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50th Anniversary Linguistics Colloquium | Individual Differences Matter: Internal and External Factors in Early Language Learning, March 18

The Linguistics Colloquium series presents Ohio University alumna Dr. He Sun discussing “Individual Differences Matter: Internal and External Factors in Early Language Learning” on Friday, March 18,  from 12:55 to 1:50 p.m. via Microsoft TEAMS.


Contact Dr. David Bell, associate professor and chair of Linguistics at Ohio University.


Sun is a research scientist at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and earned an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the College of Arts & Sciences in 2010.


Abstract: Factors that explain individual differences in language acquisition have been studied in details for monolingual child first language learners and adult second language learners (Dörnyei & Skehan, 2003; Hoff, 2006), but they have not been studied extensively in child bilingual/second/foreign learners until recent years (Chondrogianni & Marinis, 2011; Paradis, 2011; Sun, Steinkrauss, Tenderio, & de Bot, 2016; Sun, Yin, Amsah, & O’Brien, 2018). Those studies focused on early bilingual language and literacy development tended to explore the significance of individual predictors but not adopted a comprehensive view to examine them as a whole. The comprehensive perspective is crucial as development is probabilistic and a model without taking the internal-external linkage could be misleading (Bornstein & Leventhal, 2015). The linkage could be both at the level of individual factors (i.e., threshold effects; Sunderman & Kroll, 2009) and at the level of a group of factors (i.e. relative weight; Sun, et al., 2018). The current webinar would discuss the impact of internal factors (e.g., nonverbal intelligence) and external factors (e.g., input quantity) in tandem on the rate of child bilingual’s and child foreign language learners’ English learning. By employing the internal-external factors hypothesis, the threshold effects hypothesis, and the relative weight hypothesis, we hope to develop a consistent research procedure to address the intersection of individual abilities and the learning environment.


About Linguistics’ 50th Anniversary Celebration


“We are really looking forward to everyone joining us again this spring, either live in person or via Microsoft TEAMS Fridays 12:55 to 1:50 p.m. to celebrate our anniversary,” said Dr. David Bell, chair of the Linguistics Department, who also invited alumni and friends to add their names to the donor wall by making a gift, of whatever amount, to the Linguistics Department’s general support fund.


He noted that all funds go to support our students’ registration and travel expenses to conferences where they will present their research.


“And please stay in touch! Send us a message on our Linguistics FB page at,” he added.


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