How babies acquire the ability to understand two languages? How parents and other caregivers shape early bilingualism? Dr. Fennell, an Associate Professor of at the School of Psychology at the Faculty of Social Sciences with a cross-appointment in Linguistics, has studied French-English bilingual babies’ word-learning skills for more than a decade. He is one of only a handful of researchers in the world studying language learning and acquisition in bilingual babies. Aside from his Language Development Laboratory, only 3 others exist across the globe and he’s affiliated with all of them.
The announcement came recently that Dr. Fennell was awarded the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) Chair in language learning and acquisition to investigate the learning and acquisition of multiple languages particular psycholinguistic measures of language performance across the lifespan. His research not only provides a broad picture of the skills of bilingual language learners, but also showcases the central aspects of his investigative approach: interdisciplinary research across fields in Arts and Social Sciences.
Dr. Fennell’s research is clearly aligned with the mission of the OLBI to promote excellence and innovation in the fields of bilingualism and language acquisition, as well as two of the University’s strategic goal of Research excellence and Francophonie and bilingualism.
The committee led by the Vice-Dean Research were impressed by the impact of his research, his internal and external contributions to the academic community and to the broad community as well as his excellent teaching and training record. The members of the Faculty of Arts Chairs Committee and the Directors of OLBI and Canadian Centre for Studies and Research on Bilingualism and Language Planning are pleased to allocate Dr. Fennell of the Two OLBI’s Research Chair in Bilingualism that is the Chair in language learning and acquisition. This appointment will be held for five years starting July 1st, 2017. Congratulations!
Faculty of Social Sciences
The Faculty of Social Sciences is home to over 10, 000 students, faculty members and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. We are a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. Our researchers, like Dr. Fennell, explore new approaches to today’s challenges.