WoW Holiday Newsletter 2020

Greetings from the Canadian Leadership Team

Dear Friends,

We wish you and yours very happy holidays!

It has been a year filled with the unexpected.  In this context, we have worked, as a community, to advance knowledge, to support the development of new researchers, and to engage in important dialogue.  As we move to 2021, we are looking to build upon the success of the Words in the World Open Office Hours series and upon the success of the first Words in the World International Conference that took place just a couple of months ago. This conference featured 115 oral presentations and over 300 registrants from 17 countries. 

In the coming year we will also be working hard to build upon our public engagement in order to support our communities. This year, we have certainly seen how language can shape our sense of the present and the future. As language researchers, we have an important role to play building the knowledge that is crucial to the success and safety of societies and communities.

In this context, we wish you a very happy Christmas season and a fantastic 2021 filled with funhappiness, and enjoyment.

Gary Libben, Lori Buchanan, Gonia Jarema, Juhani Järvikivi, Eva Kehayia, Victor Kuperman, and Sid Segalowitz

P.S.  Italicized words in the last sentence comprise the six most highly rated English words reported by Warriner, Kuperman & Brysbaert (2014).

Words in the World Conversations

We are delighted to announce a new video series called Words in the World Conversations. This series of video interviews begins with Psycholinguists across the Words in the World network. The first interviews are with Prof. Wolfgang Dressler (Professor Emeritus, University of Vienna), Dr. Loraine Obler (Distinguished Professor, City University of New York) (planned release date: January 15, 2021), and Dr. Mark Aronoff (Distinguished Professor, Stonybrook University). These video interviews can be found on the Words in the World website at

WoW in the News

In our summer newsletter, we announced the launch of the WritLarge app ( by Dr. Aki-Juhani Kyröläinen and Dr. Victor Kuperman (McMaster University). WritLarge is a web-based application designed to facilitate social mobility and relieve social isolation of older individuals through story-telling, writing, and sharing.

The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) has recently published an article on the WritLarge app that discusses loneliness among seniors during Southern Ontario’s ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. You can read the article at this link:

Call for Participation

We are excited to announce an opportunity for collaboration in a project called ENRO (English Reading Online). This project is led by Dr. Victor Kuperman (Words in the World Co-Principal Investigator, McMaster University) and Dr. Noam Siegelman (Words in the World Collaborator, Haskins Laboratories). “The idea is to conduct online tests of English reading comprehension and its component skills in university student pools across multiple English and non-English speaking countries. A detailed questionnaire will also collect demographic and detailed language background information about participants. The end result will be a publicly available and continuously updated resource with data on English reading behavior and component skills (spelling, vocabulary, listening comprehension, decoding, and others), and a detailed record of individual language proficiency and background.”

You can read more about this opportunity at this link:

Upcoming Initiatives

Season 2 of Words in the World Open Office Hours

We are very pleased with the interest and participation generated in the 2020 season of Words in the World Open Office Hours. We’re looking forward to a second season of events, beginning in the new year! Details will be sent out via the Open Office Hours mailing list. If you’re not on the mailing list and would like to be, please let us know at this link:  If there are topics or hosts that you would like to see on the 2021 Open Office Hours schedule, drop a note in our suggestion box at this link:

Handbook of Training and Mentorship – Call for Contributions

At our recent Words in the World International Conference 2020, Dr. Lori Buchanan hosted a discussion on a new opportunity for Words in the World Trainees and Collaborators. As a follow-up to that discussion, we are asking for expressions of interest (EOI) regarding chapters for a book/on-line resource that will focus on networked training.  If you are interested in contributing to this project, please send your EOI or questions to Dr. Lori Buchanan (, Dr. Juhani Järvikivi (, or the grant at


Spring Training in Experimental Psycholinguistics (STEP) returns in 2021. A series of babySTEP tutorials, starting in January 2021, will lead the way to the main event organized in May (dates TBA). All STEP2021 events will take place online. For further information and developments, see


Message from the Director

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you all are keeping safe and well.

So much has changed in the months since our last Words in the World Newsletter. At the same time, I am struck by how periods such as these bring out the importance of community and our shared values. It is clear that in order to support the advancement of the next generation of research leaders, we need to prioritize opportunities for creativity, creating new knowledge, and translating that knowledge to serve the needs of our communities.

Certainly, the past months have highlighted the centrality of communication, our need to work together, and our need to train for the unexpected. It has been a pleasure for me to learn from others during our Open Office Hours, and to see the innovative new applications such as WritLarge developed in the Network. I am very excited to hear about the new work of trainees at our upcoming Words in the World Online Conference. I warmly invite you to encourage trainees within your institutions to submit an abstract at the beginning of August so that they can share their developing work at the online conference in October.

With very best wishes,
Gary Libben 

Good news and opportunities from across the network

Across our network we’ve all experienced, at minimum, a great upheaval of 2020 research plans. All of our in-person training and conference events have been postponed. This includes the 12th International Meeting on the Mental Lexicon which has been rescheduled to October 12-15, 2021. However, we have been encouraged to hear about how our colleagues have quickly adapted to a rapidly changing environment.Open Office Hours

We’re humbled by the response we’ve received from our colleagues regarding our Open Office Hour activities. So far we’ve hosted 8 events with colleagues participating live from more than 15 countries! We are pleased to announce that the next Open Office Hour, Incorporating Neuropsychological Tests into Experimental Research, will be held on July 28 at 12 p.m. EST (GMT -4). For more information, visit

If you are interested in hosting an Open Office Hour, we would be happy to hear from you!

WritLarge App Announcement

The Reading Lab at McMaster University is happy to announce the launch of WritLarge ( web-based application is designed to facilitate social mobility and relieve social isolation of older individuals through story-telling, writing, and sharing. This tool will provide older adults with a virtual community and an outlet to voice their experiences and engage with other community members. WritLarge also serves as a research tool for documenting and analyzing experiences and testimonies of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Feel free to try out the WritLarge app, spread the word about it and send us your feedback. For questions and comments contact Aki-Juhani Kyröläinen ( or Victor Kuperman (

Postdoctoral Opportunity Announcement

The Language and Communication Research Lab/McGill University and Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital-Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and the Mental Lexicon Lab/CRIUGM and University of Montreal are offering a joint postdoctoral position for 1 year, with a possibility of a 1-year extension. The application deadline is August 1, 2020.

Prospective candidates are expected to conduct psycholinguistic and/or neurolinguistic original research not only in the lab, but also in real world environments. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to actively contribute to ongoing Words in the World research in the two labs and to be involved in lab and research centre activities across the two sites.  Primary tasks include conceptualizing, designing, and conducting research projects, and preparing findings for publication.

For more information about the position and how to apply, view the full job posting on the Words in the World website: postdoctoral research position.

Words in the World International Conference 2020

We are looking forward to the virtual Words in the World (WoW) International Conference! This conference will offer a venue for the communication of ideas, intellectual exchange, and networking for trainees and others across the network.

This conference will take place online October 16-18, 2020 and will include scholarly presentations as well as discussion panels. The conference will strive to create presentation opportunities for trainees (e.g., undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, recent graduates and others). We encourage students and postdoctoral fellows from all over the world to present their in-progress or completed work at this conference and engage in conversations with their colleagues on academic and non-academic topics. Papers can, of course, include a mix of trainees and faculty members as authors.

Submissions are currently open. Read the full call for submissions here and the abstract guidelines here.

Questions? You can contact the organizing committee at

For more information about upcoming opportunities for involvement across the Words in the World network, visit our website at:

Words in the World – Happy Holidays

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very happy holiday season and all the best for 2017. We hope that the coming year will be one filled with health, happiness and the joy of creativity and discovery.

As we come to the end of this year, we celebrate an exciting beginning to the Words in the World Partnership. The success of our funding application was officially announced in September 2016. It is an honour to be among the eighteen successful applications and to be the only project to be awarded a grant focused on Student and Post-Doctoral Training in the 2016 competition.

The highlight of the fall 2016 season was certainly the 10th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon, which was held in Ottawa, Canada from October 19 to 21. The three-day conference featured poster and platform presentations from researchers around the world. It was a conference filled with reports of exciting new findings, methodological developments and perspectives, and the spirit of discovery and collegiality that has come to characterize the conference.

Vanessa Taler and Laura Sabourin were the Local Organizers of the Conference. They and their team were wonderful hosts for this milestone event. The conference was opened by Kevin Kee, Dean of Arts at University of Ottawa, who is a member of the Words in the Word Advisory Board. We were also delighted that Ted Hewitt was able to be our speaker and guest of honour at the Conference Banquet. Dr. Hewitt is President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the agency that has funded the Words in the World Partnership.

The Ottawa conference provided us the opportunity to host events specifically related to the Words in the World Partnership. On October 19, we hosted a Lunch and Learn event for over 50 students and post-doctoral fellows attending the conference. The Lunch and Learn focused on opportunities for students and post-doctoral fellows to combine psycholinguistic research with engagement with industry and with community organizations. The event featured Panel Members Lori Buchanan (Project Co-Investigator and creator of the Aphasia Friendly Business Campaign), Eva Kehayia (Co-Creator and Co-leader of the Living Lab RehabMALL Project), and Vivian Tsang (Scientist with Quillsoft Ltd, a company that develops software products in the education and literacy field and which is a key corporate partner associated with the Words in the World Partnership).

In the evening of October 19, we held a meeting attended by over 30 academic collaborators. It was a meeting in which we mapped out a number of strategies and targets that were important to the development of our Milestone Document that we submitted to SSHRC on October 24, 2016.

