunctioning may be specifically linked to pragmatic language problems.

Results of this study showed that children with ADHD differed in pragmatic language production in comparison to typically developing children, and that they performed equally poor as children with SLI in this language domain. With respect to executive functioning, children with ADHD performed worse than both other groups on the measure for inhibition. However, no differences between the three groups were reported for the measures of working memory, planning, cognitive flexibility and non-verbal fluency. Significant correlations between executive functioning and pragmatic language were not found.

The study is of particular relevance to scholars who are interested in the interaction between language (grammar and pragmatics) and cognition (executive functioning).

Further Announcements

Update from Journal of Child Language

By Heike Behrens (Editor of Journal of Child Language), Edith Bavin (La Trobe University) & Melissa Good (Cambridge University Press)

On December 5, Cambridge University Press published the first issue of the 40th volume of the Journal of Child Language. We highlight this event with a Special Issue on language disorders edited by Edith Bavin and Letitita Naigles. Both have shaped the Journal as Editor and Associate Editor for many years, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to them for the hard work they put in. The Table of Contents for this Special Issue is below, and the Special Issue can be seen on Cambridge Journals Online here:

The Journal of Child Language was founded in 1974, with David Crystal as the first editor, to provide an outlet for the publications of an emerging field. We will celebrate 40 years of child language research with a reception at the IASCL meeting in Amsterdam (July 2014). More details to follow in the next newsletter.

Heike Behrens, Editor, Journal of Child Language

Journal of Child Language 40(1) January 2013
This is a special Issue on atypical development edited by Edith Bavin and Letitia Naigles. The 11 papers accepted for the special issue from a large number of submissions cover current research into a wide range of disorders (Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), specific language impairment (SLI), pre/perinatal brain injury) manifested by children learning a range of languages (English, British Sign Language, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Kuwaiti Arabic).

Naigles & Bavin. Introduction: special issue on atypical development

Kerkhoff, De Bree, Maartje, De Klerk & Wijnen. Non-adjacent dependency learning in infants at familial risk of dyslexia

Bedford, Gliga, Frame, Hudry, Chandler, Johnson & Charman. Failure to learn from feedback underlies word learning difficulties in toddlers at-risk for autism

Rescorla & Safyer. Lexical Development in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Özçalişkan, Levine & Goldin-Meadow. Gesturing with an injured brain: How gesture helps children with early brain injury learn linguistic constructions

Levy & Eilam. Pathways to Basic Grammar: A naturalistic study of children with Williams syndrome and children with Down syndrome

Abdalla , Aljenaie & Mahfoudhi. Plural noun inflection in Kuwaiti Arabic-speaking Children with and without language impairment

Ott & Höhle. Verb inflection in German-learning children with typical and atypical language acquisition: The impact of subsyllabic frequencies

Marshall, Rowley, Mason, Herman & Morgan. Lexical organisation in deaf children who use British sign language: evidence from a semantic fluency task

Mengoni, Nash & Hulme. The benefit of orthographic support for oral vocabulary learning in children with Down syndrome

Finestack, Sterling & Abbeduto. Discriminating Down syndrome and fragile x syndrome based on language ability

Skwerer, Ammerman & Tager-Flusberg. Do you have a question for me? How children with Williams syndrome respond to ambiguous referential communication during a joint activity

Call for Papers: International Journal of Bilingualism

Vicky Chondrogianni, Leonie Cornips & Nada Vasić (Guest Editors of International Journal of Bilingualism)

We would like to invite abstracts for the annual thematic issue of the International Journal of Bilingualism (IJB) to be published in March 2015. The topic of the proposed thematic issue is “Cross-linguistic aspects in child L2 acquisition” and intends to bring together contributions from researchers examining the acquisition of interface and syntax-only phenomena in child L2 learners from a cross-linguistic perspective and/or by using different methodologies (production, off-line/on-line comprehension).

Our thematic issue will seek to comprise articles investigating how target language (TL) properties influence child L2 acquisition, whether acquisition of different kinds of interface conditions influences transfer differently, how the acquisition pattern can be mediated by external factors such as age of onset (AoO), length of exposure (LoE) to the L2 and quality of input, and how transfer can interact with TL properties to give rise to different acquisition patterns cross-linguistically. Finally, by comparing different modalities such as production, off-line and on-line comprehension, we will address possible (a)symmetries between production and comprehension, and we will investigate the nature of the potential production problems in L2 children with different AoO and LoE.

Potential contributions could aim to address the following research questions:

  1. How do TL properties influence the acquisition of morpho-syntactic and semantic phenomena in L2 children cross-linguistically?
  2. Do internal (e.g. syntax-semantics) and external (e.g. syntax-discourse) interface conditions have different effects on language development?
  3. How does L1 transfer interact with TL properties in child L2 acquisition and with external factors such as LoE, AoO and quality of input?
  4. Do cross-linguistic differences in TL properties influence production, on-line and/or off-line comprehension of morpho-syntax and semantics in L2 children differentially?

