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Nijmegen Lectures 2018, February 26-28 -

Lecturer & Discussants

 Lecturer Elena Lieven

Lecturer Elena Lieven

Elena Lieven is Professor in the Division of Human Communication, Development and Hearing at the University of Manchester.  She completed her undergraduate degree, and her Ph.D. on individual differences in early language development, in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, and then moved to an academic position at the University of Manchester. In 1998, she was invited to work for the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, while also running the Max Planck Child Study Centre in Manchester.  From 1996 – 2005, she was Editor of the Journal of Child Language

In 2012, she moved back to Manchester where she is Director of the Child Study Centre and, since 2014,  Managing Director of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD: ; a collaborative research centre established across the Universities of Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster, funded by a 5-year grant from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). 

Elena’s principal areas of research are: The emergence and construction of grammar; the relationship between input characteristics and the process of language development; and variation in children’s communicative and linguistic environments.


The discussants for Monday, February 26, 2018

James McQueen is Professor of Speech and Learning at Radboud University, Nijmegen. He studied Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford and obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He is a Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (Centre for Cognition) and is an affiliated researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. His research focusses on learning and processing in spoken language: How do listeners learn the sounds and words of their native and non-native languages, and how do they recognize them? His research on speech learning concerns initial acquisition processes and ongoing processes of perceptual adaptation. His research on speech processing addresses core computational problems (such as the variability and segmentation problems). He has a multi-disciplinary perspective on psycholinguistics, combining insights from cognitive psychology, phonetics, linguistics, and neuroscience.

Peter Hagoort is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and the founding Director of the Donders Institute, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN, 1999). In addition, he is Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Radboud University Nijmegen. His own research interests relate to the domain of the human language faculty and how it is instantiated in the brain. In his research he applies neuroimaging techniques such as ERP, MEG, PET and fMRI to investigate the language system and its impairments, as in aphasia, dyslexia and autism. The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts Sciences (KNAW) awarded him with the Hendrik Mullerprijs in 2003. In 2004 he was awarded by the Dutch Queen with the "Knighthood of the Dutch Lion". In 2005 he received the NWO-Spinoza Prize (M€ 1.5). In 2007 the University of Glasgow awarded him with an honorary doctorate in science for his contributions to the cognitive neuroscience of language. In 2008 he was awarded with the Heymans Prize. In 2012 the KNAW acknowledged his career contribution to cognitive neuroscience with the Academy Professorship Prize (M€ 1.0). Peter Hagoort is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen, and the Academia Europaea.

Simon E. Fisher is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and Professor of Language and Genetics at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. Simon Fisher obtained his Natural Sciences degree from Cambridge University, and his Human Genetics D.Phil. from Oxford University. From 1996-2002, as a postdoctoral researcher at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (WTCHG) in Oxford, he carried out genomic investigations of neurodevelopmental disorders such as dyslexia and specific language impairment, and was co-discoverer of FOXP2, the first gene to be implicated in speech and language acquisition. From 2002-2010, Simon Fisher was a Royal Society Research Fellow running his own laboratory at the WTCHG, where his team used state-of-the-art methods to uncover how language-related genes impact on brain development. His research has a strong interdisciplinary remit, integrating data from genetics/genomics, psychology, neuroscience, developmental biology and evolutionary anthropology. Simon Fisher's awards include the Francis Crick Medal and Lecture, and the Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize.


The discussants for Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Petra Hendriks is Professor of Semantics and Cognition at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Groningen. She obtained a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Groningen in 1995. Between 1993 and 2005, she developed and taught in the B.Sc. and M.Sc. programmes of Cognitive Science and Engineering, before returning to the Faculty of Arts. There she led several research projects, including a project on asymmetries between comprehension and production in child language funded by a Vici grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded in 2006. Collaborating with researchers in artificial intelligence, psychology, philosophy and medical sciences, she aims to bridge the gap between formal models of language and empirical research on language development and use. Her research focuses on semantics, pragmatics and language development and addresses the interplay between linguistic and cognitive processes in typical and atypical language development, including language development in children with autism and children with cochlear implants. She has been a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) since 2013. In 2016, she was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Anna Theakston
is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Manchester UK, Co-Director of the ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD), and Treasurer for the International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL). Her research interests span multiple areas of children’s acquisition of language including: early communicative gesture, morphological development, multiword speech, complex syntax, and the interplay between language and other cognitive processes. Using multi-method and cross-linguistic approaches, much of her work has focussed on the relation between children’s input and their developing linguistic knowledge.


The discussants for Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bencie Woll has been involved in research on sign language for nearly 40 years, starting with research at the University of Bristol where she was a co-founder of the Centre for Deaf Studies, pioneering research on the linguistics of British Sign Language and on Deaf Studies. She moved to City University London in 2005 to take up the first ever chair in this field in Britain. From City University London she moved in 2005 to University College London (UCL), where she is a Professor of Sign Language and Deaf Studies. In 2006, together with colleagues at UCL and City, she founded DCAL (the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre), and served as Director until 2016. Her research and teaching interests embrace a wide range of topics related to sign language, including the linguistics of British Sign Language (BSL) and other sign languages, the history and sociolinguistics of BSL and the Deaf community, the development of BSL in young children, and sign language and the brain, including developmental and acquired sign language impairments.

Ludovica Serratrice started her career as a simultaneous interpreter in Italy before obtaining an MA in language acquisition from the University of Essex, and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Edinburgh. Ludovica Serratrice then joined the University of Manchester where she developed her research interests in language development in bilingual children with a particular focus on linguistic phenomena that cut across language structure and language use; issues of discourse-pragmatic constraints on referential and syntactic choice have featured prominently in her work. Joining the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism at the University of Reading in 2016 has given Ludovica Serratrice the opportunity to work closely with speech and language therapists and teachers on public engagement to raise awareness of multilingual language development and of developmental language disorder. Her current work with bilingual children includes a longitudinal study of determinants of listening comprehension, the development of morphological and syntactic awareness, and peer-to-peer communication with monolinguals.

Stephen C. Levinson is Emeritus Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and Professor of Comparative Linguistics at Radboud University Nijmegen. He is the author of over 300 publications on language and cognition. His research focusses on language diversity and its implications for theories of human cognition. Language is the only animal communication system that differs radically in form and meaning across social groups of the same species, a fact that has been neglected in the cognitive sciences. His work attempts both to grasp what this diversity is all about, and to exploit it as a way of discovering the role that language plays in our everyday cognition. The ability of children to master any of these diverse languages may owe less to native knowledge of language structure than to rich universals of interactive language use, which allow infants to bootstrap up into the local language.


Last checked 2018-02-21 by Ina Grevel

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