Q & A: Registered Reports from Journal of Child Language

Beginning in summer 2018, Journal of Child Language will publish a new article format: Registered Reports. We asked two of the journal’s associate editors, Melanie Soderstrom and Elizabeth Wonnacott, a few questions about the introduction of this format.


What inspired the introduction of the Registered Reports?

MELANIE: Registered reports are a relatively new phenomenon in our research community, although to my understanding they come from a similar approach in the medical research community that has been around for many years for clinical trials. They are one part of the research community’s broad-based response to the so-called “Replication Crisis”. In early 2016, we were approached by the Center for Open Science requesting that we consider bringing this format to Journal of Child Language, and the idea received strong support.

LIZ: Yes – I don’t recall any dissenting voices when this idea was raised. I think many researchers in language development have been increasingly concerned about issues of replicability. Also, as editors, we see first-hand the benefit of getting feedback before the work is carried out. It is extremely frustrating to handle a paper where reviewers identify critical flaws, but a large amount of work has taken already place.


Can you describe the replicability crisis, for those who may not be aware?

MELANIE: The “Replication Crisis” is a term being used to describe the growing awareness of a cluster of phenomena centered around the idea that research findings may not be as robust as we like to think. On the empirical side, some very high profile studies have now shown that studies don’t replicate as well as we would like – although there is also now important discussion around what it means to replicate, and what IS a reasonable replication rate. Methodologically, it refers to widespread analytic practices like p-hacking, HARKing, and underpowered studies that inflate significant findings and lead to both Type I and Type II errors. On the practical side, there is little incentive among traditional publication/granting models to encourage replication of research findings. The Registered Report is a partial answer to these concerns.

LIZ: I think it is important to recognize that there are a lot of pressures on academics to publish papers with tidy results which tell a clear story. This might lead to practices such as exploring different ways of analysing a dataset until you find an analysis that “works out” (while reporting the results as though this was the only analysis attempted), or simply not attempting to publish studies which have null (or messy) results. These practices distort our literature. Registered Reports require researchers to publish regardless of the outcomes, and to be upfront about which aspects of the analyses are more exploratory.


How do these reports reflect wider trends in linguistics research?

MELANIE: Registered Reports are best suited for high-powered experimental work. As a linguistics journal, our mandate also includes analytic and observational work, and work on small populations, for which high power may be impractical, so not every study is suited for the Registered Report format. That said, there are benefits of this format that go beyond encouraging replication and reducing bad analytic practices. For example, authors receive valuable feedback from reviewers on their study prior to investing those crucial grant funds in an endeavor. Moreover, Registered Reports are part of a much larger movement toward Open Science (the idea that we have an obligation to share our data, methods and analyses for scrutiny and use by other researchers), something that is of importance to all sub-disciplines of experimental psychology and linguistics.

LIZ: It feels like a time of change in experimental research more broadly. For example, fifteen years ago, it was extremely difficult to publish null results in any journal, and this is certainly no longer the case. It was also rare for labs to make their data openly available, publish their analyses scripts etc. Attitudes are gradually changing so that it is now relatively common to see these types of Open Science practices, which are increasingly valued in researchers.


Read more about the format at this link.


Melanie Soderstrom is Associate Professor and Associate Head (Graduate) in the Department of Psychology at University of Manitoba, Canada.

Elizabeth Wonnacott is Senior Lecturer in Language and Cognition at University College London, UK.

Where is Applied Linguistics headed? Cambridge Journal editors weigh in

In advance of the upcoming AAAL Annual Meeting in Chicago, we asked editors of Cambridge applied linguistics journals for their thoughts on the state of the field.

Where is applied linguistics headed? Are there new approaches, methods or priorities that you think will have real impact on research and related practice in coming years?

Martha Crago, editor of Applied Psycholinguistics“In the next year’s two major developments, one technological and one social, will have a striking impact on applied linguistics: 1)The disruptive technology of machine learning (artificial intelligence) is based on the early work on neural networks in neuropsychology as well as on reinforcement learning that was once considered a learning mechanism for language acquisition. These new technological developments are likely to circle back and inform or intersect with work in applied psycholinguistics and its underlying theories. In addition, “big data” (computational linguistics) and its growing ability to look at large data sets in increasingly sophisticated ways will become a future direction for the field. 2) Human migration has reached vast proportions in the last few years. It is leading to very large numbers if refugees who are either in transit, often for years, or who are arriving to become residents, both legal and illegal, in a new country. These migratory patterns have striking implications for multi-lingualism and -literacy in people of all ages. This in turn has consequences for social integration and education. As a result, refugee populations will become a major preoccupation for applied psycholinguistic researchers.”

