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February 2016: Update from the LuCiD Centre

Science Spotlight

Language learning by numbers

In order to understand a language, children need to learn to spot the individual words it contains, and figure out whether these words are following any particular sets of rules. This is difficult to do,  especially as there are no pauses between spoken words to help them. Although these tasks seem incredibly complex, both infants and adults are great at learning how to do them. Dr Rebecca Frost explains in this blog.


The dog that didn’t bark: Uncovering the hidden grammatical impairment in Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Rain Man both tell the story of people with certain kinds of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who nevertheless have some remarkable spared abilities. Although almost all children with ASD suffer some type of language impairment, many researchers have argued that grammar is often a spared ability of this type. The idea is that while children with ASD seem to have poor language on the surface, this may be largely due to their impaired social skills. Their knowledge of grammar – the invisible rules under the surface – is actually pretty good (i.e., it’s that they don’t know what to say rather than how to say it). In order to test this idea, Dr Ben Ambridge conducted a study that looked at what children with ASD know about language, rather than just what they say. Find out more.

Read our Nursery World Articles

We have written 6 articles for Nursery World Magazine covering different aspects of child language and communicative development, including how children learn words and how different cultures approach language learning. The articles provide advice on how to support children learning to talk and dispel some common myths! Read the articles here

Blog: What's in a name?  Diagnostic Labels Matter  

At first sight, the issue of what label we use to describe language learning difficulties seems a trivial one. But in her blog, Prof Caroline Rowland explains why it's so important to get this right and be consistent.

LuCiD on film at Manchester Museum!

We were at the Manchester Museum recently for our event, Kids Say the Funniest Things, a weekend of family friendly fun activities linked to how children learn to talk. Local TV Station, That's Manchester, paid us a visit and made this short film. We also recorded a series of informal talks delivered by our researchers. You can watch these videos here.

Upcoming Events

12 February: Discover the science behind how children learn to talk

LuCiD will feature at this year's Stockport Consortium of Nursery Schools Annual Conference, with researchers from the Centre presenting a series of talks and workshops on how children learn to talk for local early years practitioners.

1 March: LuCiD Seminar - Executive functions and language development

Prof Gary Morgan (City University) will present the next LuCiD seminar in Manchester. This is part of the LuCiD lunchtime seminar series, which is free and open to anyone wishing to attend.

14-18 March: #SLT Learn Online Event

Prof Padraic Monaghan will give a talk on children's early vocabulary development during this week of online talks for SLTs organised by Pearson Clinical Assessment. Full details to be confirmed soon- keep checking the LuCiD events pages for more information.

23-25 June: Fifth Implicit Learning Seminar, Lancaster University

LuCiD will be represented at this three-day international conference that draws together leading researchers from a variety of disciplines (cognitive psychology, neuroscience, computer science, linguistics) who share an interest in the cognitive and neural bases of implicit-statistical learning. Find out more.

Talk to me!

Get in touch if you would like us to talk at one of your events. We're experienced in talking to groups on a range of child language development issues. Contact our Centre Manager, Helen Allwood for more information.

Parents & Caregivers Corner


Your Questions Answered!
Why is it important to study child language? Why do children make errors when learning to talk? Does is matter if children learn more than one language? These are just some of the questions we answer in new videos for our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section. Watch the videos here. If you have a question we haven't yet answered, get in touch!

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

Resources for Practitioners

Evidence Briefing: Myths and Misconceptions about language development in multilingual children
According to the 2011 Census, 39% of UK primary school children speak English as an additional language. It is therefore crucial that early years professionals are able to give honest, accurate advice to parents and other practitioners about what we might expect of these children in terms of their language development. This evidence briefing details and debunks a number of misconceptions about multilingual language development. 

Free Materials for Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs)
We have a number of free comprehension and elicitation resources available for SLTs to use to check individual children's understanding of different aspects of language. These are accompanied by a webinar that Prof Julian Pine delivered as part of the Pearson #SLT Learn online event. Access these resources here.
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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