Our Stories

How Can Children Know So Much? The Mystery of First Language Acquisition

Contributed by Michael Witten, MSc.-SLP, Instructor for LING 471 First Language Acquisition How can children know so much with so little experience? As Plato considered this question, he famously theorized that children must be accessing information that was remembered from a pre-existence. Although few have accepted his explanation, the question has echoed in the thoughts […]


The Everyday Miracle

By Sandra Topelko Pensively I gaze across the chasm between you and I, interpreting the subtleties of thought exposed in your eyes. Did you parse my syntax? Did you decode my verbal expression? The echoes of my recently uttered words softly resonate in the recesses of my mind, filling the pregnant pause with reflection. With […]


A Growing Profession: Speech-Language Pathology

By Sandra Topelko   Did you know that 1 in 10 British Columbians has a speech, language, or hearing problem? That’s almost 400,000 people. Speech-Language Pathologists are autonomous professionals who have expertise in typical development and disorders of communication and swallowing, as well as assessment and intervention for these areas. Speech therapy sessions may consist […]


Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style

Professor David Crystal has written more than 100 books on language “We are at a momentous moment in the history of the full stop,” Professor Crystal, an honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor, said in an interview after he expounded on his view recently at the Hay Festival in Wales “In […]


New Pilot Earpiece Translates Languages for You in Real Time

The aspiration to remove language barriers with the help of technology is not new. A plethora of online translating tools have been launched in the past fifteen years, such as Google Translate, Babel Fish, and WorldLingo. If you carry a smartphone, you have a portable translation device. Computerized text-based translation tools have become increasingly sophisticated. […]


CanIL Electronic Working Papers Volume 1

Volume 1, 2015 Author Title Keywords Sean Allison Borrowings? Yes! But diffusion? A case of language contact in the Lake Chad basin Makary Kotoko, Kanuri, borrowings, calquing, diffusion Josh Cadd A comparison of anger in Kenyan Sign Language and English Kenyan Sign Language (KSL), anger, metaphor, prototypical cognitive model Moss Doerksen Over time over time: […]

By Larry Hayashi | CanILEWP

Inuktitut translators vote to adopt unified roman orthography system

  Languages commonly undergo a degree of change over time. Factors include borrowed words and influence from other languages, social and cultural shifts (ie. evolving ideas about political correctness, slang), new vocabulary to account for new technologies or practices, and much more. Changes such as these are assimilated by speakers gradually and aren’t usually noticeable […]


The Strange Persistence of First Languages

  Julie Sedivy, who has taught linguistics and psychology at Brown University and the University of Calgary, writes, “Those of us who received more than one language before the valves of our attention closed may find, to our surprise, that our earliest language lingers on in our soul’s select society, long after we thought it […]



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