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Round table : Language acquisition in crosslinguistic context: How can we increase language coverage

Jeudi 06 Mai / Thursday May 6th 2021

10h00 (Paris Time)

Pr. Birgit Hellwig



Diversity is a key characteristic of human cultures and languages: children grow up in diverse socio-cultural settings around the world where they acquire one or more of the world’s 7000 or so languages, each presenting them with different challenges and opportunities for learning. Our theories of learning must thus be able to explain how children can learn any of these languages in any of these settings. But despite a proud history of crosslinguistic research, we only have acquisition data covering 1-2% of the world’s languages, with most of our knowledge coming from a very small number of major Western languages. In our panel discussion, we address the consequences of this empirical bias and explore the possibilities of extending acquisition research to more and varied languages. Throughout the discussion, we illustrate some of the attested diversity with examples from languages such as Eegimaa, Inuktitut, Murrinhpatha, Pitjantjatjara and Qaqet.


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