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Main interests

My main area of interest is in the relationship between phonological and lexical development. This theme has spawned a number of questions that have driven my research: To what extent is our learning of sound patterns in the language determined by the words we hear, learn or know? How does our acquired knowledge of words affect the way we process the sounds in the language? Are words with certain shapes easier to learn, and if so, why?

I address these questions in different populations: typically developing infants and children, adult second language learners, and children/adults with different cognitive profiles (e.g., dyslexia, autism spectrum conditions).

Some findings

  • Infants find words with repeated syllables easier to segment and learn.
  • How often children hear a particular word affects when they learn to produce complex sound patterns in that word or whether they omit a syllable from that word.
  • Whether or not words vary their pitch patterns across contexts is key to children's acquisition of prosodic patterns in languages such as Swedish and Japanese.