The first COVID-19 lockdown in the Netherlands allowed me to take a research detour: Instead of testing adult participants in the lab, I found myself on daily walks, understanding more about how children –my then-20-months-old daughter to be precise– learn language.
Dr. Zeynep Azar was a PhD student at the Radboud University. She defended her thesis entitled ‘Effect of Language contact on speech and gesture: The case of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals’ on September 28 2020.
The first wave of COVID-19 brought a lockdown upon the Netherlands and tons of uncertainty. At the time of the first lockdown in March 2020, my daughter was about 20 months old and able to create two-word sentences. We went on walks every day which allowed me to experience first-hand what it means to get to grips with understanding language.
Why do scientists spend so much of their time thinking and theorizing? And why do some of their experiments seem so far removed from any conceivable practical use? In this article, I shall explain that scientists have good reasons for these admittedly odd practices.