Online Symposium

Language Learning Through Communicative Interaction

(Virtually hosted by University of Edinburgh, 21-22nd October 2021)

We are excited to announce a free online symposium on October 21st and 22nd which brings together researchers with a common interest in language learning through communicative interaction in typical and autistic development to share research from a range of perspectives and discuss emerging themes. Substantial research suggests that language experience plays an important role in language learning, but how might this occur and to what extent might its influence depend on interaction?

The symposium includes a series of talks by experts in the field followed by a final roundtable discussion.

Confirmed speakers:
Danielle Matthews, University of Sheffield
Aparna Nadig, McGill University
Liz Nilsen, University of Waterloo
Courtenay Norbury, UCL
Caroline Rowland, MPI
Leone Buckle, University of Manchester
Laura Lindsay, University of Edinburgh

The symposium is supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council LEaD1 and WeChat2 projects. It will take place on Zoom (21st October 15:00-18:00 BST/10:00-13:00 EDT and 22nd October 14:30-17:30 BST/09:30-12:30 EDT). The outline programme is available below.

Please join us and contribute to the discussion! Registration is free of charge and access to the online talks is available by filling out the form here. We look forward to seeing you.

With best wishes,

Holly Branigan, Laura Lindsay, Charlotte Wilks (University of Edinburgh)
Kate Messenger (University of Warwick)
Nicola Yuill (University of Sussex)
Leone Buckle (University of Manchester)
Zoe Hopkins (King’s College London)

1The LEaD project is investigating how language experience supports language development in typically developing children, and specifically how children’s immediate experiences of syntax in interactive contexts lead to long-term learning of syntactic structures. The project examines how experience-based syntactic learning varies across structures, age and stage of language development; the timecourse of experience-based learning effects; and the extent to which learning generalises across linguistic and non-linguistic contexts.

2The WeChat project is investigating how typically developing and autistic children adapt their language use in response to their conversational partner’s language use (“conversational alignment”). Such alignment appears to be important for both effective communication and satisfying interactions. The project examines how and when alignment of words and grammar might occur; how its incidence might relate to audience design and social-affective goals; and whether autistic children show the same or different patterns of alignment during interaction as typically developing children.

Symposium Schedule

Thursday 21st October
15:00-15:10 BST (UTC+1)
16:00-16:10 CEST (UTC+2)
10:00-10:10 EDT (UTC-4)

15:10-16:30 BST (UTC+1)
16:10-17:30 CEST (UTC+2)
10:10-11:30 EDT (UTC-4)
Talk 1: Leone Buckle
Title: To what extent does the form of speech input facilitate grammar learning? [Abstract]

Talk 2: Caroline Rowland
Title: What predicts how quickly children learn to talk? [Abstract]

16:30-16:40 BST (UTC+1)
17:30-17:40 CEST (UTC+2)
11:30-11:40 EDT (UTC-4)

16:40-18:00 BST (UTC+1)
17:40-19:00 CEST (UTC+2)
11:40-13:00 EDT (UTC-4)
Talk 3: Courtenay Norbury
Title: Gesture use in parents and children with (and without) developmental language disorder. [Abstract]

Talk 4: Aparna Nadig
Title: Linguistic input to children on the autism spectrum in a multilingual society: Relationships between quantity and quality of input and child language development. [Abstract]

18:00-19:00 BST (UTC+1)
19:00-20:00 CEST (UTC+2)
13:00-14:00 EDT (UTC-4)
Informal socialising opportunity (Gathertown)
Friday 22nd October
14:30-14:40 BST (UTC+1)
15:30-15:40 CEST (UTC+2)
09:30-09:40 EDT (UTC-4)

14:40-16:40 BST (UTC+1)
15:40-17:40 CEST (UTC+2)
09:40-11:40 EDT (UTC-4)
Talk 5: Laura Lindsay
Title: TBC

Talk 6: Danielle Matthews
Title: Learning to communicate through interaction in infancy. [Abstract]

Talk 7: Liz Nilsen
Title: Children’s use of a communicative partner’s perspective when generating, repairing, and interpreting statements. [Abstract]

16:40-16:50 BST (UTC+1)
17:40-17:50 CEST (UTC+2)
11:40-11:50 EDT (UTC-4)

16:50-17:30 BST (UTC+1)
17:50-18:30 CEST (UTC+2)
11:50-12:30 EDT (UTC-4)
Roundtable discussion (option to run over until 18:00)

17:30-19:00 BST (UTC+1)
18:30-20:00 CEST (UTC+2)
12:30-14:00 EDT (UTC-4)
Informal socialising opportunity (Gathertown)