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November 29, 2004

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UVic Professor Unwinds Knotty Problem

Should a professional married woman be allowed to claim her childcare as a business expense just because she’s a woman? Is the law an appropriate forum for social change? These are some of the knotty problems that UVic law professor Rebecca Johnson’s book Taxing Choices: The Intersection of Class, Gender, Parenthood, and the Law, undertakes. Johnson’s book has won the 2003/04 Harold Adams Innis prize from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences as the best of its funded English language books in the social sciences. “The bottom line is that none of us are totally pure and none of us are totally evil,” she says. “There are different places where people are marked by both advantage and disadvantage.” Taxing Choices explores the relationships between law, politics, discourse and struggles for social change. “The lessons we learn about these types of struggles seem so difficult, but are at the heart of society’s main problems,” Johnson says. “The challenge is how to work through the complicated knot that has to be undone.”   Media Contacts:
Rebecca Johnson (Law) at  rjohnson@uvic.ca
Lynda Hills (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-6249 or ucom1@uvic.ca

Parents Should Listen to Baby Talk

The sounds that are produced by infants in the first six months of life are a result of a more intricate communication system than previously thought, according to research on language development by UVic linguistics graduate student Lisa Bettany. Her master’s thesis research may help parents identify important language benchmarks that are indicators of normal development. “All sounds produced in early infancy play an important role in the development of language and communication, therefore it is necessary to understand the progression of all types of sounds including growls, grunts and squeals which were ignored by previous research,” Bettany says. “This gives us a more complete picture of early vocal development.”
The linguistic benchmarks established by Bettany will allow parents and health care professionals to detect speech or hearing impairment at an earlier stage and initiate early therapeutic intervention. Bettany hopes to educate parents on what information their children are offering with their early sounds and sees her research as a testing tool. “Parents need the right information to recognize normal development,” Bettany says. “Hopefully my research will help parents detect problems earlier.” Her research is part of a larger cross-cultural infant-speech project under the supervision of Dr. J. H. Esling at UVic.

  Media Contacts:
Lisa Bettany (Linguistics) at (250) 884-4529 cell
Lynda Hills (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-6249 or ucom1@uvic.ca

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