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The Role of Production Practise in Language Development


Perception and production studies of infants have failed to be integrated, largely due to the fragmentation of research by methodological differences. The proposed study is intended to introduce the applicant to the area of phonological development. It will train her in experimental procedures designed to explore infant speech perception as well as in the expertise needed to transcribe and analyse infants' babbling and first word production. By combining these approaches the study will constitute an innovative attempt to address the relation between
(a) the knowledge a child gains through both perception of input speech and vocal practice in the paralinguistic period and
(b) the establishment of the first stable linguistic representations.

Specifically, it will test two general hypotheses:
1.Early word form recognition will be positively related to overall lexical advance.
2.The number of consonants used stably in babbling will be positively related specifically to advances in referential word use, or the cumulative formation of symbolic lexical representations.

The proposed research is interdisciplinary, deriving from both linguistics and psychology. The training activities constitute knowledge transfer from the host institution to the fellow. The applicant intends to continue work in the scientific area of this project and future employers should benefit from her unique skills combination. The host institution, situated in the less favoured region West Wales and the Valleys, will benefit from the applicant' s expertise in grammatical development, gained during her doctoral research. Phonological development has rarely been addressed among researchers in the applicant' s home country, Israel. To our knowledge, no one there is yet using the methodologies in which the applicant will be trained. This study should thus help to foster cross-linguistic research, a critically needed corrective to a long established focus on English.

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College Road, Bangor
United Kingdom