We are delighted to announce our guest speakers for this conference. They are renowned scholars in their fields. The titles for their talks and their abstracts are now available. Please scroll down for further information about their work.
Andrew Radford is currently the Head of Department in the Department of Language and Linguistics at University of Essex. His research interests include both Minimalist Syntax/English Syntax and acquisition.
Title: Language Mixing and Accommodation in Bilingual Children
Abstract: In this talk, I look at what happens when bilingual children switch between a modifier in one language and a noun in another. Particular attention is paid to how children deal with potential gender mismatches between modifier and noun in cases where one of the languages has grammatical gender but the other does not, or where one of the languages has three genders and the other two. I argue that bilingual children accommodate the gender properties of the noun to those of its modifiers in such cases, in order to ensure convergence (i.e. a grammatical outcome).
Mike Sharwood-Smith is the Chair of Languages at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. His research interests include cognitive processes in second language acquisition.
Title: Transfer versus Translation: On the Modular Interpretation of Linguistic Performance
Abstract: MOGUL is a theoretical framework initially proposed by Truscott and Sharwood Smith in 2004 (see also http://www.hw.ac.uk/langWWW/mogul), the linguistic part of which is based on Ray Jackendoff's architecture of the language faculty. One advantage of Jackendoff's approach is that it not only has 'psychological' reality in that, like other proposals within the generative tradition, it claims to account for linguistic knowledge in the individual and the logical problem of language acquisition, it also has what might called 'psycholinguistic' reality in that it makes claims about the architecture of on-line language processing as well. MOGUL extends this psycholinguistic account into claims about the developmental mechanisms of transition between one state and the next. It also includes a coherent description and explanation of the role of conscious grammar in both first and second language use as also its acquisition.
MOGUL permits some perhaps surprising applications of Occams Razor, for example the dismissal of anything like a 'language acquisition device' and the exclusion of any idea of languages being differentiated in the core language modules, apparently making switching between languages impossible and leading to multilingual chaos in performance. After discussing the main features of the MOGUL framework, the discussion will therefore consider in more detail the nature of bilingual/multilingual performance . The focus will be two distinct phenomena: a) translation, involving a high degree of conscious activity, and what has been traditionally referred to as 'transfer' in the SLA literature and which in some respects reflects mental activity that is inaccessible to the listener/speaker. Some claims made within MOGUL, especially the way in which different languages are represented in the mind, might lead at first glance to the conclusion that the act of translation is simply not possible. How can this conclusion be avoided? This discussion will finish by considering some implications of a more practical nature.
Bonnie Schwartz, Department of Second Language Studies, University of Hawai'i is currently visiting research professor at Newcastle University from mid-May until mid-August 2008. Her research interests include second language acquisition of syntax.
Title: Island sensitivity in development: L2 adults, L2 children and L1 youths
You can download the abstract in MS Word format here