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Current Funded Projects

Understanding spoken language organization in the first decade of life

In this project, we examine the development of spoken language organization with three research components:
  - Research 1 investigates the emergence of articulatory organization in infants’ babbling instances at a time when infants have had limited exposure to the native language. This research uses eye-tracking and ultrasound imaging.
  - Research 2 explores how coarticulatory organization transfers into the perceptual domain in typically developing children, and adults.
  - Research 3 tests how the development of phonological awareness, vocabulary as well as literacy interact with the maturation of coarticulatory organization in typically developing children as well as reading disordered children.     

Principal investigator:
Dr. Aude Noiray

Prof. Barbara Hoehle (University of Potsdam)
Prof. Lucie Ménard (UQAM)
Prof. Khalil Iskarous (USC)
Dr. Mark Tiede (Haskins Laboratories)
Prof. Martijn Wieling (University of Groningen)

Dzhuma Abakarova (PhD candidate)
Lisa Hintermeier (R3, M.Sc. candidate)
Stella krüger (R2, PhD candidate)
Jenni Sander (R1, M.Sc. candidate)
Olivia Taylor (R1, M.Sc. candidate)

(DFG, No: 255676067, 2018-2021)

Methodology for investigating the development of coarticulation in German children

This project investigates the maturation of coarticulatory abilities in German children aged 3 to 7.
  - Research 1 aims at developing a recording and analysis platform for the examination of kinematic data in children and adults (SOLLAR). It combines ultrasound imaging of the tongue that is crucial for consonant and vowel production with video tracking of the lips and acoustic recordings.
  - Research 2 investigates the maturation of coarticulatory patterns in the speech of German children age 3 to 7 in comparison to adults (intrasyllabic, intersyllabic and carryover coarticulation). It also examines differences in intra/inter individual and group variability.

Principal investigator:
Dr. Aude Noiray

Prof. Khalil Iskarous (USC, USA)
Dr. Mark Tiede (Haskins Laboratories, USA) 
Jan Ries (R1, University of Potsdam)

Dzhuma Abakarova (R2 adults, PhD candidate)
Stella krüger (R2 vowels, M.Sc. candidate)
Elina Rubertus (R2 children, PhD candidate)
Gwendolyn Kaiser (B.Sc. candidate)

DFG, No: 1098 (2015-2017)

PredictAble: Understanding and predicting developmental language abilities and disorders in multilingual Europe

PredictAble is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) InnovativeTraining Network (ITN) aimed at understanding and predicting developmental language abilities and disorders in multilingual Europe. More specifically, the goal of the research program is to further our understanding of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie developmental disorders of spoken and written language by pooling together international experts from academia and the private sector.

The project is conducted with european partners: Barbara Höhle (Grant Coordinator, UP), Isabell Wartenburger, (UP); Judit Gervain and Thierry Nazzi (Paris Descartes Uni, France); Paavo Leppänen and Jarmo Hämäläinen (Jyväskylä Uni, Finland); Nuria Sebastian-Gallés and Luca Bonatti (Pompeu Fabra Uni, Spain); Christoph Schmitz (NIRx Medizintechnik GmbH, Berlin) and associated partner: Ken Pugh (Haskins Lab, New Haven, USA)

Within this large project, LOLA focuses on the Relations between spoken language and reading acquisition in beginning readers of English and German with/without risk for developmental dyslexia.

Grant Coordinator:
Prof. Barbara Hoehle (University of Potsdam; Coordinator of the project)

Collaborators on specific project:
Dr. Ken Pugh (Haskins Laboratories)

Anisia Popescu (PhD candidate)

Marie Curie ITN: No: 641858 (2015-2019)

Project website:

Effect of alcohol on the production and perception of foreign languages

In this project, we examine the effect of alcohol on the production and perception of foreign language by native Dutch speakers. We have recorded 150 participants in speech and reading tasks using the technique of ultrasound imaging as well as 300 participants in short perception tasks. The first part of the project consisted in the design and training of a group of 10 M.Sc. and PhD researchers. The second part consisted in the recording of adult participants, which took place at Lowlands Science as part of a Dutch 65,000-visitor three-day music festival (see the interview and video here).

Principal investigator:
Prof. Martijn Wieling

Young Academy of Groningen, University of Groningen

Investigating speech deterioration in children with Duchenne Syndrome

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a muscle disease caused by a lack of a protein called dystrophin. In muscle, dystrophin prevents muscle damage during movements. In the brain, however, we do not really know what it does, but it is thought to play a role in automation.
Duchenne patients suffer from a progressive breakdown of muscles - starting with larger limb muscles, but eventually also smaller muscles. Duchenne patients also appear to have a delay in speech development. What is not clear, however, is whether this is due to impaired movement of the tongue or due to problems with automation and learning of speech tasks (or due to both). In this project we attempt to identify the effect of Duchenne on speech using ultrasound tongue imaging, through which the movement of the tongue is tracked during speech.

Principal investigator: Pr. Martijn Wieling
Funding: de Jong Akademie of Groningen

On the nature and acquisition of the speech code and reading

This research program is lead by scientists at Haskins Laboratories (USA). The main objective is to further our understanding of the components of language that underlie linguistic competence in speech and reading. Cross-sectional, longitudinal and cross-linguistic investigations of language-related and reading abilities are conducted in collaboration with various international partners. The research employs acoustic, articulatory, behavioral and neuroimaging methods to develop an integrative computational framework that explains the nature of phonological processes, the role of phonology in reading, and the association between phonological impairments and difficulties in learning to read. Second, it examines the cognitive and neurobiological processes that contribute to individual differences in comprehension (understanding meaning) of spoken and written language. Third, it tests a specific hypothesis that places the origins of reading failure in preliterate children directly in the brain mechanisms for speech perception and speech production.

LOLA contributes to this research by examining interactions between vocabulary, phonological awareness and non-word repetition in American English and German children from preschool to end of Grade 2.

Principal investigator:
Prof. Dr. Ken Pugh (Haskins Laboratories)

NIH, P01HD-01994

Project website: