Language Cluster Members2017-11-30T17:00:49+00:00


Language, Literacy and Learning

26 Members
Abdulkafi Albirini

Associate Professor, Linguistics and Arabic at Utah State University.


Abdulkafi Albirini was born and raised in Syria, where he completed his pre-college education, obtained a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and received several academic awards and distinctions.

He came to the United States in 2001 to complete his graduate education and obtained two doctoral degrees, one in the technologies of instruction and media and another in Linguistics. He is currently an Associate Professor of Linguistics and Arabic at Utah State University.

For the past ten years or so, he has been studying the relationship between language and cognition, language and society, and language and history. A main focus of his research is the role of language in social interactions, relations, structures, and change. In his 2015 book Modern Arabic Sociolinguistics, he examines how language is mobilized in conflict situations to mark divergent national, ethnic, and religious identities. He also analyzes the power of discourse and counter-discourse in defining.

Ahlem Ammar

Professor at Universite de Montreal, Faculty of Education


Dr. Ahlem Ammar is a professor at Universite de Montreal’s Faculty of Education.
She has undertaken multiple studies about instructed second language acquisition and has supervised more than 20 MA and “Ph.D students whose research covers a multitude of research topics (e.g., pragmatics, corrective feedback, vocabulary learning, teacher beliefs, literacy, etc.).

Alexandra Gottardo

Professor at Wilfred Laurier University


I received my PhD in educational psychology from the University of Toronto, my MHSc in speech-language pathology from the University of Toronto and my BASc in child studies from the University of Guelph.

Prior to joining Laurier, I was an assistant professor in the Psychology Department at Grand Valley State University. Between my Masters and PhD, I worked as a speech-language pathologist in a school board.

Andrea MacLeod

Associate Professor at University of Montreal


Andrea MacLeod’s research focuses on the development of phonology in bilingual children and children with speech sound disorders. In collaboration with her colleagues and students, she seeks to better understand bilingual development to help children reach their potential. She also seeks to better understand how children acquire phonological knowledge.

Anna Yamashita

MA Student in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto, OISE.


I am a Master's student at the University of Toronto in the Chen Lab. My research focuses on the language and literacy acquisition and wellbeing of Syrian refugee children resettled in Toronto.

Bayan Khatib

Co-Founder of Syrian Canadian Foundation


Bayan Khatib, is the Co-founder and Director of The Syrian Canadian Foundation, which aims to empower newcomers and connect communities. For the past five years, Bayan lead a multinational media campaign, had numerous media appearances, and participated as a speaker on the Syrian crisis at local and international events. Bayan is the translator of Just Five Minutes: Nine Years in the Prisons of Syria, a memoir of a female political prisoner, and is also the author of numerous short works of fiction and opinion articles.

Bayan Khatib

Executive Director of the Syrian Canadian Foundation


Bayan Khatib is a published creative and non-fiction writer and a speaker about human rights and the Syrian refugee crisis. She is the co-founder and director of the Syrian Canadian Foundation and on the advisory committees of a number of nonprofits and community groups.

Bayan graduated from the University of Toronto, Mississauga, with a degree in English and Professional Writing and Communications and also has a Masters in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory from McMaster University.

Christina Clark-Kazak

Associate Professor, Public and International Affairs, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa.


Christina Clark-Kazak is an associate professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. Her research focuses on three areas: age discrimination in migration and development policy; political participation of young people in migration situations; and, interdisciplinary methodology in forced migration, conflict and development.

Cornelia Hamann

Professor of English Linguistics
University of Oldenburg , Germany


Research interests:
Linguistics: Integrating Descriptive Work on Areas of English Grammar (Adjectives, Tenses) into Models of Formal Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics; Cross-Linguistic Acquisition Studies Using Models of Comparative Syntax; Language Impairment; Bilingual Language Acquisition and Second Language Acquisition; Focus on English,
German, French and Danish

Recent Projects on bilingualism (including new arrivals): BiLaD, BiliSAT


Born in Hamburg, Germany

mother of two children

hobbies: skiing, swimming, tennis
and writing (not of linguistic papers)
Education and Qualifications

1972-1978 Studies in English and Mathematics, University of Freiburg

1982 Doctorate in English Linguistics, University of Freiburg

1991 Certificat de spécialisation, University of Geneva

1998 Habilitation in General Linguistics, University of Tübingen
Research and Teaching Positions

1980-1986 University of Freiburg

1992-2003 University of Geneva

1998 Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics

2003- University of Oldenburg

Guest Professor at the University of Tours (France) 2006, 2008 and 2009 at the University of Siena (Italy) 2008 (Erasmus).

Diane Pesco

Associate Professor at Concordia University, Department of Education.


Diane Pesco joined the Department of Education at Concordia University (Child Studies Programs) in July 2008. Her research focuses on the conversational and narrative skills of children of diverse ability and from varied linguistic and cultural backgrounds. She is also interested in the role of socialization and instruction in the strengthening of such skills and in novel tools for their assessment.

Pesco has taught courses on language development, interventions designed for children with delays or difficulties acquiring language, and child development.She has also worked as a speech-language consultant in Montreal and nearby communities, working directly with children and collaborating with teachers and caregivers in supporting children’s oral language and early literacy.

Esther Geva

Professor at the University of Toronto (OISE)


Her research, publications, and graduate teaching focus on:

(a) developmental issues and best practices concerning language and literacy skills in children from various immigrant and minority backgrounds, and in ethnically and linguistically marginalized groups,

(b) language and literacy skills in typically developing learners and learners with learning difficulties, and

(c) cross-cultural perspectives on children’s psychological difficulties.

She has published extensively in these areas, presented her work internationally, and has served on numerous advisory, policy, and review committees in the US and Canada concerned with language and literacy development in ethnically and linguistically diverse children.

The book “Psychological Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children and Adolescents: A Guidebook for School and Clinical Psychologists”, coauthored with Professor Judith Wiener will be published by Springer in the summer of 2014:

Eunice-Eunhee Jang

Associate Professor at University of Toronto, Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development


Dr. Jang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development. Her research is largely situated in the areas of language assessment, educational measurement, and program evaluation. Dr. Jang and her research lab are actively involved in various research projects funded by federal, provincial, and other sources.

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