LINGUIST List 21.57

Wed Jan 06 2010

Confs: Applied Ling, Lang Acquisition/UK

Editor for this issue: Amy Brunett <>

        1.    Angeliek van Hout, Let the Children Speak: Learning of Critical Language Skills

Message 1: Let the Children Speak: Learning of Critical Language Skills
Date: 21-Dec-2009
From: Angeliek van Hout <>
Subject: Let the Children Speak: Learning of Critical Language Skills
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Let the Children Speak: Learning of Critical Language Skills

Date: 22-Jan-2010 - 24-Jan-2010 Location: London, United Kingdom Contact: Angeliek van Hout Contact Email: Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition

Meeting Description:

Two children in every classroom across Europe suffer from Specific Language Impairment (SLI), meaning that they have problems learning language. Language is one of the key skills that children need in order to succeed in education and in later life; without it, children may fail to reach their potential. Early assessment of language skills, to identify children who have SLI, is essential. Yet migration and multilingualism may make it difficult to assess whether children have the necessary language skills to access the school curriculum, and diagnosing SLI across Europe is a challenge. SLI is costing Europe more than 250 billion Euros a year. That's equivalent to 1% of GDP, enough to bail out a medium-sized bank. Like the world banking crisis, it must be addressed at an international level. In a unique initiative, scientists from 25 European countries (and close neighbours), and representing 25 languages (covering the major European language families: Germanic, Romance, Slavic, Baltic, Greek and Romani and also Finno-Ugric and Semitic) have worked together to investigate the critical language skills that children need to learn. We have created an assessment that is comparable across languages, with 13 subtests that test critical skills in grammar, semantics and pragmatics. This work allows us to assess whether a child has the key language abilities needed for education and life-long learning in languages across the EU, and can serve as a template for other languages too.

This work provides the necessary platform for politicians, professionals and scientists alike to take up the reins to collaboratively address the severe socio-economic cost of our children's lost potential. We are therefore bringing together a unique team of experts from across the EU - politicians, ducationalists, health specialists, scientists and parents to address this challenge at a ground-breaking international conference.


Please see the full programme at the following URL:

Please visit the website for our conference at the following URL:

Friday 22nd January 2010

12:00 - 14:00 Registration Chair: Daniel Glaser (The Wellcome Trust)

13:45 - 14:15 Welcome: Uli Sauerland and Heather van der Lely

14:15 - 14:45 TBC The right Hon Mr Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Families and Schools, Introduced by Linda Lascelles, CEO Association for all Speech Impaired Children

14:45 - 15:05 Abby Beverly, The Perspective of an Adult with SLI Living with a Language Impairment, In discussion with Victoria Joffe (City University London, UK)

15:05 - 15:55 Stephen Crain, Professor of Cognitive Science MACCS Macquarie University, Australia, Investigating Child Language from a 'Biolinguistic' Perspective

15:55 - 16:50 Coffee Break

Poster Session I

Interactive Sessions

Demonstrations and participation in the COST A33 language experiments

16:50 - 17:00 Jo Eddings, The Perspective of a Parent of a Child with SLI

17:00 - 18:30 Panel Discussion Also open to those attending the Reception Moderated and chaired by Daniel Glaser (The Wellcome Trust)

Panel Members:

1. Heather van der Lely, COST A33 Vice Chair (Harvard University, USA) The scientific perspective 2. Virginia Beardshaw, CEO I CAN: The Children's Communication Charity 3. TBC: Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science 4. Hazel Roddam, Deputy Chair of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, UK

Panel Discussion General Discussion and Audience Participation

18:30 - 21:00 COST A33 Reception At The Wellcome Trust Medicine Now Gallery Conference participants plus Ambassadors of all 25 countries involved in COST A33, and other professionals and politicians from the EU

Saturday 23rd January 2010

08:30 - 09:00 Registration Chair: Dr Michael Thomas, (Birkbeck, University of London, UK)

09:00 - 10:15 Symposium 1: Coordinator Spyridoula Varlokosta (Athens University, Greece), Children's Production and Comprehension of Pronouns across Languages