If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please send us (Vicky Chondrogianni: , Leonie Cornips: , Nada Vasić: ) a 500-word abstract stating the research questions, methodology, results, implications for the field of L2 acquisition. Abstracts should include the title of the submission as well as the authors’ names and affiliations.

Please note that this is a competitive call and that the thematic issue cannot comprise more than six papers. Paper selection will follow a peer-review process, and therefore, eventual publication is not guaranteed for all manuscript submissions.

The deadline for abstract submissions is October 15, 2012. Other relevant deadlines are listed below:

November 9, 2012: Contributors notified by editors
May 31, 2013: Submission of first drafts/ papers sent out to reviewers
July 14, 2013: All first round reviews in / final decision on papers to be included in the special issue reached by editors / selected papers for second round of reviews, if necessary
September 14, 2013: Submission of second drafts
September 27, 2013: Second round of reviews in
October 10, 2013: Guest editors’ final decision and evaluation
January 24, 2014: Introduction due from guest editors
February 21, 2014: Final form-corrected copy reviewed by authors
March 28, 2014: Submission to Sage publications
April-June 2014: Proofs sent to authors and IJB staff

We look forward to receiving your contributions!

The New Language History Questionnaire (LHQ v. 2)

Ping Li, The Pennsylvania State University

I am pleased to let you know that we have revised the Language History Questionnaire (Li, Sepanski & Zhao, 2006) that many colleagues have used in the past. The new LHQ has much enhanced functionality on the web and can collect data in the cloud (and it works much better than googleforms). Data will be accumulatively saved as the participants fill in the online questionnaire (there will no longer be transcription errors with data collected this way). Privacy issues are considered by an investigator-based sign-up process and the participants will use randomly assigned numbers to complete the LHQ. Here is the website (, along with a description of how to use the LHQ.

Please let me know if you encounter any problems or if you have any comments and suggestions. We will continue to update the website so that it can suit the needs of your study.

More information:

Language history questionnaire (LHQ) is an important tool for assessing language learners' linguistic background, the context and habits of language use, proficiency in multiple languages, and the dominance and cultural identity of the languages acquired. Outcomes from such assessments have often been used to predict or correlate with learners' linguistic performance in cognitive and behavioral tests. Previously we identified the most commonly asked questions in published questionnaires and proposed a generic LHQ (Li, Sepanski, & Zhao, 2006). Taking advantage of the dynamic features of web-based interfaces, we have implemented a new cloud-based LHQ, in four different modules to suit different researchers' focuses and needs (history, usage, proficiency, and dominance). The new LHQ will allow investigators to dynamically produce their own LHQ on the fly, and allow participants to complete the LHQ online through individualized URLs. The results are saved in a spreadsheet for all participants who have completed the LHQ. The investigators can view, download, sort, and delete the LHQ results on the web. Privacy issues are handled through online assignments of ID numbers for experiments and recording of data with only participant numbers. The new LHQ is estimated to save an average of 40-50 hours per experiment while eliminating coding errors from manually transcribing LHQ results.

The new online LHQ is easy to use. Simply follow the three steps below.

Step 1:

The investigator or experimenter completes the sign-up process (click on Sign-Up below under LHQ Functions), and receives a unique Experiment ID and a unique URL associated with his or her experiment.

Step 2:

The participant completes the LHQ online through the unique URL, and data (with only participant numbers) are automatically saved. The LHQ is self-explanatory, and there are often pull-down menus for the participant to use.

Step 3:

The investigator or experimenter accesses the data through the unique Experiment ID (from Step 1). He or she then deletes the data so that no data are stored in the cloud after LHQ results are obtained.

Please cite the reference "Li, P., Sepanski, S., & Zhao, X. (2006). Language history questionnaires: A web-based interface for bilingual research. Behavior Research Methods, 38, 202-210." in any publications that report data based on the LHQ. A future reference to the new LHQ may be published and updated.

If you have any questions or need further information on the questionnaire or the use of it, please contact or . We welcome feedback, comments, and suggestions.


By Brian MacWhinney, Carnegie Mellon University

In the context of the AphasiaBank project, we have developed a system for automatic profiling from language transcripts called EVAL. The predecessors of this system were the CLAN programs of MORTABLE which dumps out counts of all grammatical morphemes from the %mor line to rows in an Excel spreadsheet and MEASURES which does the same for additional things like MLU, TTR, pauses, retraces and so on. MORTABLE and MEASURES are designed primarily for researchers who are conducting cross-sectional studies to speed up and synchronize their work. In these programs, the basic idea is that rows in the Excel spreadsheet are participants and columns are measures. Computation of the various measures depends on accurate use of CHAT transcription and then running of the MOR program to create a %mor line. All recent work in AphasiaBank and the majority of the corpora now in CHILDES have these features.

The next step has involved configuring this system into something more relevant to clinicians. In that case, the idea was to focus not on output for groups, but for individual participants. Here, what is particularly interesting is the ability to compare the participant with some reference group, perhaps normal controls or perhaps other people with Broca's aphasia. For AphasiaBank, this is easy, because the whole project was designed to collect data in this format. This system is called EVAL and it is now operational. However, it is primarily conceived of as a method for studying people with aphasia.

