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August 2016

Science Spotlight

Toddler robots help solve the language puzzle

Imagine a toddler playing with a toy duck, a toy rabbit, and a brand new, orange toy with a very long neck. The toddler’s mum or dad points at the toys and says “Look, giraffe!”. But how does the child know what “giraffe” means? Is it the colour of the toys? The game being played? Another word for “rabbit”, perhaps? “Giraffe” could refer to anything the child can see, hear, taste or smell! Despite having to solve this puzzle every time they hear a new word, by around a year babies begin to speak. But where do robots come in? Find out in this blog.


The Canberra Longitudinal Child Language Project

Dr Evan Kidd shares all the latest from the CLCL project, a sister project to Language 0-5, taking place at the Australian National University Language Lab. Read Evan's blog.

It's not just what you said, but how you said it: Natural language cues assist language processing

Antony Trotter explains that we can look to information contained within speech itself to help us learn a particular linguistic feature: recursive grammar. Read Antony's blog.

EIF Report: Foundations for Life

We recently hosted a meeting of organisations working to improve language and communication in the early years, where we discussed a draft of the Early Interventions Foundation Report Foundations for Life: What Works to improve parent child interaction in the early years, with a specific focus on content relating to promoting language and communication. Read about the meeting and our thoughts on the report.

Article: Learning about Language Acquisition

In this article for eMagazine, Amy Bidgood explains why it's important to gain a full picture of how children learn to communicate with language and how the Language 0-5 project is addressing this need. Read the eMagazine article.

Upcoming Events

21-22 September 2016:
The LuCiD 2nd Language and Communicative Development Conference

The draft programme for this year's conference which will be held at the Manchester Museum is now available. Prof Dorothy Bishop will give the keynote. To register for the conference please email Mickie Glover.

Ongoing: LuCiD's 2016/17 Seminar Series Programme Published

LuCiD's successful seminar programme is back for its third year. Seminars are open to anyone wishing to attend. View the 2016/17 programme.

Blog: International Congress on Infant Studies (ICIS) 2016

Lancaster PhD Student, Ellie Smith shares her experience from the 2016 ICIS conference in New Orleans in this blog.

LuCiD Travel Grants 

LuCiD is offering travel awards for study visits to our partners or related overseas research institutes. The purpose of the visits should be to develop the applicant’s research skills. Find out more.

New Evidence Briefings


How does shared book-reading help boost child language development in the early years?

This evidence briefing summarises the evidence for the role of shared-book reading in children’s language development in the early years (0-5 years). It covers, quite broadly, book-reading situations in which an adult and child (or group of children) sit down to share books together.

The impact of baby sign on infants and their parents

Baby sign teaches parents to use key word signs or gestures with their preverbal infant and is claimed to improve a range of outcomes for both the infant and their parents, including accelerated language acquisition, increased IQ and enhanced bonding. This evidence briefing provides an objective account of the available evidence that has evaluated the impact of baby sign on infants and their parents.

Resources for Practitioners

Access presentations from the Stockport Consortium of Nursery Schools Conference 

Language development was the focus of this year's conference for early years practitioners in Stockport. LuCiD scientists presented the latest research on creating the best environments for language learning, the difference between 2 year olds and 3 year olds, and much more. Access all the presentations here.


Watch #SLTLearn webinar: How children learn words and how we can support the early stages of language acquisition 

Prof Padraic Monaghan gave this webinar on early language development for Pearson's #SLTLearn event in March. The webinar is available to watch online (it's free, but you have to register) and the slides are also available. All of our resources for SLTs can be found on our website.

Parents & Caregivers Corner


From signing to 'sensory': can trendy baby classes really boost a child's development?

Parent and baby classes are increasingly popular, and the choice greater than ever. Many of these courses promise a range of benefits, for example, signing classes and music groups are often claimed to boost language development. But given that these classes are often expensive and take up time from doing other parent-child activities, do they really deliver any of the benefits they claim? Amy Bidgood explores the benefits of these classes in this article.

Take part in our research

We are currently looking for parents of children aged 0-5 in the Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester areas who would be willing to come into our babylabs to take part in our research. Find out more about taking part in one of our studies

The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) is a 5 year collaboration between the universities of Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester. Our mission is to bring about a step change in the understanding of how children learn to communicate with language, and deliver the evidence base necessary to design effective interventions in early years’ education and healthcare. We are funded by the 
Economic and Social Research Council under the Centres and Large Grants Scheme (ref: ES/L008955/1). Our funding runs from September 2014 to August 2019. 
Copyright © 2016 LuCiD, All rights reserved.

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