Janet Werker – Speech perception in infancy: understanding the roots of language acquisition
Field of Study: Social Sciences
“As an academic, you can change the research questions you ask, the way you teach, the kind of community outreach you do or new institute you create – in other words – not only can you always reinvent yourself, there are also so many diverse ways you can make a difference.”
Dr. Janet F. Werker is a University Killam Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Her research examines the foundations of language acquisition in infants growing up in both monolingual and bilingual environments. Her discoveries showing how babies are ready to learn language at birth, and how very early in life language learning (through listening) begins, have had influence around the world. Janet Werker is also one of the founders and co-directors of the UBC based Language Sciences Initiative, which catalyzes language-related research and integrates it with undergraduate teaching and graduate training. Her many awards include the Gold Medal from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in 2015 and recognition as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017.
Photo: Martin Dee