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March Science Café analyzes children’s language development

Erin Conwell, assistant professor of psychology, is scheduled to present the March Science Café titled, “When getting it wrong means they’re getting right: What children’s errors tell us about their language skills,” on Tuesday, March 13, at 7 p.m. in Stokers Basement, Hotel Donaldson. 

Children learning to talk often start off fine but then suddenly begin saying things that aren’t quite right, Conwell said. They “holded” the kitten, “goed” to the store and “falled” the book. Parents may think these errors are cute, or possibly cause for concern, but language development researchers take them as evidence of a very sophisticated understanding of English. When children make such errors, they are testing the limits of their language and exploring the relationship between words, rules and meaning, Conwell said.

The presentation will examine the forms these errors take, what they tell us about language development, how scientists try to trick children into making them for research purposes and why trying to correct them probably isn’t going to work. 

Attendees must be 21 or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, contact Keri Drinka at or 231-6131.

Science Café, sponsored by NDSU’s College of Science and Mathematics, features a presentation by a scientist and time for discussion with the scientist and other attendees.


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Last Updated: Thursday, August 08, 2013 8:33:23 AM