Alex Boulton, Editor of ReCALL “Applied linguistics is itself a controversial term which means different things to different people, and covers different domains in different languages. In French, for example, “linguistique appliquée” fell largely out of favour in the 1990s as it suggested simply applying linguistics to real-world problems. What is probably the largest domain is now referred to as “didactique” – i.e. language teaching and learning. Various initiatives have been undertaken to explore this at national and international levels, notably through AILA – the International Association of Applied Linguistics, founded in France in the 1960s.

Published by CUP and owned by EUROCALL, ReCALL is a leading journal focusing specifically on computer-assisted language learning. In the 30 years of its existence, we have seen increasing democratisation of technology and access to it, especially via the internet. This is evident in everyday practices (learners no longer have to be in a classroom or a computer room) as well as in the research being conducted into informal online learning. While early papers tended to place the software itself at the centre of the paper, today the emphasis is more on what actually happens in the learning process when using various types of technologies in different situations for different purposes.
In terms of methodologies, various surveys have found the majority of studies in applied linguistics to be quantitative in nature; while these were traditionally considered the most prestigious by many researchers, the situation is certainly evolving. There is no question of abandoning quantitative work, especially for learning outcomes or large-scale surveys, but there seems to be increasing room for more qualitative approaches, which allow greater emic understanding of the complexity of the learning process and the individuals involved. Of particular interest are mixed methods studies which, appropriately conducted, can draw on the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative work. Another evolution is the rise of rigorous research syntheses of various types, from the quantitative meta-analysis to the more qualitative narrative synthesis, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Julia R. Herschenesohn, Coordinating Editor, Journal of French Language Studies “As we approach the third decade of the 21st Century, the most important opportunity that I see in applied linguistics research is the accessibility of big data—large corpora of empirical evidence that are available online to all researchers. Cloud storage, open access and increased computational power open a range of options for obtaining and analyzing evidence of language use and acquisition. Open access databases allow scholars to use statistically significant quantities to form generalizations, test hypotheses, replicate earlier studies and reanalyze previous research using different methodologies. The combination of language data—including controlled experiments, monitored production, informal speech and spontaneous dialogue—and sophisticated statistical software has already impacted research and related practices and will continue to expand in the following decades. As Editor of JFLS, I have seen a shift in the submissions we receive to a much larger number of articles including evidence from public access databases. For example, our next special themed issue comprises articles drawing from a few corpora of carefully transcribed and annotated examples of contemporary French speech that are analyzed by several authors in terms of lexical, morphosyntactic and phonological characteristics. The contributors bring to bear different methodologies and sub-discipline perspectives while mining the same source of data. The availability of big data allows scholars to test theoretical hypotheses with solid statistical tools to further our knowledge of how language is acquired and used under various circumstances.”

Graeme Porte, Editor of Language Teaching

Recurrence, revitalization, and replication in Applied Linguistics

“Like any dynamic field of science, Applied Linguistics (AL) is both in constant change and ever eager to be of practical use to those who benefit from its research discoveries. As researchers we are urged to “apply” our discoveries – ideally to some kind of language learning context. Since those contexts will almost certainly involve a practitioner, the nexus between the FL teacher and the AL researcher should be a close and mutually-benefitting one.

We have been lucky in that both AL researchers and practitioners have traditionally embraced new methodologies and promising trends – together with the occasional fad and damp squib – with anticipation. A cursory historical overview of these apparently novel approaches will, however, reveal timely re-emergences of elements which are key to many of these movements.

