CG-DS MorphoSyntax
Marie Curie Reintegration Grant
ASLD Conference [SCHEDULE]

This conference is a dissemination activity for the CGDS Morphosyntax project funded by Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (FP7/2007-2013, no. PCIG11-GA-2012-322005), The Development of Cypriot Greek in Individuals with Down Syndrome: Their Morphosyntactic Profile, and the Effects of Phonetics and Phonology. Here you can go directly to the project website.

Advances in the Sciences of Language Disorders
(with financial support from the University of Cyprus and the UCY Department of English Studies)

This conference aims to contribute to our understanding of language development in individuals diagnosed with a language disorder (acquired or genetic). Acquired disorders like aphasia may cause severe cognitive and linguistic restrictions. Most genetic disorders have been reported to result in severe intellectual impairment. The study of the grammar of individuals diagnosed with genetic disorders such as Down Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Autism, and others has the potential of helping to answer the guiding question: To what extent does intellectual impairment make it impossible to develop grammar? It is often assumed that due to cognitive restrictions the linguistic system is also affected. A number of studies, however, provide evidence that intellectual challenges do not necessarily prevent the development of language (e.g., Bellugi et al. 1988 and Clahsen et al. 2004 for Williams Syndrome, Smith & Tsimpli 1995 for language savantism). Comparisons with typically developing children show greater or minimal variability, depending on a number of factors such as age, speech–language services (therapy, rehabilitation, intervention), methodology of data collection, language-specific characteristics, genetic make-up, etc.

Innovative methods of more effective and inclusive study, analysis and rehabilitation to improve the linguistic abilities of individuals diagnosed with a language disorder have emerged over the past few years. With this meeting we aim to bring together some of those methods.

Special Section on Down Syndrome:

One of these genetic disorders is Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome is the most common cause of intellectual challenges, with the possible exception of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Despite of this, it has not been studied extensively across different languages. Cross-linguistic inconsistencies on the (morpho)syntactic abilities of individuals with Down Syndrome suggest that perhaps language-specific characteristics could affect the way we view the linguistic abilities of individuals with Down Syndrome. In addition, the variability in studies on a specific language like English, or across different languages, ranging from "low functioning" individuals with minimal or no language production to highly proficient individuals, could also suggest that Down Syndrome may spread across a spectrum. The variability in their linguistic abilities may depend on a number of different factors related to either the genome—i.e. different types of Down Syndrome: trisomy 21, translocation or mosaic—or other factors independent of the genetic make-up.

This special section aims to contribute to our understanding of language development in individuals diagnosed with Down Syndrome and explore the linguistic challenges that they face during or after the process of language acquisition. Physiological and linguistic restrictions cause productions by individuals with Down Syndrome to differ from those of typically developing individuals. Determining the nature of those differences and exploring how they relate across different languages may offer a different insight as to how the language of individuals with Down Syndrome develops. It may also serve as a window into the properties of the human language faculty.

Location: University of Cyprus, Nicosia
CAT Lab, Kallipoleos Campus
Dates: June 20–21, 2015

PROGRAM: Saturday will be a full day of presentations (three sessions) centered around the keynote lectures by Prof. Mabel Rice (University of Kansas) and Prof. Naama Friedmann (Tel-Aviv University) as well as the invited lecture by Dr. Violetta Anastasiadou (Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics). On Sunday, there will be two long sessions and the conference conclusion, so that we can finish in the early afternoon. You can download the final schedule from here.

There will be no participation fee. Coffee breaks, snacks, and lunch will be provided.

For your planning purposes, please note that Prof. Rice will also deliver an open lecture in Limassol on Thursday, June 18. If you intend to come to that as well, and perhaps turn your trip to Cyprus into a mini-holiday, please let us know and we will help you arrange accommodation and transportation.

(All options are located in the city centre, with easy access to public transportation.)

If you want to do a direct reservation, please mention that you are with the ASLD conference at the University of Cyprus to get the special prices listed above.

There are also some other options:

For those presenters who have not yet confirmed their participation, please do so at your earliest convenience.