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C03: Effects of variable input on word learning and word recognition in infants

This project investigates effects of variable input on the establishment of phonological word representations in first language acquisition. Experiments with 14-month-old children will study word learning under different conditions of variability testing the hypothesis that only specific types of variability foster the recognition of phonologically relevant acoustic dimensions in the speech signal. Stimuli will be used that a) follow or violate relations of covariability between different phonetic dimensions as observed in natural language and that b) provide or do not provide informative phonetically variable contexts. Measurements of pupil dilation and eye movement patterns during word processing will be obtained.


Prof. Dr. Barbara Höhle

PI C03


Campus Golm
Department Linguistics
House 14, Room 2.28
Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25
14476 Potsdam

Prof. Dr. Adamantios Gafos

PI C03


Campus Golm
Department Linguistics
House 14, Room 3.15/3.16
Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25
14476 Potsdam

Dr. Natalie Boll-Avetisyan


Campus Golm
Department Linguistics
House 14, Room 1.40
Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25
14476 Potsdam

Marc Hullebus


Campus Golm
Department Linguistics
House 14, Room 3.28
Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25
14476 Potsdam


Bhatara, A. ; Boll-Avetisyan, N. ; Höhle, B. & Nazzi, T.Early sensitivity and acquisition of prosodic patterns at the lexical level.Esteve-Gibert, N., and Prieto, P. (Eds.): The Development of Prosody in First Language Acquisition. John Benjamins, Trends in Language Acquisition Research, Vol. 23. 2018
Boll-Avetisyan, N.The role of phonological structure in speech segmentation by infants and adults: a review and methodological issues.
Empirical Approaches to the Phonological Structure of Words. Eds: Christiane Ulbrich,Alexander Werth, & Richard Wiese. Berlin/Boston: Mouton de Gruyter, Linguistische Arbeiten Series, Vol. 567. 2018
Boll-Avetisyan, N.
We got the beat: The role of innate biases and input factors in prosody acquisition.
Kurz-AG on “Variable Perception and Production Correlates for Word Stress in First Language Acquisition and Child Second Language Learning” at the DGfS Conference,  Stuttgart, Germany.2018
Boll-Avetisyan, N.
Early infancy predictors of later language performance
Invited speaker at Exploratory Workshop on Early Language Assessment, Neuchâtel, Switzerland.2017
Boll-Avetisyan, N.
Prosody from a cross-domain perspective: How language speaks to music (and vice versa).
AG at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft (DGfS), Bremen, Germany.2019
Boll-Avetisyan, N.
Lexical stress discrimination by simultaneous and late bilinguals
Poster presented for the International Symposium on Bilingualism and Cognition 2018 to be held at Birla Institute of Technology & Science Pilani – KK Birla Campus Goa, India.2018
Boll-Avetisyan, N. & Fritzsche, T.Segmentation of vowel-initial words from continuous speech in infancy.
Poster presented on XXI ICIS Biennial Congress, Philadelphia, USA.2018
Boll-Avetisyan, N. ; Fritzsche, T. & Jäkel, C.Recognition of vowel-initial words in continuous speech at 11 months: Evidence from German.
Lecture on 2nd Lancaster Conference on Infant and Early Child Development, Lancaster, Great Britain.2017
Boll-Avetisyan, N. ; Nixon, J. ; Lentz, T. ; Liu, L. ; van Ommen, S. ; Coltekin, C. & van Rij, J.Neural response development during distributional learning.
Proceedings of Interspeech 2018, Iderabad, India.2018
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.
Lecture on BUCLD 43.2018
Boll-Avetisyan, N. ; van Ommen, S. ; Nazzi, T. & Höhle, B.Stress “deafness” can be overcome: Evidence from Second language learners.
Lecture on EuroSLA 28, Münster, Germany.2018
Boll-Avetisyan, N. ; van Ommen, S. ; Nazzi, T. & Höhle, B.Categorical perception of lexical stress by simultaneous and late bilinguals.
Lecture on LabPhon 16, Lisbon, Portugal.2018
Dimitriadis, A. ; Boll-Avetisyan, N. & Fritzsche, T.Measuring the learnability of morphological paradigms: An experimental study.
Lecture on Conference on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Linguistic Theory (CIALT-1),  University of Crete, Rethymno, Greece.2017
Dimitriadis, A. ; Boll-Avetisyan, N. & Fritzsche, T.An experimental study of the learnability advantage of agglutinative over fusional morphology.
Lecture on Societas Linguistica Europaea, Zurich, Switzerland.2017
Gilein, A. ; Marimon, M. ; Boll-Avetisyan, N. & Höhle, B.Electrophysiological evidence for categorical perception of word stress.
Poster presented on MMN2018: 8th Mismatch Negativity Conference, Helsinki, Finland.2018
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.
Proceedings of the Speech Prosody 9 conference, Poznań, Poland.2018
Fritzsche, T. ;  Gafos, A. & Höhle, B.Is any type of input variability beneficial for mapping novel words to objects in 14-month-old infants?
Talk at the 3rd Lancaster Conference on Infant and Child Development (LCICD), Lancaster, UK2018
Fritzsche, T. ; Gafos, A. & Höhle, B.The Beneficial Role of Variability for Acquiring Novel Words: A Habituation Study with 14-Month-Old German-Learning Children.
Poster at the 16th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon), Lisboa, Portugal.2018
Höhle, B.Phonological information in language development and language processing: How to find phonological stability in a sea of sound.Université Paris Descartes, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception.2017
Höhle, B. ; Fritzsche, T. & Gafos, A.Input variability in learning novel object-label pairs: How specific are beneficial effects?.Poster at the XXIst International Conference on Infant Studies (ICIS), Philadelphia, USA.2018