by Ann Claycombe
GSU College of Arts and Sciences
The Language and Literacy Initiative held a day-long conference on March 30, featuring poster presentations from undergraduate and graduate students as well as a lecture from Brian MacWhinney of Carnegie Mellon University.
MacWhinney spoke to faculty and students on “Neurolinguistic Models and Language Disorders.” He is a professor of developmental and cognitive psychology who has developed a computational model of how children acquire grammar. More recently, his research has focused on second-language learning, and how the development of children with brain lesions reveals the neural basis of language.
Earlier in the day, graduate student Jennifer Beal Alvarez of Educational Psychology and Special Education gave an oral presentation of her research: “American Sign Language Classifier Production: An In-House Assessment.” Alvarez’ research centers on a method for measuring children’s progress in producing certain complicated language constructions.
In addition, 18 graduate students from four departments – all fellows with the initiative - presented posters, as did eight undergraduates from three departments.
The Language and Literacy Initiative is an interdisciplinary research and doctoral training program focused on the acquisition of language and literacy, particularly in individuals who have learning or developmental disabilities. The center supports both graduate and undergraduate research through fellowships.
The units that take part in the initiative are: Anthropology, Applied Linguistics, Communication, Early Childhood Education, Educational Policy Studies, Philosophy, the Center for Research on Atypical Development and Learning (CRADL), the Language Research Center (LRC), and the Regents’ Center for Learning Disorders (RCLD).