July 2022 CIC Webinar: Featured Q&A

Our monthly CIC webinars inspire some really fantastic audience Q&A sessions! In each monthly newsletter, we highlight one of the insightful questions raised from the webinar attendees. 

A Featured Question from our July 2022 Webinar
This question was for Joshua Hartshorne, Boston College, who presented on the NSF grant Collaborative Research: A 'Citizen Science' Approach to COVID-19 Social Distancing Effects on Childrens' Language Development.

You can watch Joshua Hartshorne's full presentation on our YouTube channel

In your talk, you highlighted the importance of parental engagement with children through play and speech, as this is tied to language proficiency and development. During the pandemic, such parental engagement may have been hampered due to external stressors, like remote work and financial hardship. Do we know anything about how multilingual households engaged children during the pandemic? Does a large amount of language exposure encourage linguistic development or does diversity in exposure help as well?

Answer from Joshua Hartshorne:
We're not sure about diversity, but certainly having a large number of speakers engaging with a child helps them with their language acquisition overall. This is actually one of the hardest things for AI to learn - people's voices are different. So a large amount of stimulus and variance are helpful for kids and AI. And many children going into the pandemic were hearing only one or two speakers from others in their household. And more study is needed to determine the effects of that isolation. 

Thank you to all of our July 2022 speakers and our CIC Community audience members for keeping the conversation going! 


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