Research

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UT Austin Statisticians Win Prestigious Award for Language Learning Research

UT Austin statisticians Giorgio Paulon and Abhra Sarkar have been awarded the prestigious Mitchell Prize for their paper on tone learning in adults. The Mitchell Prize, jointly sponsored by the American Statistical Association, the International Society for Bayesian Analysis, and the Mitchell Prize Founders’ Committee, is awarded annually to the author(s) of an outstanding paper…

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Adults CAN Learn New Languages Quickly

Contrary to one of the most-cited studies in the field, a new research paper from University of Kansas (KU) linguists shows that even as beginners, adults can quickly begin mentally processing sentence structures in a second language like a native speaker. “We were inspired by a study that is cited in our article as Osterhout…

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No Downside for Bilingual Kids

A first-of-its kind study in U.S.-born children from Spanish-speaking families has found that minority language exposure does not threaten the acquisition of English by children in the U.S. and that there is no trade-off between English and Spanish. Rather, children reliably acquire English, and their total language knowledge is greater in that they also acquire…

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Study Shows Preschool Boosts Graduation Rates

New research shows that attending a Boston public preschool led to positive long-term impacts on educational attainment as attendees were more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college. The short-term effect of preschool on test scores was minimal, but there was a substantial impact on student behavior. Effects were larger for boys…

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New Framework for Early Multilingual Learners

One-third of the nearly 23 million preschool-age children in the U.S. live with a parent who speaks a language other than English. Despite the size of this population and its distinct linguistic assets and learning support needs, nearly all states lack any standardized policies for systematically identifying these children. Yet doing so would provide the…

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Beyond Crises: Imagining Families and Communities

The recent shootings of Asian Americans and whether these will be considered hate crimes, tornadoes ravaging the Southwest and elsewhere, and fears of uncertain variants of the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the news during the writing of this piece. Crises, unfortunately, are not new to us. As educators, along with feeling deeply troubled by these, we…

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Study Shows Twins Learn Language Differently

A new study conducted by researchers at Georgia State University and Istanbul Bilgi University suggests that twins undergo language acquisition at a slightly different rate from their single-birth counterparts. The team of psychologists and linguists found that twins tend to use fewer physical gestures and lag behind single children in terms of language development, findings…

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‘Iconic’ Sounds May Be Missing Link to Language

‘Iconic’ sounds, rather than gestures, could be key to birth of language The missing link that helped our ancestors to begin communicating with each other through language may have been iconic sounds, rather than charades-like gestures—giving rise to the unique human power to coin new words describing the world around us, a new study reveals….

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Every Summer Counts

The largest and longest study of its kind on summer learning programs reveals short- and long-term benefits among students who consistently attended voluntary, five- to six-week summer learning programs. The findings suggest that these programs can be an important component of how school districts support learning and skill development among children in low-income communities. The…