Dr Sterre Leufkens, former UvA PhD candidate and now assistant professor in Dutch linguistics at Utrecht University, is the guest speaker at this ACLC seminar. Her talk will be about 'The typology of learnability: A tale of two projects'.
In this talk I will present two projects revolving around language learnability. The first is a knowledge utilization project in which typological data have been made accessible to Dutch teachers with students who do not speak Dutch at home. Learning about similarities and differences between the structure of Dutch and the structure of the primary languages of these students enables teachers to anticipate on possible problems and opportunities, make better use of the language capital present in their classrooms, and enhances positive attitudes about languages and multilingualism. While this project is an application of existing typological knowledge, the second project seeks to find new insight into differences in the learnability of languages by studying redundancy: the multiple expression of a singular meaning. Redundancy has been claimed to facilitate language processing and acquisition, but paradoxically, when agreement is concerned, it is also claimed to be one of the most difficult features that languages have. I will argue that to understand the relation between redundancy and learnability, we first need to explore what redundancy is and how it is manifested in different languages of the world. I will explore the concept of redundancy and present results of an attempt to establish differences in redundancy between languages
The ACLC seminar series is a two weekly lecture series organized by the ACLC, research school for linguistics of the Faculty of Humanities.