My research investigates the development of phonological representations in infants and young children at the interface of perception, production and input. My primary research concerns how acquisition is affected by different types of variation.
This line of research asks the question, "what does it mean to be monolingual?" Typically, children learning one language are treated as a homogeneous group, but there are striking differences in their linguistic environments and the speakers they interact with. In an increasingly multicultural society, many infants frequently hear a variety of accented speech alongside the native community accent. This research aims to better understand the impact of this variation on language acquisition. Some sub-questions that interest me are:
Phonological variation in connected speech
When we talk to infants, we do not use single-word utterances but combine words into grammatically correct sentences. In connected speech phonological processes apply, and words seldom appear in their canonical form. Examples of such phonological processes are assimilation (e.g. "greem beans"), or alternations within a morphological paradigm that arise when applying inflectional morphology, such as voicing alternations in Dutch and German. In this line of research I study how children cope with this variation when building their lexicon.