Many Paths to Language (MPaL)

23 October 2020 09:00 - 25 October 2020 18:00
Max Planck Institute
Children show astonishing variation in the way they acquire their native language(s); each developmental milestone in both production and comprehension is marked by meaningful individual differences.

This 3-day workshop focuses on meaningful differences in the way children acquire language. It will explore (a) multiple sources of variation in early language development, including: children’s linguistic and cultural environments, their cognitive maturation, and the structural properties of the languages they are acquiring, alongside (b) the implications of this variation for the mechanisms that drive and support native language acquisition, given the overall robustness of learning in the face of this variability.

The workshop will also include some small-group sessions aimed at advancing interdisciplinary discussion and overcoming methodological hurdles in documenting and interpreting variation in this context. We hope to have a mix of theoretical and practical topics represented at the workshop.

Please note that, due to COVID-19: The workshop will take place fully online.

Invited speakers

Gabriella Vigliocco (University College London)

Andrea Ravignani (MPI for Psycholinguistics)

David Barner (University of California, San Diego)


Abstract submission

As of July 1st, 2020, abstract submission is closed. Authors will be notified of submission decision by August 15th, 2020.


Venue and registration

The workshop will take place ONLINE on October 23rd–25th, 2020, hosted virtually by the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Registration is free but mandatory by October 1st, 2020.

More information about registration, the program, and accommodations will be posted closer to the event.



Marisa Casillas, Rana Abu-Zhaya, and Caroline Rowland

Contact: mpal [at]

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