There has been a tendency actually to re-discover what we often think we are discovering and then mould it through more modern hands into something more acceptably novel, consistent with current attitudes and/or linguistic fashion (Cook, 2003[1]). Such “discoveries” can be seen as heralding in a new age for practitioners or even paradigm shifts for researchers. Whole new careers can be forged, exciting new angles on L2 learning revealed – and novel text book series sold by the thousands! Some teaching methods – such as TPR or Suggestopaedia – can be short-lived; others, such as the “communicative approach”, can become thoroughly regenerated into other methods. Yet others, as Michael Swan reminds us in his latest position piece for us (Language Teaching, 51.2 April), are regularly dismissed in their entirety as deficient approaches only for latter-day AL pioneers to uncover seemingly redeeming kernels of wisdom in their theoretical and practical bases. In the case of “Grammar-Translation”, for example, there are still many L2 learners who feel knowledge of grammar and L1-L2 equivalences improve their understanding of the target language and continues to satisfy a perceived need for going about “serious” language learning.

A similar picture might be painted of our research paradigms. In our embracing of AL as an essentially social science endeavour, we might be accused of being over keen to dismiss methodological approaches which smack too much of a “pure science” rather than a “social science” approach. Once again, however, we are witnessing a recent re-visiting of these previously out-of-favour research approaches.

Language Teaching is now at the forefront of a push for a renewed effort to recognise the contribution of replication studies to our literature. Replicating previous studies as a serious research methodology has only emerged onto the applied linguistics scene relatively recently; it has been a subject of interest elsewhere for much longer and has appeared as a fleeting subject of debate in the general social sciences literature for decades. Its feted re-appearance owes much to the concern expressed by many who depend on our research for its possible pedagogical implications and applications and who are rightly concerned about the presence of undetected error or the lack of confirmatory evidence provided across many of our empirical endeavors.

We may go back empirically to a study for several reasons, but that revisiting is predicated on the idea that no one piece of research (or researcher!) can include, or control for, all the many variables that might affect an 0utcome. It follows that a particularly important study only stands to benefit from such renewed attention if it can have its findings more precisely validated, its reliability focused on, its generalization tested, or even delimited, and its eventual application in learning contexts more finely tuned.

[1] Cook G. (2003). Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Andrew Moody, Editor of English Today “The question of where Applied Linguistics is headed is a very difficult one to address because the field is already quite diverse. As a new editor (for English Today), I don’t feel highly qualified to be making predictions about the future of the disciplines that work within Applied Linguistics, but there are two developments that I have noticed as a reader and researcher in sociolinguistics and I think that these two are likely to become more prominent.

First, sociolinguists (and this is especially relevant to sociolinguists who are working with the English language) have become increasingly comfortable working with data that would traditionally have been discarded as ‘non-spontaneous’ or ‘not naturally occurring’. Data sources might include English-language media, literary texts or texts from popular culture. These texts show a rich interplay between local voices (ones that might be thought of as ‘authentic’ languages) and global voices, and the sociolinguistic analyses of these kinds of interplays and tensions (between, for example, ‘global English’ and ‘local English’) have grown in sophistication and cogency. Consequently, the relationship between language and identity — a relationship that all too often had been conceptualised as a simple and static one-to-one exchange between identity and language use — is a relationship that is increasingly being explored as more pluralistic, situated, complex and performative. I imagine that this trend will continue within the disciplines of Applied Linguistics for some time.

Secondly, I have also noticed within the space of my career in English sociolinguistics an increasing degree of comfort that teachers and researchers have when discussing ‘Englishes’, and the linguistic variation that is represented by such a term. When I was writing my PhD dissertation on Hong Kong English, the consensus opinion among scholars working in Hong Kong (with only a few very prominent exceptions) was that ‘there was no such thing as Hong Kong English’. The justification for that point of view was that the variety of English used in Hong Kong was a ‘learner variety’ and that this somehow negated or diminished any status that the language might have as a variety of English that deserved to be studied sociolinguistically. Increasingly there is a willingness to accept the existence and the status of varieties like Hong Kong English, Japanese English, Chinese English, etc. and to allow these varieties to be studied more fully as English varieties. I expect that this trend will also continue for some time within English sociolinguistics, and within applied linguistics more generally.”


Going to AAAL? Visit the Cambridge booth to browse our journals, pick up new books, and grab a few freebies! Even if you are not attending, visit our website for 20% off all books on display.

‘World Englishes or English as a Lingua Franca: Where does English in China stand?

Blog post based on an article in English Today 

The spread and development of the English language has triggered debates about issues related to language ideology, identity, and ELT. China is an important context where the popularity of English use and English learning has generated various debates. In this paper, I discuss the use of the English language in China from the perspective of Global Englishes (GE) and I explore the debate about whether it should be positioned from the paradigm of World Englishes (WE) or English as a lingua franca (ELF).

