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IASCL - Child Language Bulletin - Vol 33, No 1: August 2013
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Information about the 13th International Congress for the Study of Child Language (IASCL 2014)

Anne Baker, Steven Gillis, Jan de Jong, Frank Wijnen (Conference Organizers)

You may already know that the venue for the IASCL meeting in 2014 will be Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The location for the conference is the University of Amsterdam, located in the historical city centre. Conference Dates are 14-18 July 2014. Essential information available at this time can be found at This site will be updated on a regular basis.

The most important news now is that abstracts for symposia and posters can be submitted ( The final submission date for both is September 15th, 2013. Information on the acceptance of your submission will be sent to you by December 15th. As from that date you can also register for the conference. Early registration is € 400 and € 250 for student delegates. This includes your IASCL membership.

An 'empty' scientific program is now available: you can check the length of the symposia and the time slots for symposia and poster presentations here:

On Monday, July 14th, there will be pre-conference tutorials. Information on the contents of the tutorials will be announced soon. We will also supply information on how to register for them.

Finally, we are glad to announce our invited speakers. They are: Elma Blom, Morten Christiansen, Aylin Küntay, Bruce McCandliss and Ann Senghas.

If you need further information about IASCL 2014, contact

We look forward to meeting you in Amsterdam next year!

Call for the Nomination of IASCL Officers

Virginia Mueller Gathercole, Chair of the IASCL Nominating Committee

Dear Members,

I am writing to you as the Chair of the Nominating and Appointing Committee of the International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL). The other two Nominating and Appointing Committee members are Erika Hoff and Ayhan Aksu-Koc.

According to the STATUTES of our Association (see the relevant details at the end of this message and the IASCL website for a full description), the purpose of this message is to invite members of the IASCL to send in nominations for IASCL Officers.

The Association has five officers*, filled as follows :

President** Eve Clark,
Vice-President Dorit Ravid,
Secretary Ludovica Serratrice,
Assistant Secretary Brian MacWhinney,
Treasurer Anna Theakston,

The position of Assistant Secretary will be held indefinitely by Brian MacWhinney, given his pivotal role in IASCL.

Other current officers can all be re-nominated for another term (the positions of Secretary and Treasurer have been held for 3 terms by the current officers, but the statutes of the Association do not preclude their holding another term). It is customary, however, to make new appointments for the roles of President and Vice-President.

The new positions will be tenable for three years (2014-2017), to be effective as of the next meeting of the IASCL.


Nominations should be put forward in writing (or electronic equivalent, e.g. email), as follows:

Nomination details should include

Nominations for these positions should reach me at: by October 31, 2013. The NAC can add further nominees, and the appointment for these positions is then determined by the NAC in conjunction with the present officers.

Looking forward to hearing from you, we send you our very best wishes.

Nominating Committee members: Erika Hoff, Ayhan Aksu-Koc, and Ginny Mueller Gathercole (Chair)

(Call for Nominations for Members of the Executive Committee will follow at a later date.)

* Anyone who wishes to have more details about the functions attached to these positions may contact the current officers.

** For your convenience, here is the list of 11 out of the 12 people who have held the position of President of IASCL from the 1st up to the 13th Congress (listed in alphabetical order):

Relevant Details of STATUTES

The Nominating and Appointing Committee shall be appointed by the President no later than six months before a congress. It shall consist of three members, none of whom is currently an officer of the Association. First, the Committee will request nominations from the membership for the officers' positions. These nominations will have to have been approved by the nominees themselves. The Nominating and Appointing Committee may make additional nominations directly. Second, the appointment of the officers will be ratified at the Business Meeting of the Association. In making their selection the members of the Committee will take into consideration the credentials of the nominees and the logistics of the organization of the next congress. The Nominating and Appointing Committee will appoint new officers in consultation with the Executive Committee.

The Nominating and Appointing Committee shall also submit a slate of nominees for the open positions on the Executive Committee. The slate will be based on suggested nominations from the membership, together with additional nominations from the Committee. The slate will preferably include twice as many nominees as there are open positions. Members shall cast as many votes as there are open positions on the Executive Committee. Nominees receiving the highest votes will be elected, subject to the requirement that no more than 3 members of the Executive Committee shall be from the same country. Balloting will take place no later than two months before the next congress when all appointments and elected member positions will be ratified at the Business Meeting. The President may upon consultation with members of the Executive Committee fill vacancies on committees. Such appointments shall stand until the next congress.

Report: The 2nd Workshop on the Development of Prosody and Intonation

Sonia Frota, Laboratório de Fonética & Lisbon Baby Lab, University of Lisbon

The 2nd Workshop on the Development of Prosody and Intonation was held at the University of Lisbon on June 27, 2013, as the final symposium of the Project Development of Prosodic Structure and Intonation (PTDC/CLE-LIN/108722/2008 -, sponsored by the Portuguese Research Foundation (FCT). This project sought to advance research on the acquisition of prosody by addressing three main research topics: development of prosodic structure at the word and phrase levels, development of the intonational system, and early perception of prosody. The presentations at the workshop focused on infant's perception of intonation, on Proso-Quest - a parental report developed to assess infant's prosodic skills, on the adaptation to Portuguese of the MacArthur Bates CDI Short Forms (Infant and toddler forms) and the correlation between lexical development and prosodic development, and on early intonational development across languages. The workshop was a satellite event of the Conference Phonetics and Phonology in Iberia (PaPI 2013) and all participants of PaPI 2013 were cordially invited to attend the talks and participate in the discussions.



Report: The IVth CLASTA Conference

Maria Chiara Levorato, President of CLASTA

The IVth edition of the CLASTA (Communication and Language Acquisition Studies in Typical and Atypical populations) Conference, organized jointly by psychologists, linguists, clinicians and speech therapists, took place in Milan, Italy, on 10-11 May 2013. The program included a Keynote speech: "Communication and language in infancy" by Virginia Volterra (ISTC-CNR, Rome); two invited lectures: "Lexical development in spanish children with Down syndrome" by Miguel Galeote (University of Malaga) and "Linguistic and neural characteristics of children with language disabilities" by Andrea Marini (University of Udine) and four Symposia: "Typical and atypical language profiles in the first years of life", "Development of narrative competence", "Morpho-syntactic and lexical development in the written and oral modalities", and "Intervention in language disorders".

The language of the conference was Italian. More than 50 participants from different Italian regions attended the meeting. The conference focused on theoretical issues and applied research in both typical and atypical aspects of language and communication development. During the conference (as well in the website) information about the IASCL forthcoming conference was distributed.

