Limits of variability in phonotactic acquisition due to universal biases

PI(s): Prof. Dr. Natalie Boll-Avetisyan

This project aims at disentangling to what extent phonotactic acquisition is experience-dependent, leading to variability across infants with different language experiences (learning different or multiple languages), and to what extent experience-independent universal biases might place a limit on this acquisition. To this end, we will compare infants growing up mono- or bilingually with German and/or Russian, two phonotactically distinct languages. We will conduct corpus-based lexical statistics to understand what phonotactic input the infants receive, and eye-tracking experiments to test whether the infants’ phonotactic listening preferences are shaped by universal biases beyond their language experience conditions.


Prof. Dr. Natalie Boll-Avetisyan
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 2.38
(+49) 331 977-2374 E-Mail Link | Link
Dr. Rowena Garcia
Campus GolmHaus 14, Raum 2.37
(+49) 331 977-2956 E-Mail


  • 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  • Other: Papers, Journals, Books, Articles of the CRC, but not peer-reviewed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
Garcia, R., & Boll-Avetisyan, N.Infant-directed speech might be tailored for learning phonotactics.2022Paper presented at the 23rd International Congress of Infant Studies, Ottawa, Canada. 07 - 10 July.Talk or Presentation
Garcia, R., & Boll-Avetisyan, N.Infant-directed speech might be tailored for learning phonotactic principles.2022Paper presented at the 18th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (Online). 23 - 25 June.Talk or Presentation
Garcia, R., & Boll-Avetisyan, N.Infant-directed speech supports phonotactic learning in German.2022Paper presented at the Workshop on Infant Language Development, San Sebastián, Spain. 09 - 11 June.Talk or Presentation
Garcia, R., Roeser, J., & Kidd, E.Online data collection to address language sampling bias: lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.2022Linguistics Vanguard. DOI: 10.1515/lingvan-2021-0040Paper Peer-Reviewed
Piot, L., Nazi, T., & Boll-Avetisyan, N.Infants' sensitivity to phonotactic regularities related to perceptually low-salient fricatives: a cross-linguistic study.acceptedFrontiers in Psychology, 15. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1367240Peer-Reviewed
Aravena-Bravo, P., Cristia, A., Garcia, R., Kotera, H., Kunene Nicolas, R., Laranjo, R., Arokoyo, B., Benavides, S., Benders, T., Boll-Avetisyan, N., Cychosz, M., Dal Ben, R., Diop, Y., Durán-Urzúa, C., Havron, N., Manalili, M., Narasimhan, B., Omane, P., Rowland, C., Kolberg, L., Ssemata, A., Styles, S., Troncoso-Acosta, B., & Woon, F.Towards diversifying early language development research: First Truly Global International Summer/ Winter School on Language Acquisition (/L+/) 20212023Journal of Cognition and Development DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2023.2231083Paper Peer-Reviewed


University of Potsdam
Department Linguistics
Prof. Dr. Doreen Georgi
Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25
House 14, Room 3.33
14476 Potsdam

(+49) 331 977-2968
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