Summer time is conference time! In July, I travelled to beautiful Tartu, Estonia, to the International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC14). Together with Virve Vihman I organised a theme session on the role of frequency in morphosyntax acquisition. Actually, the theme session was entitled “Beyond Frequency”, because we wanted to discuss other factors that may sometimes get overlooked if we focus solely on frequency effects.
The session featured a great mix of languages (Hebrew, Danish, Estonian, Chinese, English) and topics (from noun inflection over prepositions to complex sentences). In the final discussion, led by LuCiD co-director Caroline Rowland, we discussed the role of language aptitude, the necessity to distinguish between input and uptake, transparency and predictability, cognitive complexity, and communicative function. It was a great session that gave all of us a lot food for thought , and showed us quite clearly that there is still a lot of work to do to bring all these aspects together in a comprehensive account of language acquisition.
Here’s Virve and me relaxing after the theme session at the conference dinner:
LuCiD was also present at another important event at the ICLC: The book launch of the Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. LuCiD co-Director Anna Theakston and I wrote the chapter on First Language Acquisition, in which we describe the constructivist approach to child language acquisition. As is often the case with books, it was quite long in the making – you can tell from our faces how happy we all were that the handbook is finally out there (see main image at the top of this blog).