The aims of the CLASTA Association are to promote and disseminate knowledge in psychology and developmental psychopathology of language and communication; to promote the relationship between empirical research and clinical practice by contributing to the spread of information, scientific and technical knowledge among those working in this field for research, training of operators, operating practices and to promote training of students, young researchers, and therapists and other professionals by setting up seminars, workshops, training courses, master's, ensuring a high profile of scientific expertise.

The Vth edition of the CLASTA Conference will be in Bologna in May 2014. People interested in the Association can visit the website: and contact M. Chiara Levorato (

Report: Krakow, Final Meeting of COST Action IS0804 "Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society: Linguistic Patterns and the Road to Assessment" (BI-SLI, Bilingual SLI, for short)

May 27-29, 2013, Jagellonian University

Barbara Zurer Pearson, University of Massachusetts Amherst, keynote speaker and attendee

If you have not been following the activities of the European Union COST Action 0804, led by Sharon Armon-Lotem of Bar-Ilan University and Jan de Jong, of the University of Amsterdam, vice chair, then you will be amazed, as I was, at the tremendous progress of the project in the four years of its funding. There is a veritable army of bilingualism researchers and clinicians from Finland to South Africa, and 30+ countries in-between who have been working on the problem of diagnosing language delay among multilingual children. How does one tell the difference between language delay based on insufficient input in one or both of two languages being learned--versus language delay based on learning or processing limitations? I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming that these are among the foundational ideas for the project:

  1. Bilinguals need to be tested in both languages.
  2. Information on the bilinguals' language history is an integral part of the assessment process.
  3. Materials for testing bilinguals need to seek equivalence (not translation) across language pairs, and across multiple language pairs when possible, and
  4. Norms for bilinguals need to be created from observations of bilinguals in diverse circumstances using assessments that take language-specific and language-general processes into account.

A fifth premise is that this is a thorny problem, but it is not impossible. Indeed, they have shown that it is not.

Krakow, was a still-frame in an on-going movie still very much in progress. Fortunately, the group is committed to both writing up what they have learned so far and making the tools and findings freely available through a website and other venues, and also continuing on the path they have forged. The teams are a mix of experienced and early-stage researchers, who also called on non-EU consultants as needed. If the organizers can capture their findings and recommendations in a book and website, which they have already made good progress toward doing, it will create a worthwhile summary of their approach and a platform for further research and development.

The formal title of Action 0804 was "Language Impairment in Multilingual Societies: Linguistic Patterns and the Road to Assessment". The proposed title of a book and companion website in progress, "Methods for Assessing Multilingual Children: Disentangling Bilingualism from Language Impairment", tells us that the road to assessment brought them to their destination. A series of actual testing materials are being made available under the acronym LITMUS: Language Impairment Testing in Multilingual Settings.

The vast linguistic and non-linguistic territory covered by the action—from relevant aspects of theoretical linguistics to practical concerns of clinicians—was divided first into working groups devoted to the classical language domains: syntax and its interfaces with morphosyntax and semantics, lexicon, phonology, pragmatics (narrative), and non-linguistic measures like executive function. A separate group worked on a parent bilingual questionnaire, the PABIQ, to ensure that relevant background information on risk factors and exposure and use of each language is collected for each child. Two other committees were established to insure clinical relevance and disseminate the work.

The working groups began with a survey of extant techniques and candidate targets of investigation. It is well-known that languages have unique "vulnerabilities," areas most likely to signal deficit. So, if tense morphology may be a vulnerability in English, it is likely not to be impaired in a Romance language where morphology receives more focus and is learned earlier. In those languages, pronoun clitics have been identified as vulnerable; in Slavic languages, aspect particles, etc.

The mission of each working group was to consider language-specific and language-general targets for a range of languages, and create a general framework of common strategies that could be adopted for specific languages and language pairs. In the process, they created inventories of linguistic commonalities and differences across a wide range of languages. Finally, the working groups also tackled the immensely complicated task of determining for each domain when concern about a child's development is warranted—at different levels of cumulative exposure and in diverse socio-linguistic circumstances—through piloting and piloting and more piloting. At the meeting in Krakow, studies describing the tools and reporting results made up the bulk of the two full days of presentations and posters. The second afternoon also featured a discussion and panel with Polish practitioners who made up a large part of the audience in Days 1 and 2. Day 3 was back-to-back meetings of the working groups to take stock of where each group was, and where they were planning to go.

Just imagine:

But I do not want to give away everything from the upcoming books and articles that will be produced by the teams and their collaborators. Check out the website (

Clearly, there are other approaches and structures not tackled by the project, and much work remains to be done. But the work of this group already represents a beacon of effective practices, and the promise of much more. I was present at the final meeting when the combined working groups were addressed by Prof. Jacques Dubucs, a scientific rapporteur from EU COST in Belgium. He was only half joking when he said, "You all agreed with each other too much. Couldn't you stir up some more controversy? Surely, you must have shut out some dissenting voices. You made it look too easy."

As anyone who has worked a little or a lot in this field can attest, what COST Action IS0804 has achieved is anything but easy.


Working Group (WG) leaders:

WG 1 "Syntax and interfaces with Morphology and Semantics" WG 2 "Narrative and Discourse" WG 3 "Lexical and Phonological Processing" WG 4 "Executive Functions" PARENTAL QUESTIONNAIRES ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE DISSEMINATION COMMITTEE CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR

Note: The visit to Krakow was exciting for me in yet another dimension. The translation of my book for parents Raising a Bilingual Child into Polish by Zofia Wodniecka and Karol Chlipalski will be published in fall 2013 by Media Rodzina of Poznan. The Polish version joins the Spanish translation from Bilingual Readers, which appeared in 2010, and has inspired the Chinese translation currently underway by Sun Siyang from Changchun City in NE China and now at Sheffield University. (That one is still looking for a publisher.)

New Developments in CHILDES

Brian MacWhinney, Carnegie Mellon University

Over the last year, the CHILDES Project has been busy extending the database and programs in several ways. Here, we provide a report on these new developments.

1. Workshops

We are conducting a two-day training workshop at CMU August 12-13. Unfortunately, we can only handle a maximum of 15 people in such workshops, because we want to provide a high level of individual instruction. As a result, the workshop was quickly oversubscribed. Hopefully, we can run another such workshop in the near future for those who we could not include in August. We will also be conducting workshops for both CLAN and PHON at the upcoming IASCL meetings in Amsterdam next summer during a special pre-conference workshop day.