João Costa (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal), Production of Pronouns - Designing a Crosslinguistic Experiment and Crosslinguistic Findings

Maria Teresa Guasti (University Milano-Bicocca, Italy), Production of Partitive Pronouns across Languages

Maria Teresa Guasti (University Milano-Bicocca, Italy), Children's Comprehension of Pronouns in European Languages

10:15 - 10:30 Susan Edwards (Reading University, UK). Discussion by Professional SLT

10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break

Poster Session II

11:00 - 12:00 Symposium 2: Coordinator Angeliek van Hout (University of Groningen, Netherlands), Acquiring Tense and Aspect

Angeliek van Hout (University of Groningen, Netherlands), Learning to Understand Aspect across Languages

Bart Hollebrandse (University of Groningen, Netherlands), Acquiring Tense Crosslinguistically: Comprehension and Production

12:00 - 12:15 Jane Stokes (MRCSLT University of Greenwich, UK) Discussion by Professional

12:15 - 14:30 Lunch

Interaction session

Poster Session II (continued)

14:30 - 16:00 Symposium 3: Coordinator Naama Friedmann (Tel Aviv University, Israel), Children's Questions about Questions

Naama Friedmann (Tel Aviv University, Israel), Introduction: on wh Questions and Relative Clauses in Typically Developing and Language Impaired Children

Heather van der Lely (Harvard University, USA), How do 5 year olds Understand Questions: Differences in Languages across Europe?

Petra Schulz (Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany), Who Answered What to Whom? On Children's Understanding of Exhaustive Questions

Naama Friedman (Tel Aviv University, Israel), The Production of Relative Clauses by 5 Year Olds across Multiple Languages: ''They Prefer to be the Children Who do not Produce Object Relatives''

15:45 - 16:00 Virginia Gathercole (Centre for Multilingualism), Theory and Therapy, University of Bangor, Wales). Discussant.

16:00 - 17:00 Coffee Break

Poster session III

Interactive Session

17:00 - 17:30 TBC Androulla Vassiliou EU Commissioner for Education, Culture and Youth Multilingualism Keynote address

17:30 - 17:45 General Discussion: Led by Daniel Glaser

17:45 - 18:30 Management Meeting: MC COST members only

19:15 Conference Dinner The Crypt in Ely Place (off Holborn Circus) (Bleeding Heart Yard Restaurant)

Sunday 24th January 2010

Chair: Dr Ineta Daba?inskien? (Vytautas Magnus University Lithuania)

09:00 - 10:15 Symposium 4: Coordinator Sharon Armon-Lotem, (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), Understanding passive sentences

Sharon Armon-Lotem (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), An Introduction - Why Study the Acquisition of Passive Sentences?

Kazuko Yatsushiro (ZAS, Berlin), Short and Long Passives in 5 year olds: a Crosslinguistic Perspective Sari Kunnari (University of Oulu, Finland), The Development of the Passive

Kristine Jensen de López (Aalborg University, Denmark), Understanding Passive Sentences by Children with Specific Language Impairments: a Cross-linguistic Comparison

10:15 - 10:30 Julie Dockrell (Institute of Education, UK) Discussion from an Educational Perspective

10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break

Poster session III (continued)

11:00 - 12:15 Symposium 5 Coordinator Ken Drozd (Hanze University, Groningen, Netherlands), Quantifiers and Implicatures

Ken Drozd (Hanze University, Groningen, Netherlands), Some Ambassadors Attended the Conference: Understanding Quantifiers and Implicatures

Napoleon Katsos (Cambridge University, UK), What can the Acquisition of Quantification Tell Us about Assessing Language Development? Evidence from Crosslinguistic, Bilingual and SLI research

Arve Asbjørnsen (University of Bergen, Norway), Challenges in Test Development: Some Psychometric Properties of the Quantification Tasks

12:15 - 12:30 Deidre Martin (University of Birmingham, UK). Discussion: an Educational and Professional Perspective

12:30 - 13:00 Tom Roeper (University of Massachusetts, USA), Conference Discussant

13:00 - 13:05 Presentation of Poster Prize Conference Close

13:05 - 14:00 Lunch

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