The Labex EFL welcomes Professor Barbara Höhle from the University of Potsdam (Germany), from 05 March 2018, for a series of four seminars on “Phonological information in language development and language processing”.
These seminars will take place on Mondays 05, 12, 19 and 26 March from 16h00 to 18h00 at the University Paris Descartes – Multidisciplinary Institute of the Holy Fathers – 45 rue des Saints Fathers – 75270 Paris cedex 06 – Room H432.
Seminar 1: How phonological development and perceptual mechanism interact
In this first seminar, I will present research on early phonological (especially prosodic) development, perceptual attunement to prosodic properties of the ambient language and the effects that this attunement has on the processing of the speech signal across the lifespan. A further issue will be the question whether and if yes in which conditions the perceptual attunement can be modified in older children or in adults, for instance in second language learning. This question will also be discussed within a broader framework of changes in processing and learning mechanisms across the lifespan.
Seminar 2: How to find phonological stability in a sea of sounds
The second seminar will deal with the question how properties of the phonetic signal affect the establishment of phonological representations at the word level and word recognition. A central property of the speech signal is its variability on the acoustic dimensions that are relevant for the phonological contrasts in a language. In language acquisition research this variability is traditionally been considered as a problem for the language learning child. However, I will present research that follows the hypothesis that input variability is essential for creating representational stability and thus essential for the child to establish the phonemic system of her language.
Seminar 3: The role of prosodic information in children‘s sentence interpretation
The third seminar will deal with the processing of prosodic information in preschool children and the integration of prosodic information into sentence comprehension at the interface of semantics and pragmatics. I will question research that seems to suggest that children loose their sensitivity to prosodic information during the preschool age and present crosslinguistic evidence that preschoolers are able to exploit prosodic information for focus assignment. This block will also highlight methodological challenges in studying linguistic competence at the semantics/pragmatics interface.
Seminar 4: Prosodic information in developmental language disorders
The last seminar covers research on language acquisition in children with developmental language disorders (mostly children with specific language impairment). I will focus on the question whether a specific weakness in the processing of prosodic information is connected to the delays that are evident in the lexical and syntactic development of these children. The implications of findings from impaired populations for hypotheses and theories about typical language acquisition will be generally discussed.
Abboub, N., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Bhatara, A., Höhle, B. & Nazzi, T. (2016) An exploration of rhythmic grouping of speech sequences by French and German-learning infants. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 10:292. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00292
Höhle, B., Pauen, S., Hesse, V., & Weissenborn, J. (2014) Discrimination of rhythmic pattern at 4 months and language performance at 5 years: A longitudinal analysis of data from German-learning children. Language Learning, 64, 141-164.
Ott, S., & Höhle, B. (2013) Verb inflection in German-learning children with typical and atypical language acquisition: the impact of subsyllabic frequencies. Journal of Child Language 40, 169-192. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S030500091200027X
Rost, G.C. & McMurray, B. (2010). Finding the signal by adding noise: The role of non-contrastive phonetic variability in early word learning. Infancy 15(6), 608–635.
Szendroi, K., Bernard, C., Berger, F., Gervain, J. & Höhle, B. (2017) Acquisition of prosodic focus marking by English, French and German 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds. Journal of Child Language. Doi:10.1017/S0305000917000071
Tamási, K., McKean C., Gafos, A., Fritzsche, T. & Höhle, B. (2017) Pupillometry registers toddlers’ sensitivity to degrees of mispronunciation. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 153, 140-148. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jecp.2016.07.014
Weber, C., Hahne, A., Friedrich, M., & Friederici, A. (2005) Reduced stress pattern discrimination in 5-month-olds as a marker of risk for later language impairment: Neurophysiological evidence. Cognitive Brain Research, 25, 180-187.
Zhou, P., Su, Y. E., Crain, S., Gao, L., & Zhan, L. (2012). Children’s use of phonological information in ambiguity resolution: A view from Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Child Language, 39(4), 687–730. doi: 10.1017/S0305000911000249