2. Competing Continuation of CHILDES Grant

In November, we will submit a proposal to NICHD for a 5-year grant to continue work on the CHILDES Project. We will be asking CHILDES members to provide us with support letters describing the ways in which they have used the database and listing any publications or presentations that make use of the data or programs. These letters can be submitted electronically, but it usually looks nicer if they use university logos etc.

3. Profiling with KIDEVAL

Child language researchers and language clinicians are often interested in developing measures that can assess the relative standing of a child to some comparison group across a range of production skills. Widely used profiling systems for grammatical analysis include LARSP, DSS, IPSyn, SALT, and CP. For phonological analysis, researchers have relied on LIPP and PEPPER. Earlier, these systems required paper-and-pencil scoring of handwritten or typed transcripts. Later scores were entered into computer files, but the actual scoring was still not automatic. Over the last few years, the CHILDES project has developed methods for the automatic computation of many of these profiling systems. In particular, CLAN now provides automatic computation of DSS, IPSYN, and segments of CP. Also, the PHON program automates computation of many of the scores computed by LIPP and PEPPER.

Automatic computation of DSS and IPSyn relies on the presence of part-of-speech and morphological analysis on the %mor line. Given a transcript in good CHAT format, this line can be automatically created by running the MOR and POST programs. In addition to information on the %mor line, IPSyn requires information on the %gra line which can be computed automatically by running the GRASP program. The current version of IPSyn has not yet implemented use of the %gra line to compute sentence structure (S1-S14) scores.

It is now possible to automatically create combinations of profiles along with additional measures using the KIDEVAL program. Given a set of transcripts with %mor lines, KIDEVAL will compute these indices:

  1. Total Utts: total utterances
  2. MLU Utts: number of utterances used for the MLU computation
  3. MLU Words: MLU in words
  4. MLU Morphemes: MLU in morphemes
  5. MLU 100 Utts: MLU of the first 100 child utterances in morphemes
  6. MLU 100 Words: MLU of the first 100 child utterances in words
  7. MLU 100 Morphemes: MLU of the first 100 child utterances in morphemes
  8. Types: total word types, as used for FREQ
  9. Tokens: total word tokens, as used for FREQ
  10. TTR: type/token ratio
  11. Clause/Utt: clauses per utterance, based on [c] clause demarcation
  12. Dur Words: total number of words for each speaker, as used for the TIMEDUR analysis
  13. Dur Utts: total number of utterances for each speaker, as used for the TIMEDUR analysis
  14. Dur Time (seconds): total duration of utterances for each speaker, as used for the TIMEDUR analysis
  15. Words/Time: words per second
  16. Utts/Time: utterances per second
  17. Word Errors: number of words involved in errors
  18. Utt Errors: number of utterances involved in errors
  19. Retracing [//]: number of retracings
  20. Repetition [/]: number of repetitions
  21. DSS score
  22. VOCD score
  23. Frequency of each of Brown's 14 grammatical morphemes, listed separately

Currently, IPSyn is computed separately, but we will eventually include it in KIDEVAL. We are also developing methods for automatic computation of QPA and possible forms of propositional analysis.

4. Refining and Validating Profiling Systems

The construction of profiling systems such as DSS, SALT, IPSyn, LARSP, and Brown's 14 morphemes depended in large part on linguistic analysis. Judgments about how to assign points for given linguistic structures were based on structural analysis and intuitions regarding child language development. However, the psychometric validity of individual items has never been subjected to empirical tests. The availability of the large collection of production data in CHILDES opens up new possibilities for examining the psychometrics of individual items in these profiles. Consider the way in which the second point is assigned on the Q7 scale for IPSyn. Utterances with a negated auxiliary such as it doesn't work will qualify for both the first and second point in this field. However, utterances with the auxiliaries can't and don't can only be used for the second point, unless the transcript already has two points scored on Q6 (wh- question with inverted modal or auxiliary). The question here is whether this complex method for assigning Q7 points actually leads to a better profiling of language transcripts. To test this, we can modify the rules that determine the computation of the Q7 point and run the traditional and modified version across a large number of transcripts. If the traditional method produces significantly better ordering of transcripts to developmental age, then there is good justification for this more complex method of point assignment.

This method can also be used to test for the possible inclusion of new items in these scales. For example, it could be the case that acquisition of the ability to include an adjective in a noun phrase is an important step, but that the formation of a series of two adjectives in a noun phrase is not. Alternatively, the production of a series of two adjectives may reflect important advances in syntactic ability that are linked to developmental age or possible other predictors.

In order to run these item-based tests of measures such as IPSyn, we have constructed the program to depend on a set of user-modifiable rules. We will also identify a large set of transcripts in the CHILDES database for automatic computation of these item analyses. Finally, we will configure a set of R scripts that will take the output of these analyses and test for ways in which changes to the rules lead to increases or decreases in prediction.

5. KIDEVAL for other Languages

Most of KIDEVAL can work crosslinguistically without modification. However, computation of scores for DSS or IPSyn require language-specific analyses. This is possible, because both of these measures rely on user-modifiable configuration files. For example, Miyata et al. (in press) have created and tested Japanese version of DSS that relies on these facilities.

6. Aligning Profiles with Norms

The publications describing DSS, IPSyn, and SALT also present data from comparison groups of varying sizes. Given the various factors that can influence performance on these profile measures, such as SES, sex, IQ, birth order, and dialect, it is not entirely clear how many children are needed in these groups and how they should be selected. However, having larger and larger quantities of comparison transcripts will make such comparisons increasingly reliable.

7. New Corpora

Over the last 16 months, we have added many new corpora to the database. We have also devoted attention to improvements in existing corpora. Here are the new corpora:

  1. Pi-Hsia Hung's corpus from bilingual (Mandarin-English) children in Paris
  2. Johanne Paradis' corpus of Spanish-English bilinguals in Alberta
  3. Four huge "dense" database corpora (Lara, Thomas, Brian in English and Leo in German) from the Leipzig MPI
  4. Susan Braunwald's longitudinal diary and recording study of her daughter
  5. Emma Ticio's corpus from Spanish-English bilingual boy in Houston
  6. Aparna Nadig's corpus of ASD and control children in English and French
  7. Nadége Foudon's corpus of French ASD children
  8. Jane Tsay's Taiwanese corpus
  9. The Sprott corpus of preschool peer group interactions
  10. Roberto Soto's Basque corpus
  11. Habibeh Samadi's Farsi corpus
  12. Silvia Nieva's case study in Spanish with linked video
  13. Igor Zagar's Slovenian corpus from classroom interactions
  14. Darinka Andelkovic's Serbian corpus
  15. A Hebrew-English corpus from Jeannette Schaeffer and Aviya Hacohen
  16. Natalia Gagarina's corpus of Russian children learning German
  17. The UCSD SLI corpus from Paula Tallal, Susan Curtis, and Aviya Hacohen

We have also worked to improve several existing corpora:

  1. For the German Leo corpus, we have converted the existing orthography to standard German orthography with umlauts
  2. We have linked and tagged the Weist English corpus
  3. We have linked the Sawyer preschool corpus to the corresponding audio
  4. We have reworked, and retranscribed the Nelson Emma corpus and linked it to the audio
  5. We have added audio to the Croatian corpus
  6. We are working to include the Packer preschooler video corpus

8. PhonBank corpora and PHON development

Yvan Rose is including a separate report on progress in corpus development for PhonBank and the PHON program. We have now integrated the CHAT versions of PhonBank corpora into the overall CHILDES database, although the PHON versions are in a separate PhonBank-Phon directory.

