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Linguistics: Child Language Development With Dr Evelyne Mercure From Goldsmiths, University of London

March 4 @ 09:10 - 09:55

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In this live interactive Linguistics session, we will be joined by Dr Evelyne Mercure, a leading academic in the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, who will explore Child Language Development.

Have you ever wondered when we begin to learn our mother tongue? Why do babies babble? How do they know what new words refer to?

This interactive session will discuss the early milestones of language development in the first two years of life. Using videos of toddlers in serious conversation with others, we will reflect on the process of first language acquisition in babies.

We will first present the phenomenon of perceptual narrowing that allows a baby to transition from being a universal language listener to one specialised in the sounds of their native language. We will then discuss how infants progress from babbling to vocabulary acquisition and how the introduction of grammar allows them to gradually produce more complete sentences.

You will never see a baby in the same way after finding out about the subtle (and less subtle) ways in which they communicate their thoughts and after discovering their incredible power as language learning machines!


Lecturer Profile: Dr Evelyne Mercure


Our events are designed so that a group of students can take part from a classroom, or students and teachers can take part as individuals, either from school or from home. This means that sessions will continue irrespective of possible school closures.

As a live, participative event, this session will not be recorded but slides and other resources, where available, will be shared afterwards.


Suitable for: Key Stage 5, and equivalent, students studying or with an interest in studying Linguistics and related subjects. Teachers and members of school staff, as always, are welcome too and participants can join as individuals from school/college or home, or as a group from school/college.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Students may wish to consider the topic and any questions they would like to ask. Questions about studying at university level can also be considered.

The IT Setup: The event will be run on Zoom and participants will be able to join using laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are joining as a school group, we recommend connecting with one device and projecting on to a whiteboard. You will be able to interact with the university via a microphone and/or typed comments and questions. Full details will be sent to those who have registered (see below) prior to the event.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you would like to take part in this event, please register your interest using the link to the registration form below:


Register here