Many Paths to Language (MPaL) 2023

25 October 2023 - 27 October 2023
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 conference 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.

Invited speakers (click here for abstracts)

Judith Gervain (Universita degli Studi di Padova)

The neural basis of early speech perception in hearing and deaf/hard-of-hearing infants

Leher Singh (National University of Singapore)

Breaking into Language: Diversity, representations, and limits on generalizability


Invited symposium speakers in honour of Anne Cutler (afternoon of Wednesday 25th October) are:

Melanie Soderstrom (University of Manitoba)

Understanding infants’ preference for infant-directed speech through large scale collaborative science 

Thierry Nazzi (Université Paris Descartes)

At the interface of phonology and the lexicon: a crosslinguistic Cantonese/French comparison 

Claartje Levelt (Leiden University)

Pitch processing in Japanese and Dutch infants: same or different?

Pre-conference workshop

On Tuesday 24th October there will be an online pre-conference workshop, featuring a morning session on Open Access Publications and Open Data by Jennifer Sander and Dirk van Gorp (10.00-13.00 CEST), and a late afternoon session by Michael Frank and Alvin Tan from Stanford University on Wordbank (15.00-18.00 CEST). More details can be found here:

Abstract submission

Abstract submission deadline is now extended to Friday June 9th at midnight (anywhere in the world). Authors will be notified of presentation decisions before August 1, 2023.


The conference will take place on October 25th-27th, 2023, at the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and online.


Registration opens for presenters on August 1, 2023, and for other attendees on August 14, 2023. Attending the conference is free but we do require registration.
Both in-person and online participation is possible but in-person places are limited so please register early.
If you require access accommodations (e.g. international sign interpretation, breastfeeding room etc.) please register by September 10th, 2023. We cannot promise to provide accommodations for people who register after September 10th.

Registration closed at midnight (anywhere in the world) on Sunday October 15th, 2023.

If you still want to register for the pre-conference workshop please visit the website.



We have noticed that hotels in Nijmegen are filling up quickly. So please make sure to make your reservation in time. Other places with good train connections to Nijmegen are Arnhem or Elst (approx. 20 minutes). 

Warning Travellerpoint

If you receive emails from Travellerpoint (travellerpoint add link2saferpaydotcom), please be careful. The email asks for your payment for your hotelreservation in Nijmegen (Mercure Hotel Nijmegen Centre).
We are doing all we can to avoid this from happening.
Please, ignore the emails and do not reply nor click on any link given by them. You can also block the domain on your email client.



Caroline Junge, Caroline Rowland, Clara Kunst, Heike Behrens, Ilse van den Dobbelsteen, Jennifer Sander, Joyce van Zwet, Marisa Casillas, Mieke Slim, Paula Fikkert, Rowena Garcia, Tineke Snijders, Yayun Zhang


MPAL 2023

Full program



MPaL [at]

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