Essentially, the WE paradigm investigates different varieties of English in order to understand the various features of the language (including phonology, morphology, and syntax) as it is used in many post-colonial settings. The ELF paradigm focuses more on the use of English in a broader setting that, from a multilingual perspective, transcends boundaries. With regard to some shared features of the language as it is used by Chinese speakers of English, some previous studies have argued that the English used in China should be positioned from a WE perspective, and that China English (CE) should be regarded as a distinct variety of the English language. However, because of the lack of English use in non-educational settings there, and China’s geographical and dialectical diversity, it is difficult to portray specific common features of the English used by such a large variety of Chinese people. Thus, other scholars believe that the use of English in China should be positioned from the ELF perspective, with its fluid and dynamic features aiming for mutual intelligibility in terms of communication.

In my article, I first briefly review the development and status of English in China. I then move on to the ideological negotiation and attitudinal debate about the use and function of English there. From the WE perspective, I discuss the history of CE and the complexity of distinguishing CE and ‘Chinglish’ in some situations (for example, the differences between how the following phrases are expressed: ‘to accelerate the pace of economic reform’, and ‘imports of foreign automobiles have declined sharply this year’). I also summarise several previous studies that have favoured positioning CE as a variety of English from the WE paradigm. I then move on to discuss the opposing view that CE is not a variety of English. I present two key arguments for this position: first, very few teaching materials today have introduced the concept of the Chinese variety of English; second, not many Chinese people use English spontaneously for intra-ethnic communication.

We need to recognise that the use of English in the Chinese context is rather complicated. I prefer not to draw a particular conclusion about whether the use of English should be positioned from the WE or ELF paradigm. I believe that further research is needed to determine whether or not CE is a variety of English (although this will be a lengthy and complicated process), and that the debates about ideology and identity will persist. I think it is important to research people’s attitudes towards the use of English in China. As I present in this paper that the English language that Chinese people use is still rather fluid and dynamic, local features of the English used in China should be recognised and included in language classrooms. Both WE and ELF paradigms break the strict adherence to Standard English from native-speaker norms and challenge the ownership of English. I conclude my paper with, ‘we should realise that language is not a static entity in a vacuum, but rather develops and evolves through language contact.’

Read the full article here without charge until the end of April 2018


Learning Construction Grammars Computationally

Blog post by Jonathan Dunn, Ph.D.

Construction Grammar, or CxG, takes a usage-based approach to describing grammar. In practice, this term usage-based means two different things:

First, it means that idiomatic constructions belong in the grammar. For example, the ditransitive construction “John sent Mary a letter” has item-specific cases like “John gave Mary a hand” and “John gave Mary a hard time.” These idiomatic versions of the ditransitive have distinct meanings. While other grammatical paradigms consider these different meanings to be outside the scope of grammar, CxG argues that idiomatic constructions are actually an important part of grammar.

Second, CxG is usage-based because it argues that we learn grammar by observing actual idiomatic usage: language is more nurture than nature. The role of innate structure is limited to general cognitive constraints such as limits on working memory and the ability to recognize and categorize differences. CxG views language learning as a bottom-up process of systematicity spreading from idiomatic constructions to generalized constructions.

The problem is that the usage-based approach to grammar has struggled to live up to its own expectations. First, a very large number of idiomatic constructions could be posited to resolve any descriptive challenge. As a result, CxG has struggled to show that its grammars are falsifiable. Second, there are potentially large numbers of overlapping idiomatic constructions each with its own distinct meaning; thus, without relying on innate constraints, CxG has struggled to show that its grammars are learnable.

This paper takes a computational approach to learning CxGs in order to resolve these difficulties. Can stable, generalized grammars be learned from actual usage? Without innate structure to limit the space of possible constructions, this approach faces four challenges that make it difficult to learn the best grammar:

First, we do not know how many items or slots a construction contains, so the algorithm must be able to perform segmentation in order to find construction boundaries. Second, CxG allows multiple types of representation (lexical, semantic, syntactic), so the algorithm must be able to find the best way to describe each slot in a construction. Third, CxG allows unfilled slots, so the algorithm must be able to find constructions that do not appear to be continuous. Fourth, slots can have recursive internal structure, so the algorithm must be able to find complex fillers.