9. Derivative Corpora

Based in part on research stimulated through the special issue of JCL devoted to computational analysis of CHILDES data, we have now received seven "derivative" corpora that are being used by computer scientists to evaluate methods for automatic language learning from realistic input (both lexical and phonological).

PhonBank and Phon Development: New Corpora and Tools for Analysis

Yvan Rose & Gregory Hedlund, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Brian MacWhinney, Carnegie Mellon University

In the lines below, we summarize the work accomplished within PhonBank over the last year, focusing on the two main aspects of the project, namely the PhonBank database and the related development of Phon.

1. PhonBank database

Earlier this spring, we introduced five new corpora, including the very first corpus documenting the development of an Aboriginal language, as follows:

Since then, we have engaged in the formatting of additional corpora, which we will release as soon as they are fully compatible with both the Phon and CHAT formats, the latter utilized for annotations within CLAN. In the works at this stage are:

Note that much of this work involves addressing basic but central compliance issues with our data formats (in both Phon and CLAN). While many of these adjustments are necessary given the pioneer nature of our work, we strongly encourage our data contributors to adhere to our formats to the extent possible, in order to avoid lengthy delays between the contribution of your corpora and their online publication. Utilities are provided within both CLAN and Phon in order to assist you in this regard. For example, CLAN incorporates the CHECK program. You can confirm the full compliance of your data format by converting them from CLAN to Phon and vice-versa, via Chatter:

2. Phon software program

Given the tight integration between corpus data and tools for the analysis of these data, many aspects of the work above also require modifications to the set of annotations and formats supported within the CHILDES/PhonBank architecture. This includes the addition of phonetic characters, the optimization of syllabification algorithms as well as the development of new data search methods enabling the study of particular aspects of the corpora. It is in this context that we are continuing the development of Phon. Last fall, we released version 1.6 of the application. We have now released a 4th (and potentially last!) beta of the 1.6.2 maintenance release, with official release planned for late summer.

Among other highlights, version 1.6.2 incorporates:

In case you would like to take advantage of our advanced beta:

Also, in order to facilitate your discovery of the most central functions of Phon, we also created a series of online tutorials, which you can access through:

Version 1.6.2 of the application is also among the last before we turn our focus to Phon 2.0, the central feature of which will be an integration with the Praat program for acoustic analysis. While we have publicized this vision for a number of years, we could not turn fully toward it until now; we first needed to elaborate on Phon-specific software structure, which provides the necessary basis for expansion. Version 1.6 now integrates the relevant components. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting development.

It has been a pleasure to work with several members of the community all through this last year on many of the projects described above. We look forward to continue working with you toward more shared corpora and more functions leading to the Meeting of the IASCL in Amsterdam next year.

Discussion Group

Phon users are strongly encouraged to subscribe to the discussion group (note that the subscription does not require a Gmail account):

speechBITE: Answering the Need for Better Access to Evidence

Leanne Togher, Kate Smith, Melissa Brunner, Emma Power, Tricia McCabe, Natalie Munro and Elizabeth Murray
Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Australia

Have you been looking for treatment research but don't know where to start? Most speech language pathologists (SLPs) don't have time to spend hours searching different databases to find published research. Evaluating the scientific quality of research can be another hurdle for clinicians who are looking for the best evidence to improve client outcomes.

The good news is that SLPs now have access to a free, online database designed specifically to address their needs – speechBITE ( The speechBITE database provides access and appraisal of intervention research in SLP and is used by clinicians and students in more than 120 countries. Have you used speechBITE yet?

Features of speechBITE

Figure 1. Features of speechBITE

What is speechBITE?

speechBITE (the Speech Pathology Database for Best Interventions and Treatment Efficacy) is an internet database designed to assist SLPs with evidence-based clinical decision making. It is a searchable catalogue of peer-reviewed published treatment research for the entire scope of SLP practice. speechBITE provides the citations and, where possible, the abstracts for these references. speechBITE is rapidly becoming a key evidence-based practice resource for SLPs worldwide. Since launching in 2008, the number of searches on speechBITE has increased by 200%.

How is speechBITE different to other databases such as MEDline?

speechBITE is different because our staff search 8 databases (e.g. MEDline, PsycINFO, CINAHL) EVERY MONTH and then ONLY upload speech pathology treatment research papers with empirical data. So, our information is constantly updated. It is also different because when you do a search, the results are displayed with the highest levels of evidence listed first (systematic reviews first, then randomized controlled trials (RCTs), then non RCTs, then case series, then single subject designs) AND almost all group comparison studies on speechBITE (RCTs and non RCTs) have been rated using the PEDro-P scale.

No. of papers listed on speechBITE

Figure 2. Number of papers according to research design listed on speechBITE July 2013

speechBITE staff screen all references to ensure they meet the following criteria: they must be published in a peer-reviewed journal, include an intervention relevant to SLP therapy practice, include participants with (or at risk of) a communication and/or swallowing disorder and provide empirical data on treatment efficacy. Currently speechBITE has more than 3800 references across all levels of evidence. The database is growing as new references are added regularly.

Why should I use speechBITE?

speechBITE addresses two common complaints from clinicians about using evidence-based practice. The first problem is the sheer amount of published research which requires substantial amounts of time to search and then critically appraise research articles. Thus, the first benefit of speechBITE is that we have done the searching in advance and found the best evidence, so that SLPs can find the answer to a clinical question in less than 3 minutes.

The second complaint is that SLPs report not having the skills to critically evaluate published research studies. They might be able to identify that it is a randomised controlled trial but is it a well designed one? So, the second key benefit of speechBITE is that our staff rate the methodological quality of randomised controlled trials which means clinicians can search our database and easily find the best levels of evidence to support their practice. This helps in the search to find the best treatment evidence for your client, and therefore provide up to date therapy.

