This year was the seventh CCERBAL Conference under the theme of Bilingual from Birth: Process, Pedagogy and Policy. It has been very attractive as we welcomed more than 100 participants from everywhere around the globe.
The first invited keynote speaker we welcomed was Dr. Thierry Nazzi. He is a Research Director in the Labo Psychologie de la Perception at CNRS - Université Paris V Descartes. He is also an Associate Editor for the Journal Language and Speech. Dr. Nazzi's research focuses on the acquisition of language by infants and children in relation with sensorimotor aspects. He has a prolific publication record and has published in the top journals relating to child language and language acquisition.
Our second invited keynote speaker was Dr. Linda Polka. Linda is a Full Professor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at McGill University. Dr. Polka's research focuses on the development of speech perception during infancy, for which she has received tri-council funding. The goal of her work is to understand the skills and biases that the infants bring to this task and how their speech processing changes with age and language experience. Dr. Polka is one of the few researchers examining French-English bilingual infants in the Canadian context. Her innovative work on infant simultaneous bilinguals has been oft-cited and featured in the Canadian media.
Our third invited keynote speaker was Dr. Erika Hoff. Erika is a world leader in research on simultaneous bilingualism. She is currently a Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University. Her academic specialty is vocabulary development in infants and toddlers acquiring English and Spanish in bilingual communities in the United States. She has received funding for her research from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Hoff serves on the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Study of Child Language.
During those two days of conference, we learnt more on researchers, teachers, and policy makers who need to consider each bilingual child’s unique universe. A full schedule compose with plenary sessions, invited round tables, individual communications as well as poster sessions also focus on the same topic. Because environment affects bilingualism on every level, bilinguals are not created the same due to the languages being learned, parental language skills, the culture, etc. Then, we understand that a simultaneous bilingual does not equal to two monolinguals because the two groups differ on norms. Challenges and questions are inevitable: What are bilingualism measures, since they differ from monolingual measures? Who are the bilinguals? How can we protect and promote bilingualism?
A special thanks to Nicole Thibault who presented the reality of bilingualism through personal life, travels and the business life throughout very personal stories as inspiring one to another. To consult her full speech, click here.
We want to thank Christopher Fennell, PhD, Richard Clément, PhD, FRSC and the organizing committee for the 2016 CCERBAL Conference, seventh conference of University of Ottawa OLBI’s research centre.
We also invite you to visit the official web page of CCERBAL to view the presentations that took place during the conference.