C03

Effects of variable input on word learning and word recognition in infants

PI(s): Prof. Dr. Barbara Höhle & Prof. Dr. Adamantios Gafos

Spoken language does not provide a one-to-one relation between properties of the acoustic signal and abstract symbolic representations. This raises the question of how infants can detect the lexically relevant phonetic dimensions in their speech input. This project evaluates the hypothesis that acoustic variability is essential for the establishment of stability in phonemic categories during language development. We will pursue this hypothesis by considering the effects of different types of variability on word learning and speech perception, taking into account data-driven learning mechanisms that support the lexical development in the individual.

in phase 1:

Effects of variable input on word learning and word recognition in infants

PI(s): Prof. Dr. Barbara Höhle & Prof. Dr. Adamantios Gafos

The project explores effects of phonetic and acoustic variability in the speech input on the basis of which phonological categories in early language acquisition are established. The main hypothesis pursued is that not all types of variability are equal: some types of variability support phonological category building whereas others do not support or even hinder their establishment. A major part of our experimental work consists in word learning experiments with 14-month-olds and more specifically word learning experiments where the presented stimuli are minimal pairs, that is, pairs of words differing in only one phoneme. Our focus is the hypothesis that only specific types of variability among acoustic parameters in these minimal pairs serve to highlight the phonologically relevant dimensions on the basis of which categories are built.

In a first research component, we have confirmed results from prior work that the presentation of the words in the to-be-learnt minimal pair from multiple speakers results in learning whereas presentation of the minimal pair by a single speaker does not result in a successful learning outcome. A subsequent study established that the advantage of variability in learning the minimal pair in the multiple speaker setting derives from properties of the acoustic signal; when variability was presented in the visual forms of the stimuli (rather than in their acoustic forms), learning was unsuccessful.

In a third research component, we are exploring the hypothesis that phonological categories in natural speech observe specific relations of covariability among the acoustic cues that express the phonological contrasts in these categories. Two related aims are pursued here. The first is to better understand if and how sensitivity to these co-variance relations depends on age; the second is whether stimuli with variability that conforms to these natural relations found in speech are learned better than stimuli which contain the same degree of variability but conform to different relations from those found in natural speech.

In pursuing the above aims, the project employs a number of different experimental methods used in language development research paradigms: eye-tracking coupled with habilitation and familiarization techniques, word learning experiments, and analyses of pupil dilation changes in response to paired acoustic-visual stimuli.

Members

Gafos
Prof. Dr. Adamantios Gafos
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 3.15/3.16
(+49) 331 977-2777
Höhle
Prof. Dr. Barbara Höhle
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 2.11
(+49) 331 977-2948
Hullebus
Marc Hullebus
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 3.28
Langus
Dr. phil. Alan Langus
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 2.37
(+49) 331 977-2916

