Dr. Nina Hyams

University of California, Los Angeles

Title: Children’s Sluices: Intervention and Evasion

Nina Hyams is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the City University of New York in 1983. Her primary research focus is first language acquisition, especially the early acquisition of syntax and morphosyntax. She has studied a broad array of developmental syntactic phenomena in various languages, including the development of functional structure in early grammar (e.g. null subjects, verb inflection and root infinitives), aspect and eventivity, binding principles and control, ergativity and auxiliary selection in Romance, raising structures and evidentiality, and most recently sluicing. In her work, Nina has made cross-linguistic comparisons of many areas of language development, using both naturalistic and experimental techniques. She has also explored the interaction of different components of language in development, for example, at the interface of syntax and semantics/pragmatics, as well as the effects of production vs. comprehension of early language.

You can find more information about Nina Hyams here.

Dr. Marit Westergaard

The Arctic University of Norway

Title: Micro-variation in Multilingual Situations and the Importance of Property-by-Property Acquisition

Marit Westergaard is Professor of English Linguistics at the Arctic University of Norway (UiT) in Tromsø and also holds a 20% professorship at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Marit has worked on many different aspects of language acquisition, including first, second, third and bilingual language acquisition with various language combinations, e.g. Norwegian-English or German-Russian. She has also worked on language attrition in heritage speakers. For many years, the focus of her research has been on the syntax of word order, but more recently, she has worked on the internal structure of the DP, especially grammatical gender, definiteness and word order in possessive constructions. Based on her work on variation in the input, she has developed the Micro-Cue Model, arguing that children do not learn by setting parameters, but are sensitive to fine distinctions in syntax and information structure from early on. Marit is involved in several research projects and networks. Together with Professor Terje Lohndal, she is the leader of the Acquisition, Variation & Attrition (AcqVA) research group. Marit is also co-leader of the MultiGender project A Multilingual Approach to Grammatical Gender at the Center for Advanced Study in Oslo (2019-2020).

You can find more information about Marit Westergaard here.

Dr. Sudha Arunachalam

New York University

Title: How characteristics of the learner and the language being learned shape the lexical acquisition process

Sudha Arunachalam is Associate Professor of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at New York University (NYU). She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. Her research focuses both on the first language acquisition of children who are developing typically and on children with language delay and other groups with language disorders. The focus of her research with these different groups of children has been on the word learning mechanisms underlying lexical acquisition, including verbal semantics and how caregiver-child interactions support word learning. In her work on verb learning, she has made cross-linguistic comparisons and studied children who are acquiring languages other than English, including Turkish, Korean, Mandarin Chinese and Hindi. Sudha’s work is interdisciplinary and integrates insights from the fields of communication disorders, linguistics, and cognitive and developmental psychology, and it involves different research methods with a focus on eye-tracking. She has been the principal investigator in several research projects and now leads two projects on language processing and word learning.

You can find more information about Sudha Arunachalam here.