IWL Speaker Series - Dr. David Birdsong, March 17

Event Date: 
03/17/2016 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
New Cabell 299A


Dr. David Birdsong, University of Texas at Austin

Looking Inside and Beyond the Critical Period Hypothesis. 

With the goal of providing a state-of-the-art analytical review of critical period (CP) research in language development, I examine several recent studies (published and unpublished) that argue for, or against, CP constraints on L1 and L2 acquisition. Specific considerations include: bio-chemical and environmental regulation of CP phases in language acquisition; the cognitive neuroscience of aging; geometric features of CPs; bilingual first language development; and nativelike attainment in L2 acquisition. Looking back on earlier research, I identify pitfalls in key studies. Looking forward, I suggest ways to reconcile known biological influences in L2 acquisition with other well-studied factors and with the nature of bilingualism.  Examples from the acquisition of French and English are featured. 


David Birdsong is Professor of French Linguistics and current chair of the Department of French and Italian at The University of Texas at Austin.  He has published in such journals as Language, Journal of Memory & Language, Language Learning, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Applied Linguistics, International Review of Applied Linguistics, and Language, Interaction, and Acquisition.   He has also contributed to The New Handbook of Second Language Acquisition, Handbook of Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Approaches, The Handbook of Applied Linguistics, and The Handbook of Educational Linguistics. His research involves theoretical and experimental approaches to issues of language dominance and age in bilingualism.