Back Learning the sound of language

Learning the sound of language (LESOLA)

Learning the sound of language (LESOLA)

During the first year of their lives infants acquire a significant amount of knowledge about the language(s) of exposure. In a few months,
infants shift from being universal language learners to specialists in their native language. A prevalent model of speech perception
proposes that oscillatory brain activity entrains to the oscillations present in the envelope of the speech signal. Such alignment is driven by
two different types of mechanism (1) signal/prosody driven (bottom up) (2) syntax/semantic/motor/cognitive knowledge driven (top down).
However, prosodic information is not an isomorphic function of acoustic information. This proposal tests that the segmentation of the
speech signal the bottom-up component performs does not have the format of phonological representations. The proposal adopts a
developmental perspective by testing infants from 4-9 months of age. In their first months of life, infants are sensitive to the different
prosodic cues that are common to all languages (like prosodic phrase edge lengthening or the ITL -iambic trochaic law) without prioritizing
one type of acoustic cue over another. In the following months, sensitivity to language-specific processing develops, by adjusting the
weighting of different types of acoustic cues in infants native language(s). I hypothesize that these changes correlate with the emergence
of top-down influences in neural entrainment as a consequence of infants learning of native language(s) prosodic properties.

Duration: 1 Sept 2022 to 31 August 2025

Financing:  211.508,00€

Reference: Project PID2021-123416NB-I00 financed by MCIN/ AEI / 10.13039/501100011033 / FEDER, UE