Publications

  • Peer-Reviewed: Papers, Journals, Books, Articles of the CRC
  • Talk or Presentation: Talks, Presentations, Posters of the CRC
  • SFB-Related: not produced in connection with the CRC, but are thematically appropriate
  • Other: Papers, Journals, Books, Articles of the CRC, but not peer-reviewed
Author(s)TitleYearPublished inLinksType
Höhle, B., Fritzsche, T., Mess, K., Philipp, M., & Gafos, A.Only the right noise? Effects of phonetic and visual input variability on 14-month-olds' minimal pair word learning.2020Developmental Science, 23(5), e12950. DOI: 10.1111/desc.12950
Peer-Reviewed
Höhle, B., Bijeljac-Babic, R., & Nazzi, T.Variability and stability in early language acquisition: Comparing monolingual and bilingual infants' speech perception and word recognition.2019Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(1), 56-71. DOI: 10.1017/S1366728919000348
Peer-Reviewed
Boll-Avetisyan, N., Bhatara, A., & Höhle, B.Processing of Rhythm in Speech and Music in Adult Dyslexia.2020Brain Sciences, 10(5), 261. DOI: 10.3390/brainsci10050261
Peer-Reviewed
Höhle, B., Fritzsche, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Hullebus, M., & Gafos, A. I.Respect the surroundings: Effects of phonetic context variability on infants' learning of minimal pairs.2021JASA Express Letters, 1(2), 024401. DOI: 10.1121/10.0003574
Peer-Reviewed
Tobin, S., Hullebus, M., & Gafos, A. I.Immediate phonetic convergence in a cue-distractor paradigm.2018The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144(6), EL528. DOI: 10.1121/1.5082984
Peer-Reviewed
Hullebus, M., Tobin, S., & Gafos, A.Speaker-specific structure in German voiceless stop voice onset times.2018Proceedings of Interspeech 2018 (pp.1403-1407). Hyderabad, India. DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2288Other
Bhatara, A., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Höhle, B., & Nazzi, T.Early sensitivity and acquisition of prosodic patterns at the lexical level.2018N. Esteve-Gibert & P. Prieto (Eds.), The Development of Prosody in First Language Acquisition (pp. 37-57). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI: 10.1075/tilar.23.03bhaSFB-Related
Boll-Avetisyan, N.The role of phonological structure in speech segmentation by infants and adults: a review and methodological considerations.2018C. Ulbrich, A. Werth, & R. Wiese (Eds.), Empirical Approaces to the Phonological Structure of Words (pp. 213-240). Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter. DOI: 10.1515/9783110542899-009SFB-Related
Boll-Avetisyan, N., Nixon, J., Lentz, T., Liu, L., van Ommen, S., Coltekin, C., & van Rij, J.Neural response development during distributional learning.2018Proceedings of Interspeech 2018 (pp.1432-1436). Hyderabad, India. DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2018-2072SFB-Related
Junge, C., Boll-Avetisyan, N., & Benders, T.Speech Perception and discrimination: from sounds to words.2019J. Horst & J. von Koss Torkildsen (Eds.), International Handbook of Language Acquisition (pp. 153-172). New York: Routledge.SFB-Related
Nixon, J., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Lentz, T.O., van Ommen, S., Keij, B., Çöltekin, Ç., Liu, L., & van Rij, J.Short-term exposure enhances perception of both between- and within-category acoustic information.2018Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018 (pp. 114-118). DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-23SFB-Related
Boll-Avetisyan, N.How short-term exposure alters the sensitivity to a non-native phonetic contrast: Novel insights from ERP and behavioral measures.2018Invited talk at the Linguistisches Kolloquium, Phillips-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany. 05 December.Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N.Determinants of variability and consistency in prosody perception.2018Invited talk at the Linguistisches Kolloquium, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany. 28 November.Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N.We got the beat: The role of innate biases and input factors in prosody acquisition.2018Invited talk at the 40. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft. Kurz AG 14: Variable perception and production correlates for word stress in first language acquisition and child second language learning, Stuttgart, Germany. 07 - 09 March.Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N.Early infancy predictors of later language performance.2017Invited talk at the Exploratory Workshop on Early Language Assessment, Neuchâtel, Switzerland. 11 - 14 September.Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N., & Fritzsche, T.Segmentation of vowel-initial words from continuous speech in infancy.2018Poster presented at the International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS 2018 - Building Bridges), Philadelphia, PA, USA. 30 June - 03 July.
Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N., Fritzsche, T. & Jäkel, C.Recognition of vowel-initial words in continuous speech at 11 months: Evidence from German.2017Paper presented at the 2nd Lancaster International Conference on Infant and Early Child Development (LCICD 2017), Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK. 23 - 25 August.Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N., van Ommen, S., Nazzi, T., & Höhle, B.Lexical stress discrimination by simultaneous and late bilinguals.2018Poster presented at the International Symposium on Bilingualism and Cognition 2018, Birla Institute of Technology & Science Pilani - KK Birla Campus Goa, Goa, India. 01 - 03 November.
Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N., van Ommen, S., Nazzi, T., & Höhle, B.Categorical perception of lexical stress in French L2 learners of German: Effects of musical acuity.2018Poster presented at the 43rd Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, MA, USA. 02 - 04 November.
Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N., van Ommen, S., Nazzi, T., & Höhle, B.Stress “deafness” can be overcome: Evidence from Second language learners.2018Paper presented at the 28th Conference of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA 2018), Münster, Germany. 05 - 08 September.Talk or Presentation
Boll-Avetisyan, N., van Ommen, S., Nazzi, T., & Höhle, B.Categorical perception of lexical stress by simultaneous and late bilinguals.2018Paper presented at the LabPhon16 - Variation, development and impairment: Between phonetics and phonology, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal. 19 - 22 June.Talk or Presentation
Brown, J. M. M., & Boll-Avetisyan, N.Artificial language learning experiments for testing the learnability of possible and impossible syntactic structures and previous exposure bias.2019Paper presented at the 3rd RTANJ-Workshop, Rtanj Mountain, Serbia. 04-07 July.
Talk or Presentation
Dimitriadis, A., Boll-Avetisyan, N., & Fritzsche, T.Measuring the learnability of morphological paradigms: An experimental study.2017Paper presented at the Conference on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Linguistic Theory (CIALT-1), University of Crete, Rethymnon, Greece. 06 - 08 October.Talk or Presentation
Dimitriadis, A., Boll-Avetisyan, N., & Fritzsche, T.An experimental study of the learnability advantage of agglutinative over fusional morphology.2017Paper presented at the Societas Linguistica Europaea, Zurich, Switzerland. 10 - 13 September.Talk or Presentation
Fritzsche, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Hullebus, M., Gafos, A. I., & Höhle, B.How brief exposure to varying phonetic contexts can enhance minimal pair word learning in 14-month-old children.2020Poster presented at the International Congress of Infant Studies (vICIS), Glasgow, Scotland, UK. 06-09 July.
Talk or Presentation
Fritzsche, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Hullebus, M., Gafos, A. I., & Höhle, B.Give me more! Increasing relevant acoustic variability aids 14-month-old children in learning minimal pairs.2020Poster presented at the 17th Biennial conference of the Association for Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon17), Vancouver, Canada. 06-08 July.
Talk or Presentation
Fritzsche, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Markmann, E., Gafos, A. I., & Höhle, B.The facilitative effect of phonetic context variability on early word learning: A habituation study with 14-month-old children.2020Poster presented at the 10th Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development (BCCCD), Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. 09-11 January.
Talk or Presentation
Fritzsche, T., Gafos, A. I., & Höhle, B.Is any type of input variability beneficial for mapping novel words to objects in 14-month-old infants?2018Paper presented at the 3rd Lancaster International Conference on Infant and Early Child Development (LCICD 2018), Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK. 05 - 07 September.
Talk or Presentation
Fritzsche, T., Gafos, A. I., & Höhle, B.The beneficial role of variability for acquiring novel words: A habituation study with 14-month-old German-learning children.2018Poster presented at the LabPhon16 - Variation, development and impairment: Between phonetics and phonology, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal. 19 - 22 June.
Talk or Presentation
Höhle, B.Phonological information in language development and language processing: How to find phonological stability in a sea of sound.2017Invited talk at the Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, Université Paris Descatres, Paris, France. March.Talk or Presentation
Höhle, B., Fritzsche, T., & Gafos, A. I.Input variability in learning novel object-label pairs: How specific are beneficial effects?2018Poster presented at the International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS 2018 - Building Bridges), Philadelphia, PA, USA. 30 June - 03 July.
Talk or Presentation
Hullebus, M., Tobin, S. J., & Gafos, A. Speaker-specific structure in German voiceless stop voice onset times.2018Paper presented at the Interspeech 2018, Hyderabad, India. 02 - 06 September.Talk or Presentation
Omane, P. O., & Höhle, B.Acquiring Syntactic Variability: The Production of Wh-Questions in Children and Adults Speaking Akan.2021Frontiers in Communication, 6. DOI: 10.3389/fcomm.2021.604951
Peer-Reviewed
Marimon, M., Höhle, B., & Langus, A.Pupillary entrainment reveals individual differences in cue weighting in 9-month-old German-learning infants.2022Cognition, 224, 105054. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2022.105054Peer-Reviewed
Höhle, B.Not only noise: effects of acoustic variability on the development of phonological categories in early language acquisition.2022Invited talk at the Workshop: Hearing and Linguistics, Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany. 13 - 14 May.Talk or Presentation
Knabe, M., Fritzsche, T., Langus, A., Hullebus, M., Gafos, A. I., & Höhle, B.The effect of interleaving on minimal pair learning: A preferential looking paradigm with 14-month-old infants.2023Poster presented at the 13th Annual Budapest CEU Conference on Cognitive Development (BCCCD), Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. 06 January. Talk or Presentation
Höhle, B.What the eyes can tell about language acquisition.2023Invited Talk at the University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. 05 April. Talk or Presentation