Language development; acoustic variability; word learning; statistical learning; bilingualism
In my research, I seek to understand how learners process the incredibly variable input they receive. In the case of language learning, learners encounter input that varies along many dimensions. For example, words in the real world sound different every time they are produced, even when spoken by a single talker, and variability increases exponentially between different talkers. Further, linguistic input can vary when learners encounter different dialects or languages. My research program explores how the process and outcome of learning are shaped by inevitable variability in linguistic experience.
I investigate these questions in developmental populations (infants and young children) as well as adults, using both experimental techniques (looking time paradigms, eye tracking) and corpus methods. Ongoing and future projects will continue to investigate how infants process talker and accent variability during the early stages of word learning, and whether language background (monolingually or bilingually raised) or experience with different speakers (e.g. other children, accented speakers) influences how learning occurs.