Baby Talk: How language learning begins before birth

Bayar, who lives in Mongolia with his family, is one of the four babies followed from birth to first steps in Thomas Balmès' BABIES, a Focus Features release.

Bayar, who lives in Mongolia with his family, is one of the four babies followed from birth to first steps in Thomas Balmès’ BABIES, a Focus Features release.

Explore the secrets of early childhood development with UBC Psychology professor Dr. Janet Werker as part of the University Killam Professor Lecture series. 

Dr. Werker will host a special screening and discussion of 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.

Janet Werker

Janet Werker

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-Heinlen, Associate Professor of Psychology at Concordia (and a former graduate student of Janet’s), Janet will shed 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.

A reception will follow the discussion.

Tickets (free of charge) are required. Get tickets.

More information on this event and the full University Killam Professor Lecture Series is available here.