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REF NO.: 143

SUBJECT: New linguistics lab at Memorial University
DATE: April 14, 2003

A new linguistics lab at Memorial has opened its doors to students and faculty alike on campus, expanding possibilities for those interested in linguistics and related research.

The brainchild of Dr. Yvan Rose, assistant professor with Memorial's Department of Linguistics, the new lab is equipped with state-of-the-art digital sound and video recording systems, funded by the office of the Vice-President (Research) and the Faculty of Arts. Because the lab was primarily designed for studying children's language acquisition, the main room of the lab contains a child-friendly atmosphere complete with toys, as well as a one-way mirror so parents and analysts can observe the children without distracting or disturbing them.

"Because we can record the interaction of the child with another person, we can take a longitudinal perspective by studying the stages at which language acquisition takes place," Dr. Rose said. "In turn, the data at each developmental stage offer interesting windows into linguistic and larger cognitive organization throughout development."

The second area of the lab is outfitted with computers that are used in data and speech analysis. The acoustic analysis and data organization capabilities of the computers ensure that massive data can be easily analyzed, enabling larger and more comprehensive studies than would otherwise be possible. Additionally, Dr. Rose will use the computers for online experiments and testing.

At the moment, the lab is being used by Dr. Rose as well as a small number of advanced undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Rose hopes that the lab will be of use to others in the university community, such as those in psychology, medicine, and other clinical disciplines.

Looking to the future, Dr. Rose is already planning to apply for funding to acquire an ultrasound scanning device. This would allow researchers to see the tongue and jaw move as the subject speaks, giving greater insight into the formation of words and sounds. He envisions this as a means of reaching into the community, as it is a device that would be of great use to speech pathologists, and provide a link between the university and the community at large.

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