No. of papers listed on speechBITE

Figure 3

How do I search speechBITE?

Searching speechBITE is simple and fast. Go to the SEARCH page and enter a Keyword, Author or Journal to locate an intervention study in your area of interest. Or you can make a selection from the drop-down menus to locate research according to the following areas:

Click the ADD button to save the results you want to keep. Then you can EMAIL or PRINT the results.

Methodological Ratings

Almost all group comparison treatment studies on speechBITE have a methodological rating which helps clinicians and students identify the scientific quality of the research studies. Randomised and non-randomised controlled trials (RCTs and Non-RCTs) are scored out of 10 using the PEDro-P scale. The PEDro-P scale is derived from the PEDro scale which has been shown to be reliable in physiotherapy [1]. At present, ratings for over 1000 RCTs and Non-RCTs are available on speechBITE.

speechBITE is also about to begin rating the methodological quality of single case experimental designs (SCEDs) using the newly revised 30-point RoBiN-T scale [2,3].

Ratings on both the PEDro-P scale and RoBiN-T scale are completed by at least two trained and independent SLPs. These ratings tell us the "believability" (validity) of studies and are designed to give you an idea of the scientific rigour used in the study to help you quickly identify the highest quality studies. At present the average PEDro-P rating on speechBITE is 4/10 and a score of 6+ is considered to have robust methodological quality. speechBITE recently published an article in the International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders showing good to excellent reliability of PEDro-P ratings undertaken by raters on the speechBITE database [4]. The journal article can be found here:

Online Rating Training Program

Do you want to learn how to critically appraise research articles? speechBITE has a free online training program for learning how to apply the PEDro-P rating scale to treatment research. We encourage clinicians, researchers or students to do this training and learn how to rate the methodological quality of RCTs and Non-RCTs. You can also assess your knowledge about rating papers at the end of the program. Key features of the training program include: a step-by-step interactive guide to understanding and applying the scale to research; key definitions for each of the 11 PEDro-P scale criteria; practical examples provided for each criterion; and a short interactive test using real research articles.

Who's using speechBITE?

speechBITE is used daily by SLPs throughout Australia. We are also receiving searches from over 120 countries and in 2012 we had over one million hits. Social media is also used by speechBITE to provide updates regarding the database, recently published articles, evidence based information and scientific snippets. You can follow us on Twitter @speechBITE and ‘Like us' on Facebook.

Who is responsible for speechBITE?

speechBITE is an evidence-based practice initiative between Speech Pathology Australia and The University of Sydney under the leadership of Professor Leanne Togher. speechBITE gratefully acknowledges funding support from Speech Pathology Australia (SPA), the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT), the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Guild Insurance, the National Relay Service, the Motor Accidents Authority (MAA) of NSW, and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) of QLD.

Future directions

We are excited to announce that speechBITE will soon launch a new-look website featuring a new design, layout and information as well as upgraded search functions to make it even easier to find what you're looking for. We will be adding new sources of evidence including Clinical Practice Guidelines. So, keep an eye out for our redesigned website, as we will be launching it at the ASHA 2013 Convention in Chicago in November.

Visit the website at, follow us on Twitter at or on Facebook at For more information contact the speechBITE Project Manager Kate Smith at

The speechBITE team

Professor Leanne Togher, speechBITE Project Leader, The University of Sydney, Australia
Dr Emma Power, The University of Sydney, Australia
Dr Tricia McCabe, The University of Sydney, Australia
Dr Natalie Munro, The University of Sydney, Australia
Elizabeth Murray, The University of Sydney, Australia
Melissa Brunner, speechBITE Project Officer, The University of Sydney, Australia
Kate Smith, speechBITE Project Manager, The University of Sydney, Australia


  1. Maher, C. G., Sherrington, C., Herbert, R. D., Moseley, A. M., & Elkins, M. (2003). Reliability of the PEDro scale for rating quality of randomized controlled trials. Physical Therapy, 83, 713–721.
  2. Tate, R., McDonald, S., Perdices, M., Togher, L., Schultz, R., & Savage, S. (2008). Rating the methodological quality of single-subject designs and n-of-1 trials: Introducing the Single-Case Experimental Design (SCED) Scale. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 18,385–401.
  3. Tate, R., Perdices, M., Rosenkoetter, U., Wakim, D., Godbee, K., Togher, L., & McDonald, S., (In press). Revision of a method quality rating scale for single-case experimental designs and n-of-1 trials: the 15-item Risk of Bias in N-of-1 Trials (RoBiNT) Scale, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.
  4. Murray, E., Power, E., Togher, L., McCabe, P., Munro, N. and Smith, K. (2013). The reliability of methodological ratings for speechBITE using the PEDro-P scale. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 48: 297–306. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12007

New Journal on Language Acquisition: Language, Interaction & Acquisition (LIA)

Maya Hickmann
CNRS & Université de Paris 8

Aims and scope of LIA

LIA is a bilingual English-French journal that publishes original theoretical and empirical research of high scientific quality at the forefront of current debates concerning language acquisition. It covers all facets of language acquisition among different types of learners and in diverse learning situations, with particular attention to oral language and/or to signed languages. Topics include the acquisition of one or more foreign languages, of one or more first languages, and of sign languages, as well as learners' use of gestures during speech; the relationship between language and cognition during acquisition; bilingualism and situations of language contact, for example pidginisation and creolisation. It also welcomes contributions about language impairments, however with emphasis on oral language. LIA offers a unique space to cover all of these topics and their interrelations in an interdisciplinary perspective (linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics).

The bilingual nature of LIA aims at reaching readership in a wide international community, while simultaneously continuing to attract intellectual and linguistic resources stemming from multiple scientific traditions in Europe, thereby remaining faithful to its original French anchoring. LIA is the direct descendant of the French-speaking journal AILE. It first appeared in 2009 under the transition name AILE…LIA and is published by John Benjamins since 2010.


Link for submissions:

LIA appears twice a year. It publishes special issues around particular topics, as well as independent articles in non-thematic issues. Articles must be written in French or in English and must provide abstracts in both languages. All articles are evaluated by at least two reviewers in a two-way anonymous procedure.

