Baby Talk: How Language Learning Begins Before Birth – Featuring Dr. Janet Werker

Explore the secrets of “Babies” with Dr. Janet Werker, a world-leading developmental psychologist.

Following a special screening, Dr. Werker leads a discussion about the acclaimed documentary Babies, directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balmès.

Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us. It explores the differences and similarities in early childhood development through following the first year of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo.

These earliest moments of childhood have also been the focus of Dr. Werker’s award-winning research that has transformed our understanding of language acquisition and has had an enormous influence on child development, parenting, education and clinical practice, both in Canada and around the world.

In conversation with Dr. Krista Byers-Heinlein, Associate Professor of Psychology at Concordia (and a former graduate student of Janet’s), Janet sheds light on how the foundations of language begin in early infancy, and that the acquisition of two or more languages from birth comes as naturally as learning a single mother tongue.

The University Killam Professor Lecture Series is presented by UBC’s Office of the VP Research and Office of the Provost VP Academic in partnership with the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and alumni UBC.

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