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Remembering our dear colleague Melissa Bowerman

Researchers and staff at MPI were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Melissa Bowerman, senior scientist emerita of MPI's Language Acquisition Department. Melissa passed away unexpectedly on October 31, after a brief illness.
Remembering our dear colleague Melissa Bowerman

November 2, 2011

Melissa Bowerman carried the torch of first language acquisition for the institute for over twenty years. She was one of the founders of the modern study of child language. Her work explored how children learn every aspect of language, but she was especially famous for her research on how children learn the meanings of words as they differ across languages. Her contributions to the study of child language and the semantics of words have been hugely influential, recognised in her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences last October.

"Melissa was a wonderful colleague, ‘mother’ to many PhD students, and constructive critic to all our research staff", says MPI director Stephen Levinson. "Her wide and deep command of the literature on child language was a resource utilised by many of us. She will be deeply missed as researcher, supervisor, supportive friend and warm soul."

Obituary by Eve V. Clark

Your tribute to Melissa Bowerman can be left here

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This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.


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