The difficulty is that these challenges must be solved with as few language-specific assumptions as possible in order to qualify as usage-based in the senses described above. This paper shows that a learnable and falsifiable usage-based CxG is possible, the first step in reconciling the claims and the actuality of the Construction Grammar paradigm.

Jonathan Dunn, Ph.D., is Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Illinois Institute of Technology. His recent article, “Computational learning of construction grammars,” can be accessed without charge until March 15th. Explore all of Language and Cognition by clicking here.

Rihanna Works Her Multivocal Pop Persona: Morpho-syntactic and Accent Variation in Rihanna’s Singing Style

Based on an article in English Today

Pop music surpasses national and linguistic boundaries. It creates a marketplace of various linguistic resources that artists use in their music performances to create their pop personas. Performers are mobile, transnational linguistic agents. They do not only physically travel worldwide and spread their multivocality, but their products are distributed and consumed internationally via a multitude of media channels. They transport mobile standard and non-standard varieties into new spaces and make them accessible to a broad audience.

Rihanna is a globally successful artist with Caribbean roots who combines different musical styles (R’n’B, hip-hop, reggae, pop) and the performance codes associated with these genres (African American English, Jamaican Creole, Standard American English). Her single “Work” stirred up attention: it was praised for displaying her Barbadian heritage, others dismissed it as lyrical gibberish. Intrigued by this intensified media coverage, we became interested in how Rihanna works her multivocal pop persona in this single. We conducted a morpho-syntactic analysis of the lyrics and investigated the accent of Rihanna’s singing style in this song to discover how she combines different linguistic resources. Furthermore, we analyzed an accompanying music video to show how Rihanna visually represents her pop persona.

The morpho-syntactic analysis shows that Rihanna uses numerous features typical of Caribbean English Creoles: for example, the personal pronoun me and him in subject position (me na care if him hurt), copula absence and negator na (you na righteous), modal auxiliary hafi and quotative se (he se me hafi work). While almost all of these features are shared by most Caribbean English Creoles, including Bajan, which is the local vernacular of Rihanna’s home country Barbados, all of them are typical of Jamaican Creole. Jamaican Creole is the most well-known Caribbean Creole and has spread globally through reggae and dancehall. Moreover, some of the features, such as copula absence, are also typical of African American English. However, large parts of the lyrics, especially the second and third verse, are dominated by Standard English grammar.

The accent analysis corroborates that Rihanna combines diverse linguistic influences: her accent is marked by several features typical of Caribbean Englishes/Creoles (e.g. face monophthongs, TH-stopping) and particularly in the chorus she has a distinctly Bajan accent, marked by a high degree of nasalization, under-articulation of consonants, and rhoticity. Besides the Bajan chorus, all features are typical of Jamaican Creole. Some of these Caribbean features are shared with African American English but there are no exclusive accent features for this variety. However, the single “Work” also includes passages where Rihanna uses a Standard American English accent, particularly in the second and third verse.

This combination of different linguistic resources is not random but patterns with the mode of the performance: the Caribbean accent and morpho-syntactic features occur most consistently in the chorus and the first verse. Rihanna uses her Caribbean voice mainly when speaking/rapping. In contrast, her singing style in the last two verses it marked by Standard English morpho-syntax and a Standard American English accent.

The music video of “Work” demonstrates that the Caribbeanness of the music performance is reinforced through visual modalities in an exoticizing and commodifying way. It portrays a dancehall event, where Rihanna is staged as a dancehall queen, and employs an abundance of stereotypical Caribbean images (e.g. Caribbean beer brands, dancehall dance moves, or the pan-African colors red, green, and black).

Our multimodal analysis shows that Rihanna mixes different linguistic and cultural identities to underline and express her multivocal pop music persona in her single “Work”. She mainly combines Standard (American) English with Caribbean Englishes/Creoles but relies strongly on Jamaican Creole and Jamaican dancehall images to perform her Caribbeanness. African American English is another potential resource for Rihanna’s hybrid persona, but it is not saliently displayed in “Work”.

Through such multivocal performances as in “Work”, Rihanna is a global transporter of diverse varieties of English. This playful mix of features is not only a display of her multifaceted and multivocal identity, but it gives insight into language-ideological processes within the global dynamics of English. Pop culture provides rich data for investigations of global Englishes as different varieties of English meet and interact at a high density.

