Usage-based Approaches to Language, Language Learning, and Multilingualism

March 14-16, 2014
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

GURT 2014 will take place at the Edward C. Bunn Intercultural Center, commonly referred to as ICC. Please check the complete program for specific locations.

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GURT 2014 will bring together research from various usage-based perspectives in order to explore (a) how communicative context and language use, in interaction with general cognitive processes, shape the properties of language, language change, and language learning and (b) the consequences of bilingualism and multilingualism for usage-based theorizing and investigation.

Researchers who take a usage-based perspective (broadly defined) have argued that linguistic structure cannot be fully understood if isolated from the study of how language is employed to create meaning. Moreover, an increasing number of researchers from the fields of first language acquisition, second language acquisition, bilingualism, and multilingualism have argued that language learning is guided in crucial ways by the contexts of meaningful communication in which language use is embedded. Overlapping strands of investigation pursued by these researchers include:

  1. the importance of general human cognitive processes in interaction with the physical-social world in shaping cognition and language;
  2. the connection between linguistic form and function;
  3. the importance of frequency and saliency in the input on language learning and language change;
  4. the centrality of diversity and variability in explaining language and language learning; and
  5. the connections between language, language learning, and general properties of cognition.

These insights call for new levels of interdisciplinarity in the study of language and multilingualism in the brain/mind, in schools/classrooms, and in society/communities.

GURT 2014 will be held in conjunction with CASPSLaP 2014 (Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology).

Plenary Speakers

Joan Bybee
University of New Mexico

Nick C. Ellis
University of Michigan

Adele Goldberg
Princeton University

Elena Lieven
Max Planck Institute & University of Manchester

Elissa Newport
Georgetown University

Invited Colloquia

Language Learning Round Table:
New and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Linguistic Relativity
– Panos Athanasopoulos, Emanuel Bylund, & Daniel Casasanto

Discourse and Cognitive Linguistics
– Carol Moder

The Unity of Teaching-Learning
– James P. Lantolf, Joan Kelly Hall, & Karen E. Johnson

Systemic Functional Grammar and Multilingual Learning
– Heidi Byrnes & Christian Matthiessen

Usage-based Phonology of Spanish
– Alfonso Morales-Front & Elizabeth Kissling