Until end of 2014, 50 copies of each issue of LIA are available at promotional prices (15€; 10€ for students). Orders should be sent to the following address:

Editor-in-Chief: Maya HICKMANN
Associate Editors: Dominique BASSANO, Sandra BENAZZO, Marion BLONDEL, Marianne GULLBERG, Daniel VERONIQUE


Forthcoming Conferences and Workshops

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

What: Workshop on the Acquisition of Case from a Cross-linguistic Perspective (Adjacent Workshop, ALT10)
When: 14 Aug 2013
Where: Leipzig, Germany

What: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Multilingualism (iam2013)
When: 15-17 Aug 2013
Where: Calgary, Canada

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

What: The IEEE Conference on Development and Learning, and Epigenetic Robotics
When: 18-22 Aug 2013
Where: Osaka, Japan

What: Utrecht Summer School 2013
When: 19-30 Aug 2013
Where: Utrecht, Netherlands

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

What: 15th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction
When: 27-31 Aug 2013
Where: Munich, Germany

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

What: The 18th Meeting of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology
When: 29 Aug -1 Sep 2013
Where: Budapest, Hungary

What: Cognition and Language Workshop 2013 (CLaw)
When: 31 Aug - 1 Sep 2013
Where: Santa Barbara, USA

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

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

What: Joint Annual Conference of the BPS Developmental and Cognitive Sections (CogDev2013)
When: 4-6 Sep 2013
Where: University of Reading, UK

What: Experimental Pragmatics 2013 (XPRAG 2013)
When: 4-6 Sep 2013
Where: Utrecht, Netherlands

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

What: PARLAY Conference: Postgraduate and Academic Researchers in Linguistics at York
When: 6 Sep 2013
Where: University of York, UK

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

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

What: Workshop on Modelling Meets Infant Studies in Language Acquisition: A Dialogue on Current Challenges and Future Directions
When: 9-13 Sep 2013
Where: Leiden, Netherlands

What: Barcelona Summer School on Bilingualism and Multilingualism (BSBM)
When: 16-19 Sep 2013
Where: Barcelona, Spain

What: Workshop on Working Memory Resources in Language Processing and Acquisition
When: 27 Sep 2013
Where: Salerno, Italy

What: The 3rd International Conference of Applied Linguistics
When: 3-4 Oct 2013
Where: Vilnius, Lithuania

What: Workshop on the Acquisition of Quantification
When: 4-5 Oct 2013
Where: University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA

What: The International Fall School Multilingualism as a Resource: the Influence of Linguistic and Cultural Awareness on Individuals, Schools and Societies
When: 7-9 Oct 2013
Where: Hamburg, Germany

What: International Conference on Multilingualism: Linguistic Challenges and Neurocognitive Mechanisms
When: 24-25 Oct 2013
Where: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

What: Acquisition of Referring Expressions: Crossed Perspectives
When: 25-26 Oct 2013
Where: Paris, France
*Please see "Further Announcements" for more information about this conference.

What: Society for Language Development (SLD) Annual Symposium: Mechanisms of Word Learning
When: 31 Oct 2013
Where: Boston, USA

What: Second Language Research Forum (SLRF)
When: 31 Oct - 2 Nov 2013
Where: Provo, Utah, USA

What: The 38th Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 38)
When: 1-3 Nov 2013
Where: Boston, USA

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

What: The 88th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America
When: 2-5 Jan 2014
Where: Minneapolis, USA

What: The 36th Annual Conference of the German Linguistic Society (DGfS 2014)
When: 5-7 March 2014
Where: University of Marburg, Germany

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

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

Conference and Workshop Calls

What: International Workshop on the Acquisition of Adjectives across Languages
When: 28 –29 Nov 2013
Where: Utrecht University, Netherlands
Details: (Elena Tribushinina)
Submission Deadline: 15 Aug 2013

What: The 17th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue
When: 16 –18 Dec 2013
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Submission Deadline: 10 Sep 2013

What: GURT 2014: Usage-based Approaches to Language, Language Learning, and Multilingualism & CASPSLaP
When: 14 –16 Mar 2014
Where: Washington, DC, USA
Submission Deadline: 1 Oct 2013

What: Language in Focus: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities in Linguistics and ELT
When: 27 –29 Mar 2014
Where: Antalya, Turkey
Submission Deadline: 1 Nov 2013

What: 2014 International Conference on Applied Linguistics & Language Teaching
When: 17 –19 Apr 2014
Where: Taipei, Taiwan
Submission Deadline: 10 Oct 2013

What: The 22nd Annual Conference of the IACL & 26th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (IACL-22 & NACCL-26)
When: 2 –4 May 2014
Where: Maryland, USA
Submission Deadline: 15 Dec 2013

What: The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages (TAL2014)
When: 13 –16 May 2014
Where: Nijmegen, Netherlands
Submission Deadline: 15 Feb 2014

What: The 15th International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association Conference (ICPLA 2014)
When: 11-13 Jun 2014
Where: Stockholm, Sweden
Submission Deadline: 1 Oct 2013 (for panel proposal submissions); 1 Nov 2013 (for abstract submissions)

What: The 9th International Conference on Third Language Acquisition and Multilingualism
When: 12–14 Jun 2014
Where: Uppsala University, Sweden
Submission Deadline: 6 Sep 2013

What: Early Language Learning: Theory and Practice in 2014 (ELL 2014)
When: 12-14 Jun 2014
Where: Umeå, Sweden
Submission Deadline: colloquia proposals: 27 Oct 2013, papers and poster presentations: 24 Nov 2013

What: 13th International Congress for the Study of Child Language
When: 14-18 July 2014
Where: Amsterdam
Submission Deadline: 15 Sep 2013

What: The 5th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference (UK-CLC5)
When: 29-31 July 2014
Where: Lancaster, UK
Submission Deadline: to be announced

What: Τhe 14th Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Adolescence (EARA)
When: 3 – 6 Sep 2014
Where: Çesme/Izmir, Turkey
Submission Deadline: 15 Dec 2013

What: The 8th International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG-8)
When: 3-6 Sep 2014
Where: University of Osnabrueck, Germany
Submission Deadline: 1 Feb 2014

Book Announcements

Editors: Sarah Baiz, Nora Goldman, Rachel Hawkes
Title: Proceedings of the 37th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD 37)
Publisher: Cascadilla Press
ISBN: 978-1574731859 (hardback); 978-1574730852 (paperback)

The 37th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development was held November 2-4, 2012, in Boston, MA. The two-volume proceedings contain 41 of the papers from the conference and cover a wide range of research in language acquisition and language development.

