Hi everyone! I’m Courtney, and I’m a Junior studying Communication Sciences and Disorders in the School of Communication. Most people who learn about my major have never heard of it, so I figured I would start this blog off with some information about the field. The Northwestern CSD Department’s website provides a better explanation than I ever could. The Department “explores the science of human speech, hearing, and learning and seeks new and more effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat related communication disorders.” A lot of CSD majors hope to become speech-language pathologists, audiologists, doctors, teachers, or researchers. I’d like to become a speech-language pathologist.
The Department is home to nearly 30 research laboratories. I have been working in one of these labs, the Language Learning Lab, under Dr. Casey Lew-Williams since January 2013. The lab investigates how infants and young children learn language. I was attracted to this lab because I’ve always been interested in how babies learn. And that’s what my I’ll be studying under my grant this summer.
My study is called “Infant Language Learning from Overheard Speech.” It investigates how toddlers learn words from speech that isn’t necessarily directed toward them. Some research says they can’t learn from it, while other research says they can. I hope to learn more about the conditions under which language-learning happens from overheard speech.
I’ll try not to use scientific jargon on this blog — I want everyone to understand my project. This research is important, and its full value won’t be realized unless people actually get it!