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Invited Speakers


Elena Lieven                

Elena Lieven did her undergraduate degree and her Ph.D. on individual differences in early language development in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. She came to Manchester in 1979. During her years at Manchester she developed close research links with members of the Department of Psychology in the University of California, Berkeley and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics at Nijmegen and spent parts of her sabbatical leaves in both places. She was Editor of the Journal of Child Language from 1996–2005. In 1998 Professor Lieven was granted long-term unpaid leave to work at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. This funded the Max Planck Child Study Centre from 1998–2014, which was set up in the Manchester Department when she moved to Leipzig.  In 2012, she moved back to work in the Manchester School and, as well as continuing as Director of the Child Study Centre, took on the role of Centre lead in the newly formed Centre for Developmental Science and Disorders in the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health.  In 2014, the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) of which Elena is the Centre Director, was established across the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster on a 5-year grant.



Erika Hoff

Erika Hoff is Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University. Her research addresses the relations among properties of children’s early environments, their language experience, and their language development. She has studied effects of maternal education and effects of dual language exposure on children’s language growth. Her recent work focuses on the language development of children from Spanish-speaking homes in South Florida, in the US. She is a member of the US Bridging the Word Gap Research network, which focuses on interventions to remedy SES-related disparities in children’s early experience and language skills. She is Principal Investigator of a NICHD-funded longitudinal study of Spanish-English bilingual children in South Florida. She is the author of numerous articles and chapters and the editor of multiple books on early language development, including, with Peggy McCardle, Childhood Bilingualism: Research on Infancy through School Age.



Damián Blasi

Damián Blasi is a postdoc at the Department of Comparative Linguistics at the University of Zürich and a research affiliate at the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. He uses cross-linguistic data to investigate the dimensions of variation of natural languages, aiming to disentangle historical contingencies from regular pressures and constraints that arise from processing and cognition, human biology, or culture. In particular, within the ACQDIV team, led by Sabine Stoll (, he investigates language acquisition in non-WEIRD communities displaying sharply different grammatical profiles and cultures, with the ultimate goal of understanding what is language-specific and what is species-wide in the development of linguistic behavior. 



Last checked 2018-06-19 by Patricia Manko

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