More information:

Editors: Marilyn Vihman & Tamar Keren-Portnoy
Title: The Emergence of Phonology: Whole Word Approaches, Cross-linguistic Evidence
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 978-0521762342 (planned to be out in October 2013)

How well have classic ideas on whole-word phonology stood the test of time? Waterson claimed that each child has a system of their own; Ferguson and Farwell emphasised the relative accuracy of first words; Menn noted the occurrence of regression and the emergence of phonological systematicity. This volume brings together classic texts such as these with current data-rich studies of British and American English, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Finnish, French, Japanese, Polish and Spanish. This combination of classic and contemporary work from the last 30 years presents the reader with cutting-edge perspectives on child language by linking historical approaches with current ideas such as exemplar theory and usage-based phonology and contrasting state-of-the-art perspectives from developmental psychology and linguistics. This is a valuable resource for cognitive scientists, developmentalists, linguists, psychologists, speech scientists and therapists interested in understanding how children begin to use language without the benefit of language-specific innate knowledge.

More information:

Author: Marilyn Vihman
Title: Phonological Development: The First Two Years. (2nd ed.)
Publisher: Oxford: Blackwell
ISBN: 978-1-118-34279-4 (hardcover); 978-1-118-34280-0 (paperback)
(planned to be out in February 2014)

The field of child phonology has seen major developments in research, with substantial improvements in existing methods and the emergence of exciting new methods in the 18 years since the publication of Vihman's classic first edition. Drawing on this progress, Vihman has updated and completely revised her well-known text to focus on the very latest research in phonological development in the first two years of life – the period of the most rapid learning and the most dramatic developmental advances. Retaining its unique approach and coverage, the new edition expands the chapters on perception, vocal production and the transition into language use, including sections on the perception and production of native-language speech rhythms. A new chapter provides an overview of communicative and attentional as well as perceptual and vocal development in the first 18 months, with an additional focus on both implicit and explicit learning mechanisms. There are also entirely new chapters on segmentation and distributional learning, experiments in word learning, and bilingual phonological development. In addition, Phonological Development reviews theoretical models of perception as well as formalist and functionalist theoretical approaches to phonological development and concludes by considering the link between perception and production and the role of lexical knowledge and use in further learning.

More information:; (email)

Thesis Announcements

Author: Marisa Casillas
Title: Learning to Take Turns on Time: Perception and Production Processes Involved in Keeping Inter-Turn Gaps Short
Institution: Stanford University

Across human cultures children learn language through their interactions with caregivers and peers. These early interactions, whatever form they take, are the basis for children's linguistic development, and result in something we universally recognize as human language. Children's linguistic development depends on their simultaneous acquisition of language use skills, and here I present my work on one such skill: turn-taking.

Turn-taking is a requisite skill for conversation that patterns similarly across cultures: interlocutors switch between one turn and the next in less than 200 ms on average. This quick timing in a back-and-forth turn structure forms a perfect framework for contingent action, allowing us to achieve fine-grained behavioral coordination and mutual estimations of common ground via rapid feedback and conversational repair. A turn-based framework is key to our interactive efficiency, but it also shapes children's language-learning environments. Children begin to take turns (of a sort) long before their first words, but their mastery of turn-timing is a protracted process during which their responses are significantly delayed in comparison to adults.

In a series of studies focusing on the production and perception of speech by adults and children ages 1--6, I explored the development of turn-taking skill and its relation to linguistic development. I found that turn-timing is intimately linked to children's linguistic development. Both in their production and perception of conversational speech, children become sensitive to different types of exchanges as they acquire new linguistic knowledge. Advances in their syntactic and prosodic knowledge during development result in a non-linear trajectory of turn-timing over their first few years. I discuss the implications of this tight relationship between linguistic processing and turn-structure, both for language learning and predictive processing during adult online language comprehension. By focusing on a signature property of human conversation, the ultimate goal of this research is to better conceptualize how the fundamental principles of human interaction shape human language use and structure.

Author: Helen Engemann
Title: Motion Event Expression in Bilingual First Language Acquisition
Institution: Cambridge University

The thesis explores the implications of Talmy's typology of motion expression (Talmy 2000) for bilingual first language acquisition of English (satellite-framing) and French (verb-framing), addressing the following question: How does the expression of motion develop in simultaneous bilingual children in comparison to monolinguals? The particular focus is on the role of crosslinguistic interactions and the extent to which their occurrence and directionality are affected by language-specific properties, children's age and task complexity. The thesis pursues two goals. First, it aims to contribute to the understanding of the role of language-specific factors in the acquisition process (Allen et al. 2007, Choi and Bowerman 1991, Hickmann et al. 2009). Secondly, by testing various proposals regarding crosslinguistic interactions (Müller and Hulk 2001, Gawlitzek-Maiwald and Tracy 1996, Toribio 2004), it endeavours to shed light on bilingual speech production processes.

Oral event descriptions elicited by means of short video clips from bilingual and monolingual children aged 4 to 10 years are analysed and compared across two production tasks of varying semantic complexity: a simpler voluntary motion task, showing agents performing spontaneous movements along various paths, and a more complex caused motion task, portraying a human agent causing the displacement of various objects in different manners along various paths. Bilinguals' event descriptions are analysed quantitatively and qualitatively in relation to monolingual English and French control groups across various aspects of verbalisation: (i) the linguistic devices used for information encoding (information packaging), (ii) the number of information components expressed (semantic density), and (iii) their syntactic complexity and compactness (utterance architecture).

The results indicate both parallels and differences to monolingual performance patterns. Although bilinguals' event descriptions generally follow the typological tendencies characterising monolinguals' English and French verbalisation tendencies, they also exhibit significant departures from the monolingual range in both languages, at all tested ages and in both tasks. However, these differences are most prominent in French caused motion expressions. In this task, bilinguals display a striking preference for satellite-framing encoding, resulting both in the overuse of cross-linguistically overlapping packaging strategies and in qualitatively deviant extensions of French locative satellites. Syntactically, bilinguals show a strong tendency to use compact structures compared to French monolinguals. An unexpected finding concerns the occurrence of a number of divergent production phenomena that are shared by bilinguals' productions in both languages and tasks, and suggest a bilingual-specific pattern of use.

The findings are discussed in the context of recent proposals regarding cross-linguistic interactions in simultaneous bilingualism. The persistence of bilingual-specific effects even at age 10 suggests that cross-linguistic interactions characterise bilinguals' verbal behaviour throughout development. This supports the notion that the bilingual is a unique speaker-hearer in his own right (Grosjean 2008). With regard to the impact of typological and general determinants, the findings indicate that bilinguals' verbalisation choices are guided by a complex interplay of event-specific factors and the perceived overlap of language-specific properties of both languages.

Further Announcements

Update from Journal of Child Language

By Heike Behrens (Editor of Journal of Child Language) & Melissa Good (Commissioning Editor (Linguistics) of Cambridge University Press)

From the Editor:
From physical to digital

Until a few years ago it was a joy if you finally managed to get hold of a book or a journal article that you had been wanting for a long time. And I vividly recall how guests at the Max-Planck-Institute spent a good deal of their time in the well-stocked library and many nights at the copy machine, trying to catch up on the latest research. Today, most research is available at your fingertips, and the new challenge is to keep track of what's out there, to be able to access it at all times, and to be able to share the latest findings with others. Below, Melissa Good explains the many ways in which interested readers can follow, access, or share interesting research published in the Journal of Child Language.

In addition, the Journal of Child Language now offers the possibility to make supplementary online content available. The supplementary online content can include colour reproductions of tables and figures, videos, or a more extensive documentation of the materials or statistical models.

Also, we have streamlined the workflow to allow for a quicker assignment of papers to reviewers. As of 2014, the journal will expand to six issues a year to accommodate the increase in paper submissions.

From Cambridge University Press:

In this edition of the IASCL newsletter, we'd like to bring to your attention some of the new ways in which you can access Journal of Child Language (JCL) content via our Cambridge Journals Online (CJO) platform:

Send to Kindle/Dropbox/Google Drive

We have added new buttons to both the pdf and html versions of JCL articles which, when clicked, allow the reader to type in their Kindle, Dropbox or Google Drive details. CJO will then send the article to the selected destination, where it will appear when the device is synced.

Social Login

JCL readers can now sign in or register to use CJO using their Facebook, Twitter or Google details, instead of having to create an additional username and password. This makes for an uninterrupted user experience, and negates the need for multiple logins.

Mobile Twinning

Finally, JCL readers can now twin their mobile device with CJO. Once their device is twinned, there is no need to be on campus, or even on a wifi network, to view subscribed content.

Short Term Access: Article Rental

This is an easy, low-cost route to JCL content. Registered* users on CJO can rent individual articles for 24 hours for £3.99, $5.99 or €4.49. Rented articles can be read on any computer that has a browser and a web connection, but the view-only PDF cannot be downloaded, printed, or cut and pasted. From later this year, you'll also be able to rent articles on mobile and tablet.

For details on these and other features, please click here: featuresaction/stream?pageId=3716

* To register on CJO, please click here:

Special Issue of Linguistics: Language Acquisition and Sociolinguistic Variation

By Jean-Pierre Chevrot (Université de Grenoble) & Paul Foulkes (University of York), Editors of the Special Issue

We are pleased to announce publication of a special issue of Linguistics (51(2)): Language Acquisition and Sociolinguistic Variation.

More information:

A New Linguistic Assessment for Mandarin-Speaking Children

By Jill de Villiers, Smith College

A new linguistic assessment is under development in China for children who speak Mandarin. A group composed of linguists, psychologists, SLPs and statistical experts on test development has completed substantial piloting and is about to undertake the Tryout phase in several sites in China. The test is completely novel rather than an adaptation of an existing test in English, and makes use of several special aspects of the structure of Mandarin. It is hoped that this first standardized test for children will be of use for educational and clinical practices to track achievement and to help identify and provide intervention goals for children with language delays and disorders.

Chunyan Ning, Tianjin Normal University
Lucy Xueman Liu, University of Dallas
Jill de Villiers, Smith College
Eric Rolfhus
Terry Hutchings
Wendy Lee

Special Issue on Computational Modeling of Bilingualism

By Ping Li, Pennsylvania State University

A Special Issue on Computational Modeling of Bilingualism has been published in "Bilingualism: Language and Cognition."

More details:

Conference on Acquisition of Referring Expressions: Crossed Perspectives

By Anne Salazar Orvig, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

Dates: October 25-26, 2013
Conference Venue : BULAC -Bibliothèque Universitaire des LAngues et Civilisations, 65, rue des Grands Moulins 75013 Paris - France
Key Dates:
Welcome reception: October 24th, 2013 (6 pm)
Conference: October 25th and 26th, 2013
Conference Dinner: October 25th, 2013 (8:30 pm)

More Information: Email:

This conference focuses on the acquisition of pronouns and determiners as a key process in children's linguistic and communicative development. The gradual mastery of these grammatical units marks children's entry into grammar and provides evidence of their first attempts to construct discourse, participate in verbal interaction, and take their interlocutor's knowledge and point of view into account.

Pronouns and determiners are thus at the interface of the structural (systems, forms, structures) and functional (pragmatics, discourse, dialogue) dimensions of language. Analyzing these devices can offer important clarifications regarding the relationships between different levels of language structure and use.

A large body of research on pronouns and determiners, both as grammatical morphemes and as referring expressions, has been conducted in the past few years. These studies have explored some of the stages and modalities in the development of various paradigms (fillers, distribution, mastery of an abstract grammatical category, etc.) and have underlined the linguistic factors involved in their development, such as the semantic, phonetic or prosodic dimensions.

The first studies on reference looked mainly at narratives or experimental situations. They showed how children's use of language develops very gradually before becoming adult-like. Other studies dealing mostly with children's productions in dialogues and in natural contexts investigated the conditions under which referring expressions are first employed. They demonstrated the impact of factors such as the accessibility of the referent and its occurrence in previous discourse. Other interesting aspects studied so far include the links between referring expressions, joint attention and gestures or cognitive development. Referring expressions have also been approached in relation to the type of discourse, dialogue, or activity being carried out, in a variety of contexts.

Results of these series of studies suggest that determiners and pronouns need to be examined in connection with each of these dimensions jointly. This approach could help fuel a more general discussion of the acquisition of grammar and grammatical categories, and can contribute to the debate on its theoretical underpinnings.

The aim of the conference "Acquisition of Referring Expressions: Crossed Perspectives" is to promote scientific encounters and discussions between researchers who work on these issues in different fields and from different theoretical perspectives. We hope to initiate a debate about topics like the interaction between linguistic levels, statistical and distributional factors in usage and input, cognitive and socio-cognitive development, and dialogue and pragmatic-discursive factors, and thereby enrich our knowledge of the processes underlying language acquisition in general.

New Journal: Journal of Science Language Acquisition and Development

By Huseyin Uysal

JCLAD is a bimonthly, double-blind peer reviewed journal which publishes original research papers in the field of child language acquisition and development. Studies designed to test a part or the whole of language acquisition theories; those bringing forth new hypotheses related to the nature of language acquisition and those which set bridges between language acquisition and other disciplines are given priority. Studies which take a descriptive approach to the nature of language acquisition and development are also welcome. The evaluation process takes normally six weeks. However it may take longer depending on the work load of the reviewers or on that of any other unit of the journal.


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