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Department of Comparative Language Science

Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Processing and Learning 6th - 8th November 2023 | X-PPL 2023

For online participation: Zoom Link

The Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Processing and Learning Workshop
brings together the growing community of researchers working to expand the diversity of languages in the scope of experimental or corpus research on adults or language acquisition. This research is driven by the recognition that structural/typological and socio-cultural diversity represents different opportunities to see processing and learning mechanisms at work.  The bulk of processing and acquisition research represents only a small fraction of linguistic diversity, and this risks skewing both our theories and research questions.
The Crosslinguistic Perspectives on Processing and Learning Workshop (X-PPL) aims to fill this gap and provide a platform for cross-linguistic research on language processing and learning. X-PPL 2023 will take place on November 6-8, 2023

On November 8, two teaching sessions will be held, one on building language acquisition corpora and one on online experiments with PCIbex (by Florian Schwarz, University of Pennsylvania). The aim of these sessions is to provide the X-PPL community with skills that can be transferred to foster additional cross-linguistic research.

Keynote speakers:

Aylin Küntay (Koç University)

Interactive sources of early communication and language learning: Evidence from Turkish

There is increasing evidence that early communication and language benefit from early interactions with caregivers and peers.  Socio-cultural and structural diversity within and across linguistic groups offers a window to study learning of communication and language.  I will present experimental and naturalistic work with Turkish-learning infants, preschoolers, and caregivers, especially regarding development of referential communication.

Susan Goldin-Meadow (University of Chicago)

The mind hidden in our hands

Our hands are always with us and are used for communication all over the world.  When children do not have an established language model to learn from, they use their hands to communicate––they gesture––and these gestures take on the forms of language. In this role, the hands reveal the fundamental properties of mind that give shape to language. When children do learn an established language, they again use their hands to gesture. These gestures do not look like language, but form an integrated system with language. In this role, the hands can convey ideas not found in the language they accompany. In both contexts, gesture provides a clear view of the mind hidden in our hands. 

Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky (University of South Australia)

The cross-linguistic neuroscience of language: How far have we come?

The past few decades have seen a growing recognition in the neuroscience of language that we cannot ignore linguistic diversity if we are to truly understand how language is processed by the human brain. I was fortunate to have been a part of the early stages of this movement, having been appointed in 2005 as Head of the Max Planck Research Group Neurotypology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig. Almost twenty years later, however, in spite of an increased awareness regarding the importance of cross-linguistic research, psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic studies remain heavily skewed towards a small number of languages, and particularly towards English. In this talk, I will attempt to take stock of the current state of the field: how are we doing in regard to capturing the full range of linguistic diversity from the perspective of the brain, what have we learned from cross-linguistic comparisons to date, and how might we best progress this line of research in the future?


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