Looking forward to 2017

As we have articulated in our Milestone Document, 2017 will be a year in which we expand our scientific activities and in which we develop new cross-site initiatives and training opportunities for students and post-doctoral fellows. We will be in touch with you in 2017 with updates and details on specific initiatives. These will include updates on the following:

  • The set of instructional video modules for specific domains of lexical processing research that we will develop in 2017 and for which we will be seeking contributions from project members.
  • A new set of cross-linguistic and cross-site collaborative projects. The initial set of languages include English, French, German, Dutch, and Hebrew.
  • New synthetic edited books and special journal issues. Planned volumes include a book on “Questions for the next Decade”, a special issue of The Mental Lexicon, and an issue of Frontiers in Communication.

We look forward to developing these and other initiatives as we work together to achieve the overall goal of the Words in the World Partnered Research Training Initiative:  To advance the development of the next generation of research leaders through partnered training and collaborative knowledge creation and mobilization.


Happy Holidays!

The Words in the World Canadian Leadership Team


1. Project Director’s update: Welcome to Words in the World­
2. Upcoming events
(a) 10th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon
3. Updates and new project initiatives
(a) Aphasia Friendly Business campaign at the University of Windsor
(b) Update from Dr. Eva Kehayia

Dear Words in the World Colleagues,Let me begin by thanking you for participating in the Words in the World Partnership and congratulating you on the success of our application to the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). We were informed in April that our application was successful and we expect that we will soon be able to announce the grant publicly, as soon as SSHRC informs us that the public communication embargo is lifted.


Communication across the network will be key to our ability to create and mobilize scientific knowledge on the representation and processing of words in the mind and brain and to generate discoveries and applications that address the real-world use of language. This “Words in the World Newsletter,” which we plan to send out monthly, will be one of the partnership’s communication activities. The goal of the newsletter is to provide a simple text-based means of updating members of the partnership on developments, opportunities, and upcoming events of interest.

I therefore invite and encourage you, as members of the Partnership to send announcements that we can include in the newsletter to us at


Since we received notification of funding, we have been working to set up the structures that will ensure that we, as members of the Words in the World Partnership, can work to advance the development of the next generation of research leaders through partnered training and collaborative knowledge creation and mobilization.

These activities include:

i.  Designing the Words in the World Web Portal. This is a major and extremely important undertaking because it will constitute a virtual home for training, information repositories, and knowledge exchange for partners and our stakeholder communities.

ii.  Launching our three Accelerator Committees. The Training Committee, the Innovation & Knowledge Mobilization Committee, and the Research Integration Committee will bring together partners, collaborators, and students in order to advance the partnership’s activities in these three key domains of the partnership.

iii.  Developing our Milestone Document to be submitted to SSHRC in October. This document will lay our goals, targets, and their associated timelines for the first half of the granting period.




The 10th International Conference on the Mental Lexicon will be held in Ottawa from October 19-21. This 10th conference constitutes a milestone for us, as it was conceived and launched in 1998 as part of a previous large-scale SSHRC-funded initiative. Accordingly, the 10th Conference will be held in Canada’s capital city. The Conference provides a special, biennial, opportunity for communication within our community, with this year’s offering including thirty-five platform presentations and over sixty poster presentations showcasing exciting advances in research.This year, we are offering a Lunch & Learn networking event sponsored by the Words in the World Partnership Project, which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The event is designed for students and post-doctoral fellows. It will last for one hour (12:15 – 1:15) on October 19, and will feature a brief panel presentation with academic, community, and industry representatives. There will be opportunity for discussion following the panel presentation.Registration for the conference is still open! So, if you have not already registered for the conference and, if your schedule permits, I hope you will consider attending and using it as an opportunity to meet colleagues and to develop new opportunities for research and application.The conference schedule and registration information are both available at registration ends September 15th!




This summer saw the beginning of the Aphasia Friendly Business campaign at the University of Windsor. The goal of this campaign is to improve accessibility to business services for people with aphasia by providing education and resources for local businesses. This work has been recognized through awards and prizes from the University of Windsor and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). They are working towards a formal partnership with the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Association of Hotels, Motels, and Restaurants. They are poised to go beyond Windsor, and will be looking for interested trainees from across the Words in the World network.

(b) UPDATE FROM DR. EVA KEHAYIA, Scientific Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation (CRIR) and Associate Professor at McGill University

In May 2016, a meeting with Mr. Richard Nolin, Vice-President Operations at COMINAR (a Words in the World partner), not only confirmed their continuing partnership with the grant, but also extended an invitation to explore similar partnerships and training possibilities across Quebec.

In July, a meeting with current Words in the World partner Aude Porcedda, of the Musée de Civilization de Québec, also opened discussions with Director Nathalie Bondil, Director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), as well as other members of the MMFA who have expressed interest in collaborating on the project.

These collaborations open exciting opportunities for McGill and Université de Montréal trainees, as well as other trainees within the Words in the World network, who can explore new avenues for psycholinguistic research in real life contexts.

If you have something you would like to include in the next newsletter, contact us at wordsintheworldgrant _at_