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"We talk, they listen: The role of language exposure in early multilingual development"

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 24 Sep 2021

Mercator Multilingualism Lecture 2021


26th November 2021, 16.15h-17.30h CET

Dr Krista Byers-Heinlein (Concordia University, Montreal)

Hosted by the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning, which is part of the Fryske Akademy in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. All are warmly invited. Attendance is free but registration is required.

Abstract: Many children around the world grow up bi/multilingual, acquiring two or more languages from early in life. The specifics of multilingual language environments vary enormously from child to child, and it is important to understand how this variation affects children’s acquisition of their languages. This talk will examine the role of language quantity and language quality in language acquisition, focusing on children aged 0-5. To understand the role of quantity, I will present evidence that infants and toddlers are attuned to the amount that they hear each of their languages, including studies on in speech perception, online word comprehension, and vocabulary development in both bilinguals and trilinguals. To understand the role of language quality, I will focus on how exposure to code-switching affects language acquisition, including naturalistic studies of the types of code-switched utterances that parents produce, and laboratory studies on how code-switched sentences are processed by bilingual toddlers. The talk will conclude with a discussion of how a better understanding of language exposure in early multilingual development can inform both policy and practice.

Zoom link: https://bit.ly/MercatorMultilingualismLecture2021