Faculty and students of the Program in Applied Linguistics at Boston University seek five years of funding to support the Boston University Conference on Language Development, which will take place at Boston University during the first weekend each November from 2007 through 2011. Now in its 30th year, the conference is internationally recognized as the most important annual meeting bringing together researchers in different areas of language acquisition and development, including first and second language acquisition, language disorders, bilingualism, and literacy development. The meeting comprises 87 oral presentations and 46 posters selected through peer review, as well as invited keynote and plenary speakers, a symposium on a topic of current interest, a research funding workshop, and a publisher exhibit. Attendees number over 500 researchers in language development from around the world, including undergraduate students up through senior faculty. Funding from NSF and NIH for the period 2001-2006 facilitated significant improvement in the quality of the conference, as reflected in outstanding symposia, access to LCD technology, a 25% increase in attendance and submissions over that period, and the institution of public dialogue about the reviewing process which we believe is unprecedented in its transparency and explicitness. In this proposal, five more years of funding is requested to further improve BUCLD. This funding would support the annual symposium on a cutting edge topic in the field, professional videotaping of the symposium for later dissemination for teaching purposes, increased funding for student travel fellowships, one copy of the Proceedings for each student registrant, and structural support for the graduate students and faculty advisor involved in the organization of the conference. Increased registration income from higher attendance will cover LCD technology and some other costs covered by the previous grant. In this conference, researchers from around the world present and discuss the latest advancements in our understanding of how humans learn first and second languages, whether typically developing or with language disorders. They also discuss the implications of that work for our understanding of how the brain works, how children with disorders should be treated, and how to better construct educational curriculum.
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