Language is a fundamental and powerful human characteristic. At the same time, the ways in which language is acquired, develops, and sometimes breaks down present a perplexing and controversial puzzle. Three instances of language learning, spoken language development and disabilities, literacy, and bilingual language acquisition are traditionally treated as non-overlapping research and professional domains. The Center takes the perspective that this conventional heuristic is theoretically counterintuitive, leading to less informed research and professional practice. Rather, we believe that these three areas directly inform one another across the life span. Our interdisciplinary framework is that language (in all its forms) is a cognitive capability that emerges throughout the life span in the context of social interaction. Our aim is to advance broader cognitive-linguistic theories of language learning. A complementary aim is to achieve more effective intervention services for children and adults who have spoken or written language learning disabilities or who are learning a second language.