This use of reference databases can also be extended to child language, much as is done now in the SALT framework. We are now working with Nan Bernstein Ratner to modify the MEASURES program for use with child language transcripts. The new program would be called KidEval. Here, we envision a combined usage, both with individual children and with groups. In addition to the columns currently in MEASURES, we hope to add DSS, VOCD, IPSyn, and counts of the 14 morphemes of Brown (1973). A big challenge here will be the addition of reference data sets. In child language, there are so many possible reference sets, varying by age, language, bilingual status, topic, method of elicitation, and so on. My sense is that we want to make available all possible reference datasets and allow the user to select the ones that best match the current child or group of children. So, this will be a big project.

This same method could also possibly be extended to the PHON program that Yvan Rose and Greg Hedlund have built. Again, either individual children or groups of children would be compared against some standard set of control or norm data for phonological development.

We would love to receive suggestions regarding this project, including ideas about reference databases and additional automatic measures, either posted to the info-childes list or sent directly to me, Nan, or Yvan, depending on the focus.

Multilingual Children's Speech Website Launch

Sharynne McLeod, Charles Sturt University

The Multilingual Children's Speech website was launched on 14 November 2012:

The purpose of this website is to present a compilation of resources for speech-language pathologists who are working with multilingual children with speech sound disorders and to partially address the following question:

How do we "close the gap between the linguistic homogeneity of the profession and the linguistic diversity of its clientele"? (Caesar & Kohler, 2007, p. 198)

The website contains the following information:

Some of the content on this website also may be useful for others who support monolingual and multilingual children's speech skills including educators, interpreters, other health and education professionals, families, and communities.

Funding for this website has been made available from the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT0990588) and I appreciate the support from colleagues from Charles Sturt University, as well as speech-language pathologists, phoneticians, linguists and others around the world have contributed to the development of this website. Specific contributions are acknowledged throughout the website; however, the generosity of others within the wider international community is acknowledged.

Please use this website to make a difference in children's lives. Please share this information with your colleagues.

Caesar, L. G., & Kohler, P. D. (2007). The state of school-based bilingual assessment: Actual practice versus recommended guidelines. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 38(3), 190-200.

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

IASCL Donation Drive

The IASCL is a worldwide organization, which means that it aims to serve child language researchers in all countries of the world. Child language research is important everywhere, both from a theoretical perspective (cf. for instance the significance of cross-linguistic evidence) and from a more applied point of view (cf. for instance the need for good description to allow for the assessment of language learning problems). Unfortunately financial considerations are often a hindrance to the development of scientific disciplines in countries with severe economic problems. The IASCL has always been supportive of would-be IASCL members working in such countries by waiving membership fees for them.

IASCL funds are limited, though. In the past, donations from regular IASCL members have been very helpful in supporting colleagues from economically disadvantaged countries. In order to continue offering that support, your donations are very welcome indeed.

To make a donation, please make your payment via Paypal, using the appropriate button at Once you reach the 'Thank you for your payment' page on the Paypal site, you will be offered the option of printing a receipt (useful perhaps for tax purposes). If you experience any difficulties making your payment, please contact the Treasurer.

The IASCL as a whole will be sure to benefit from the more diversified nature of its membership as a result of your donations. Many thanks in advance!

Anna Theakston, IASCL Treasurer


If you attended the IASCL conference in Montreal 2011, you will remain a member of IASCL until the first day of the 2014 congress. If, however, you did not attend the last conference, and have not since renewed your membership, you can do so now. Current membership fees are £55 for regular members and £30 for students. Members are eligible for a substantial discount for volumes 1-6 of TiLAR, and for a reduced subscription fee to the following journals: the Journal of Child Language, First Language, and the International Journal of Bilingualism. Your fees will contribute to the organization of the upcoming Congress and they will be especially valuable in the provision of student travel bursaries.


Membership (£55 for regular members; or £30 for students*) is for three years, and expires on the first day of the next triennial Congress, to be held in the summer of 2014 in Amsterdam. Members in countries with nonconvertible currencies or currency transfer restrictions or other economic difficulties should request a waiver of the membership fee. Additional contributions/donations for the support of colleagues and program in countries with currency and/or economic difficulties are welcomed.

To join IASCL, to renew your membership, or to make a donation please make your payment via Paypal, using the appropriate button at Once you reach the 'Thank you for your payment' page on the Paypal site, you will be offered the option of printing a receipt. From the 'Thank you' page, you should also use the button on that page to return to IASCL, where you can complete your full membership details. If you experience any difficulties making your payment or completing your registration details, please contact the Treasurer.

*Students are asked to send proof of their status to the treasurer of IASCL at the address below, or by scanning and emailing proof of status to the Treasurer. Proof of student status: a letter on headed paper signed by authorised personnel from the Faculty, or a copy of a currently valid dated and signed student registration card or equivalent.

Dr Anna Theakston
IASCL Treasurer
Coupland Building 1
School of Psychological Sciences
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL