Streams | Topics | Speakers

Phonological Stream

14 August 12:00

Let's start from the crib: how early perception and memory capacities shape language acquisition in the first months of life

Silvia Benavides-Varela

Padua University

Silvia Benavides-Varela is an Associate Professor at Padua University. She is trained as biotechnology engineer from the Costarican Institute of Technology. She obtained her PhD. in Neuroscience from SISSA in Italy and did post-doctoral work at Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception & Universitè Paris Descartes, France, IRCCS Fondazione Ospedale San Camillo (Lido-Venice). Her research focuses on developing new methods for unveiling the initial state of auditory and memory capacities in human infants, the environmental factors that modulate learning, and the properties of the brain systems that support language and mathematic achievements across the life-span. She uses a range of behavioral and neuroimaging techniques including eye-tracking and functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS).

Amanda Saksida

IRCCS "Burlo Garofolo" Trieste

Amanda Saksida has graduated from Language, Cognition, and Development Lab at the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati SISSA Trieste with a doctoral research on word segmentation and word learning in the first year of life. She is currently a researcher at the Department of ORL and Audiology of the Institute for Maternal and Child Health - IRCCS “Burlo Garofolo” - Trieste, Italy, where she conducts research on early speech and auditory perception and development in deaf/hard-of-hearing children. Specifically, she implements pupillometry to study cognitive load and auditory attention in young children. She is also an associate professor at the Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education, at University in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where she teaches courses on language acquisition, cognitive linguistics and neurolinguistics.

15 August 12:00

Comparative psycholinguistic methods for studying infants' development of language-specific phonological knowledge

Natalie Boll-Avetisyan

University of Potsdam

Natalie Boll-Avetisyan is an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psycholinguistics at the University of Potsdam, Germany. Trained as a linguist at the Universities of Mainz, Germany, and Utrecht, the Netherlands, she focused her PhD thesis on the acquisition of phonotactics by infants and adult second language learners at Utrecht University. During her postdoc years, she was part of the Potsdam BabyLAB. Her main research interest is in studying the roles of universal abilities and experience in early language acquisition. She pursues a comparative psycholinguistics approach, and compares mono- and bilingually-raised infants learning different native languages. As she has a special interest in understudied languages and understudied populations, her group is expanding lab-based research to the field (e.g., using mobile eye-tracking).

Paul Okyere Omane

University of Potsdam 

Paul Okyere Omane is a Ph.D. student in Developmental Psycholinguistics in the International Doctorate for Experimental Approaches to Language And Brain (IDEALAB) program. He has a BA in Linguistics from the University of Ghana (Legon) and an MSc. in Clinical Linguistics (European Master's in Clinical Linguistics, EMCL+). His Ph.D. thesis focuses on vowel harmony perception in multilingual infants learning understudied languages in Ghana (Africa). Paul is interested in first language acquisition, multilingualism, speech perception, and understudied African languages.

16 August 12:00

Tone development in infancy and early childhood.

Liquan Liu

Western Sydney University

Liquan Liu is a Senior Lecturer at School of Psychology, Western Sydney University and is affiliated with Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan, University of Oslo. His main research interests lie in infant learning and development. 

17 August 12:00

Early predictors of typical and atypical language development

Marina Kalashnikova

Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language

Dr. Marina Kalashnikova is the leader of the Infant Language and Cognition research group at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language. She investigates the process of early language acquisition, specifically the emergence and consolidation of speech perception and word-learning over monolingual and bilingual infants’ first two years of life. The primary aim of her work is to define the earliest determinants of later individual language ability.

18 August 12:00

When children say more than adults can hear: Covert contrasts in children’s early speech-sound productions.

Titia Benders

University of Amsterdam

Titia Benders is an Assistant Professor in Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. Benders investigates developing phonological representations at the interface between perception, production, and input. Her main interest is the acquisition of segmental and prosodic representations by children between 6 months and 6 years of age, who acquire one or more languages, without or with hearing loss. A second line of research concerns the linguistic and emotional properties of infant-directed speech by parents (i.e., both mothers and fathers). Benders' work routinely includes techniques from phonetics, developmental psychology, and recent statistical insights

Anwar Alkhudidi

Um-Al-Qura University

Anwar Alkhudidi is a teaching assistant at Um-Al-Qura University in Saudi Arabia. She holds a BA in English Language from Taif University in Saudi Arabia and two master’s degrees in Linguistics, one from the University of Western Ontario/Canada and the second one from Macquarie University. She is currently doing her PhD in Linguistics at Macquarie University. Her main areas of interest include child phonology, L2 phonology, and bilingualism.

Lexical Stream

14 August 13:00

Mechanisms and Timescales of Word Learning

Sarah C. Kucker

Southern Methodist University

Dr. Sarah Kucker is currently an assistant professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University in the United States. Her research examines the mechanisms and processes underlying word learning and cognitive development with an emphasis on a dynamic systems approach to language development in infants and toddlers. Her work has a particular focus on examining the broader impacts of context and individual differences in the process of learning. Dr. Kucker also teaches various courses in developmental psychology, language and cognition, and research methods in psychology. 

15 August 13:00

Unpacking the how and why of early word learning

Nivedita Mani

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Nivedita Mani is Professor of Psychology of Language at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Her work examines the factors underlying word learning and recognition in young children and views word learning as the result of a dynamic mutual interaction between the environment and the learner, with particular focus on the learner and what she knows, what she is interested in and, more recently, her motivation to learn.

She is principal investigator on a number of projects funded by the German Research Foundation (and the British Academy during her time in the UK). She has published extensively in her field, including the recent co-edited Volume Early Word Learning. She was elected to the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen in 2017 and has won prizes for her research, including the Fritz-Behrens Stifung Science prize.

She received a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2006. Following a short spell at the Center for Child Language at University of Southern Denmark, Odense, she returned to Oxford for a post-doctoral position between 2006 and 2008. During this time, she was also appointed as Career Development Fellow in Psychology at St Hugh's College, Oxford. She then moved to University College London on a British Academy post-doctoral fellowship examining phonological priming in infancy. She moved to Göttingen in January 2010 to set up the Psychology of Language Research Group and the associated infant language lab, WortSchatzInsel.

16 August 13:00

Early lexical acquisition in Bantu languages

Ramona Kunene Nicolas

University of the Witwatersrand

Ramona Kunene Nicolas (PhD) is a senior lecturer at the university of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in the Linguistics department. She earned her PhD in Psycholinguistics at the Université Grenoble Alpes, France. Her research interests include bilingualism, social cognition, language development, discourse analysis, multimodality of language (speech and co-speech gesture) and cross-linguistic typologies. Her main focus is on Bantu languages and South African languages.

17 August 13:00

Variability and consistency in children's early language learning: The Wordbank project

Michael C. Frank

Stanford University

Michael C. Frank is David and Lucile Packard Professor of Human Biology at Stanford University and Director of the Symbolic Systems Program. He received his PhD from MIT in Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 2010. He studies language use and language learning, focusing especially on early word learning. He is the founder of the ManyBabies Consortium, a collaborative replication network for infancy research, and has led open-data projects including Wordbank and MetaLab. He was a Jacobs Foundation Fellow and has received the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the FABBS Early Career Impact Award, and the Marr Prize and Glushko Dissertation Prize from the Cognitive Science Society. He served as Chair of the Governing Board of the Cognitive Science Society and has edited for journals including Cognition and Child Development.

18 August 13:00

Learning words as a multilingual child.

Julien Mayor

University of Oslo

Julien Mayor is a professor in developmental psychology at the University of Oslo (Norway). His research focuses on early word learning - using a range of investigation methods; eye-tracking, corpus analyses, computational modelling and tablet-based data collection. Julien is also involved in the development of rapid early vocabulary assessment. 

Morphosyntactic Stream

14 August 14:00

Mechanisms of morphosyntactic development

Caroline Rowland

MPI Nijmegen

Caroline Rowland is Director of the Language Development Department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Professor of First Language Acquisition at Radboud University. Her research focuses on how children learn to communicate with language, how the developing brain supports this process, and how it is affected by cross-linguistic, cultural and individual variation. She takes a multiple methods approach - experimental work, naturalistic data analysis and computer modelling – to test the predictions of different models of the child’s learning mechanism. Her book, Understanding Child Language Acquisition, is an introduction to the most important research on child language acquisition over the last fifty years, and to some of the most influential theories in the field.

15 August 14:00

Introduction to the generative approach to language acquisition.

Kamil Ud Deen

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Professor Deen attended UCLA as an undergraduate, receiving his initial training in Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition. He went on to study under Professor Nina Hyams in graduate school, and joined the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2002. His research investigates evidence for innate, generative knowledge of language in understudied languages. He has published on a variety of languages, including Swahili, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Serbian, Samoan and others.

Akari Ohba

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Hailing from Japan, Ms. Ohba is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her interests involve the acquisition of syntax and semantics by children and adults, and how those processes are mediated by Universal Grammar. She has worked on the acquisition of sluicing, multiple quantifiers, and her current work focuses on the acquisition of grammatical empathy in Japanese.

16 August 14:00

Functionalist approaches to the acquisition of morphosyntax

Evan Kidd

Australian National University

I was awarded my BBSc(Hons) in 1999 and my PhD (Psycholinguistics) in 2004, both from La Trobe University. Over my career I have worked at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, The University of Manchester, and La Trobe University. Currently I am Professor of Linguistics at The Australian National University.

My research is in psycholinguistics. I work both on language acquisition (inc. first language acquisition, bilingualism, & second language acquisition) and adult language processing. My recent research has focused on individual differences in language acquisition and use, the relationship between language acquisition and on-line sentence processing in crosslinguistic perspective, and the influence of typological diversity on sentence planning and production. Accordingly, my research group works on several typologically-diverse languages. I also have a keen interest in how language interfaces with other social and cognitive processes. Along these lines, over the past 10 years or so my students and I have been investigating the relationship between language acquisition and symbolic play.

17 August 14:00

Studying Morphosyntax with Bilingual Children: Topics and Methods.

Irina Sekerina

City University of New York

Irina A. Sekerina is a Professor of Psychology and Linguistics at the City University of New York. She studies bilingual language acquisition and processing, in particular, heritage languages. Her specialty is the Visual World eye-tracking paradigm.

18 August 14:00

Morphosyntactic development in children with Developmental Language Disorder

Theo Marinis

University of Konstanz

Theodoros Marinis is Professor of Multilingualism at the University of Konstanz and at the University of Reading and Director of the Centre for Multilingualism at the University of Konstanz. His research focuses on language acquisition and processing across populations of monolingual and multilingual children with typical development as well as children with atypical language development, such as children with Developmental Language Disorders and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He conducts fundamental and applied research across the disciplines of linguistics, education, and speech & language pathology. He was part of the COST Action IS0804 'Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society: Linguistic Patterns and the Road to Assessment' and led the development of the LITMUS Sentence Repetition tasks for multilingual children across a large range of languages. He is currently leading the EU project 'The Multilingual Mind' that provides multi-disciplinary training on multilingualism to early stage researchers in Europe.

Environment Stream

14 August 15:00

How verbal interactions with young children nurture early language learning

Anne Fernald

Stanford University

Anne Fernald, Professor Emerita at Stanford University, combines observational and experimental methods to explore how parents’ verbal engagement with infants supports language learning.  Her early observational research on the melodies of mother’s speech across different languages was followed by experimental studies on infants’ affective responses to the prosody of child-directed speech.  She then began developing sensitive measures of the time-course of infants’ language understanding. In longitudinal studies with children from linguistically, culturally, and economically diverse families, her research has focused on the vital role of early language experience in strengthening children’s speech processing skills, which in turn facilitate vocabulary growth and language learning.  A central goal of this translational research program is to provide rigorous scientific evidence that parents from diverse linguistic and sociocultural backgrounds can play a vital role in supporting their children’s language and cognitive development.

15 August 15:00

Does talking to children matter? And, if so, how?

Elena Lieven

University of Manchester

Elena Lieven is professor emerita at the University of Manchester and was, until September 2020,  Director of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD Her primary research areas include the relationship between children’s language development and their linguistic input, as well the differences in children’s language environments.  She is an elected Fellow of the British Academy and of the Cognitive Science Society and a member of Academia Europaea.

16 August 15:00

Small babies, big data: How data from wearables can help our understanding of early language acquisition

Alejandrina Cristía

CNRS Paris

Alejandrina Cristia received her PhD in Linguistics from Purdue University in 2009 and did post-doctoral work on neuroimaging at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics before joining the French CNRS as a Researcher in 2013. She leads the Language Acquisition Across Cultures team, in a mixed unit cohosted by the Ecole Normale Supérieure, EHESS, and PSL in Paris, France. In 2021, she is an invited researcher in the Foundations of Learning Program of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and a guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Her research interests include: What are the linguistic representations that infants and adults have? Why and how are they formed? How may learnability biases shape the world’s languages?  To answer these questions, Dr. Cristia adopts a cognitive science approach (drawing from developmental psychology, linguistics, anthropology), and uses multiple methodologies (including corpora analyses, behavioral studies, computational modeling).

17 August 15:00

Developing Sensory Worlds: How patterns of linguistic input are related to the emergence of language-specific perception for speech and beyond

Suzy Styles

Nanyang Technological University

Suzy Styles is developmental psycholinguist specializing in interactions between language and the development of sensory systems. Suzy is an Assistant Professor, and Director of the Brain, Language and Intersensory Processing Lab (BLIP Lab) at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where she holds the Provost’s Chair in Psychology. She trained in Linguistics and Japanese at the Australian National University and Tohoku University, and in Psycholinguistics at the University of Oxford. Suzy is engaged in fostering research quality by promoting open research tools and replicable methods, including developing international standards for study design and methodology, including for developmental neuropsychology.

Woon Fei Ting

Nanyang Technological University

18 August 15:00

The nature of Parent-child interaction: what we (think) we know and what we need to find out

Thea Cameron-Faulkner

University of Manchester

Thea Cameron-Faulkner studied Linguistics as a postgraduate at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) and conducted her PhD in School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester/ Max Planck Institute, Leipzig. Her research focuses on the development of human communication and language. She is interested in the ways in which communication and language interact with social, cultural, and environmental factors. She uses of range of methods in her work but typically focuses on the analysis of real world recordings of caregiver-child interaction.

Practical Sessions

14 August 16:15


Joseph Coffey

Harvard University

16 August 16:15

R / R Studio

Margriet Groen

Lancaster University

18 August 16:15


Martin Zettersten

Princeton University