UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Linguistics Seminar Talk - Mikhail Kissine

24 January 2024, 3:00 pm–4:30 pm

Linguistics seminar

Language versus communication in autism

Event Information

Open to



Nausicaa Pouscoulous


Chandler House
2 Wakefield Street
United Kingdom

Talk title: Language versus communication in autism


Abstract: Language in autism is often reduced to a delayed acquisition or to atypical use, the reference point being language in neurotypical individuals. Such approaches focus on language disability, and somewhat downplay the acquisition routes that may be specific to autism. More specifically, typical language development is known to be intimately linked to socio-pragmatic, joint communicative experiences. Early-onset and life-long atypicality in the socio-communicative domain are core characteristics of autism, and likely explain why language onset is often significantly delayed in autistic children. However, it is also often assumed that language trajectories in autism should be correlated with an increase of socio-communicative skills, such as joint attention. In this talk, I will review evidence that some autistic individuals may acquire language in spite of strong socio-communicative atypicalities. I will also present new results that show that some autistic children may display an interest in language in and of itself, and display enhanced sensitivity to the acoustic and structural properties of the linguistic input.

About the Speaker

Mikhail Kissine

Professor Linguistics at Université Libre de Bruxelles

More about Mikhail Kissine