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: In the event that COVID-19 travel restrictions are still in place in October, the workshop will take place online.

Invited speakers

Gabriella Vigliocco (University College London)

Jennifer Culbertson (University of Edinburgh)

David Barner (University of California, San Diego)


Abstract submission

- Submissions of 4000-character (or shorter) abstracts for talks and posters must be received by midnight (CET) on June 1st, 2020. See the Abstract Submission page for more details.

- Authors will be notified of submission decision by July 1st, 2020.


Venue and registration

The workshop will take place on October 23rd–25th, 2020 at the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Registration for in-person and virtual attendance is free but mandatory by October 1st, 2020.

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


Travel awards

Five travel awards will be allocated to presenting participants. The selection process will take into account a variety of factors including the reviewers' ratings of each applicant's abstract(s) and the HDI of the submitter's primary affiliation.



Marisa Casillas, Rana Abu-Zhaya, and Caroline Rowland

Contact: mpal [at]

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