Acquisition of Discourse Phenomena Across Languages and Populations (ADILP)

Location: Center for General Linguistics (ZAS), Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, German, Room 308
Date: 15-17 October, 2015
Contact Email: adilp(at)
Organizers: Center for General Linguistics (Dagmar Bittner, Natalia Gagarina, Antje Sauermann) and Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS (UiL OTS) (Pim Mak, Elena Tribushinina, Ted Sanders)

Invited Speakers:

  • Ira Noveck, French National Centre for Scientific Research
  • Elizabeth Peña, University of Texas at Austin, USA
  • Carol Westby, University of Vermont and Brigham Young University, USA

Discourse is an essential communicative and cognitive facility of a person to express her thoughts and affections in cohesive and logical utterances in speech and writing. Acquisition of discourse phenomena in preschool children is crucial not only for their reading and writing proficiency and for their further school accomplishment, but also for their successful cognitive and societal development in general.

In recent years various studies have investigated the acquisition of different phenomena at the discourse level and demonstrated that this competence begins to emerge at preschool age (Wijnen, Roeper & van der Meulen 2003; Kühnast, Roeper & Bittner 2009; O’Neill & Holmes 2002; Song & Fisher 2005; Sekerina, Stromswold & Hestvik 2004; Song & Fisher 2007; Pyykkönen, Matthews & Järvikivi 2010, cf. also Westby 2004). Recent cross-linguistic studies show that children at the preschool age are able to master non-overt anaphoric device, to comprehend, distinguish and interpret pronouns, to reintroduce characters while narrating, to use pronouns and connectors in discourse. However, important developments in this domain extend far beyond age four.

The main objective of the conference is to trace the acquisition of various discourse phenomena, such as referential and relational coherence on the level of microstructure and the development of the story grammar, implicatures and mental state language on the level of macrostructure. Studies based on empirical data from monolingual and bilingual children with and without SLI are welcome. In particular, we are interested in combined and separated effects of grammatical properties of the first and the second language, bilingualism and SLI in the domain of referential, relational discourse coherence and the organization­­ of the macrostructural level of texts.

The conference will serve as a communication platform for researchers from different theoretical backgrounds. Additionally, this event aims at building a bridge between language acquisition research and clinical practice: the conference will host a workshop elaborating on the implications of the discourse research and related research projects for clinical practice.

Important dates:

  1. Abstract submission deadline: April 15, 2015
  2. Notification of acceptance: April 30, 2015


500 words, excluding references for oral or poster presentations, should be sent to adilp(at)

Conference fee:

There will be no conference fee.