The role of acoustic variability in language acquisition
On Thursday April 12th, Natalia Kartushina, postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Psychology, will come to the Forum for clinical linguistics and language acquisition to give a talk on how acoustic variability may both aid and slow down phonological development in an L1 or L2.
The talk is open to everyone, and will be given in English. Below is a short abstract.
From foreign to native accents: The role of variability in language acquisition
Research on the role of speaker variability in first (L1) and second (L2) language acquisition has been growing exponentially during the last ten years. Generally, the results converge to the idea that speaker-variability, arising from differences in the production of speech sounds between speakers, boosts the establishment of L1 and L2 phonological categories in infants and adults, respectively. Yet, a recent study suggests that (acoustic) variability arising from the productions of a single speaker might override the benefits of multiple-speaker variability. In my research, I examine the role of speaker variability in L1 and L2 phonological acquisition by controlling for the amount of acoustic variability it yields. The first part of my talk will focus on L2/foreign phonological learning. Here, I will present how speaker-variability (single vs multiple) might affect learning to produce foreign speech sounds during training, and how individual-specific (acoustic) variability in speech production can modulate the success of L2 learning. The second part of my talk will focus on the role of acoustic variability in infants’ L1 phonological acquisition.