Read the full article here

Link to video:


Link to annotated lyrics:


Extracting Meaning from Sound — Computer Scientists and Hearing Scientists Come Together Right Now

Machines that listen to us, hear us, and act on what they hear are becoming common in our homes.. So far, however, they are only interested in what we say, not how we say it, where we say it, or what other sounds they hear. Richard Lyon describes where we go from here.


Based on positive experiences of marrying auditory front ends to machine-learning back ends, and watching others do the same, I am optimistic that we will see an explosion of sound-understanding applications in coming years. At the same time, however, I see too many half-baked attempts that ignore important properties of sound and hearing, and that expect the machine learning to make up for poor front ends. This is one of reasons that I wrote Human and Machine Hearing.

Machines that listen to us, hear us, and act on what they hear are becoming common in our homes, with Amazon Echo, Google Home, and a flurry of new introductions in 2017. So far, however, they are only interested in what we say, not how we say it, where we say it, or what other sounds they hear. I predict a trend, very soon, toward much more human-like hearing functions, integrating the “how”, “what”, and “where” aspects of sound perception to augment the current technology of speech recognition. As the meaning of sound comes to be better extracted, even the “why” is something we can expect machines to deal with.

Some of these abilities are becoming available already, for example in security cameras, which can alert you to people talking, dogs barking, and other sound categories. I have developed technologies to help this field of machine hearing develop, on and off over the last 40 years, based firmly in the approach of understanding and modeling how human hearing works. Recently, progress has been greatly accelerated by leveraging modern machine learning methods, such as those developed for image recognition, to map from auditory representations to answers to the “what” and “where” questions.

It is not just computer scientists who can benefit from this engineering approach to hearing. Within the hearing-specialized medical, physiology, anatomy, and psychology communities, there is a great wealth of knowledge and understanding about most aspects of hearing, but too often a lack of the sort of engineering understanding that would allow one to build machine models that listen and extract meaning as effectively as we do. I believe the only way to sort out the important knowledge is to build machine models that incorporate it. We should routinely run the same tests on models that we run on humans and animals, to test and refine our understanding and our models. And we should extend those tests to increasingly realistic and difficult scenarios, such as sorting out the voices in a meeting — or in the proverbial cocktail party.

To bring hearing scientists and computer scientists together, I target the engineering explanations in my book to both. A shared understanding of linear and nonlinear systems, continuous- and discrete-time systems, acoustic and auditory approaches, etc., will help them move forward together, rather than in orthogonal directions as has been too common in the past.

Find out more about the book and check out Richard Lyon’s commentary on, and errata for, Human and Machine Hearing.

Richard F. Lyon leads Google’s research and applications development in machine hearing as well as the team that developed camera systems for the Google Street View project. He is an engineer and scientist known for his work on cochlear models and auditory correlograms for the analysis and visualization of sound, and for implementations of these models, which he has also worked on at Xerox PARC, Schlumberger, and Apple. Lyon is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and of the Association for Computing Machinery, and is among the world’s top 500 editors of Wikipedia. He has published widely in hearing, VLSI design, signal processing, speech recognition, computer architecture, photographic technology, handwriting recognition, computer graphics, and slide rules. He holds 58 issued United States patents for his inventions, including the optical mouse.

New: Registered Reports for Journal of Child Language – coming summer 2018

Journal of Child Language is pleased to announce the introduction of Registered Reports. The cornerstone of the Registered Reports format is that a significant part of the manuscript is reviewed prior to data collection. Initial submissions will include a description of the key research question and background literature, hypotheses, experimental procedures and detailed analyses plan. Papers will be accepted on the basis of potential theoretical impact, and the highest quality manuscripts will be given an “in principle acceptance” commitment to publication after data collection. Authors will also be required to submit data and analyses scripts to public repositories such as OSF (although exceptions may be possible where ethical reasons prevent sharing of some parts of the data).

We hope that this new format is a step towards greater transparency in the study of child language and will help to minimize bias in our science.

Journal of Child Language will continue to publish the other formats which are currently part of the journal, General Articles and Brief Research Reports.

We plan to update our systems to start accepting this new format by summer 2018. In the meantime, any researchers who are potentially interested in this new format should contact the editor.

Please also see our new Registered Report guidelines for authors and reviewers for full information.

We welcome any comments or suggestions regarding this new format.

To explore the latest issue of the journal, click here.

Journal of Child Language Special Issue Call for Papers

Call for Papers: The influence of input quality and communicative interaction on language development

Guest Editors: Elma Blom and Melanie Soderstrom

While studies on the influence of the input on language development have often focused on the quantity of input, there is a growing recognition of the importance of qualitative aspects of the input and the characteristics of communicative interaction. Papers for the special issue would include studies of any qualitative input and interaction-based aspects of language development in diverse populations of children and youth.


Relevant topics and questions that papers could address are the following:

Input quality, communicative interaction and language development: What is the role of qualitative characteristics of the input (e.g. child-directed speech, joint attention, responsiveness, turn-taking, reading vs. screentime, computer-mediated communication) in language development? What kinds of input quality and characteristics matter in early development?

Input quality and communicative interaction in relation to socio-economic, cultural and linguistic diversity: Do qualitative aspects of the input explain the influence of socio-economic status on language development? How can linguistic influences be understood in the context of divergent communicative styles across cultures and individuals? How do the qualitative and structural aspects of nonnative input have an effect on children’s language development?

Input quality and communicative interaction effects in relation with sources of individual differences in child and/or caregiver: Do individual difference factors of the child and/or caregiver (e.g., age, sex/gender, language proficiency) impact on input quality and communicative interaction?

Qualitative aspects of the input in the context of children with language and communication disorders: How are input quality and communicative interaction influenced by a language or communication disorder on the part of child or caregiver?


The deadline for submission is September 1, 2018. Papers should be a maximum of 10,000 words, shorter papers preferred. Submissions should be made on Manuscript Central: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jcl. In your covering letter, please state that the manuscript is to be considered for this special issue. Instructions for contributors are available on Manuscript Central.


The papers are expected to be published Autumn 2019. Papers that are accepted earlier will be published earlier online (FirstView). If there are too many accepted submissions for the special issue, the editors will select the most relevant papers to appear in the special issue and the other papers will appear in regular issues.


Download the call for papers as a PDF here.

Announcing a brand-new Applied Linguistics Essay Prize

Language Teaching announces the award of an essay prize which honours one of the founding editors of this journal.

Applied Linguistic Essay Prize

Christopher John Brumfit (1940-2006) was Professor of Education, Head of the Research and Graduate School of Education, and Director of the Centre for Language in Education at the University of Southampton, UK. He was a former Chair of the BAAL and Vice-President of AILA.

In his obituaries of Professor Brumfit in The Guardian newspaper and in Applied Linguistics, Professor Henry Widdowson wrote that ‘[Chris] was both a defender and a critic of traditional values. Education imposed conventional constraints, but these had also to provide for the individual freedom of unconventional self-expression’ adding that ‘Rather than accept current ideas or conventional assumptions, he would submit them to scrutiny. This was the kind of non-conformist critical thinking that he encouraged his students to engage in’.

The essay prize that bears his name aims to reward evidence of such critical thinking, scrutiny of arguments for and against, and original thought.

For more information, please visit cambridge.org/LTA

Applied Psycholinguistics Call For Editor Proposals

Professor Martha Crago is completing her tenure in December 2018 from her position as Editor of Applied Psycholinguistics (AP). Cambridge University Press is now inviting applications for the position of Editor. A team of Co-Editors will also be considered. Final appointment decisions will be made by the Syndicate of Cambridge University Press.

The deadline for applications is January 15, 2018.

AP is a refereed journal of international scope publishing original research papers on the psychological and linguistic processes involved in language. Each volume contains six issues with articles examining language processing, language development, language use and language disorders in adults and children with a particular emphasis on cross-language and second language/bilingual studies. The journal gathers together the best work from a variety of disciplines including linguistics, psychology, reading, education, language acquisition, communication disorders and neurosciences. In addition to research reports, special theme- based issues are considered for publication as are invited keynote articles and commentaries.

AP published volume 38 in 2017. Its 2016 Impact Factor was 1.970, placing it 16 out of 182 journals in the Linguistics JCR (ranked by Impact Factor).

Full details and instructions for proposal submission can be found on AP‘s website (click here).