The goal of the project is to bring to Europe for one year an innovative researcher in mid-career who has established a strong collaborative link with one researcher in the UK (the project host). The researcher stands to gain momentum and visibility in his career as well as to forge valuable new contacts with members of the European research community.
His presence will also serve as a further stimulus to the vibrant international team of young researchers currently involved in developing a model of infant word learning in a School of Psychology of high distinction in a less favoured region. The Fellow will receive advanced training in phonetic transcription and the assessment of infant vocalisations while running a complementary experimental study of infant speech perception using the three-sample technique he designed for the Head Turn procedure. The project will focus on issues of early word representation and vocal production in speech segmentation during the period when infants begin to make the transition into language.
The study is designed to test two specific hypotheses regarding infants' segmentation abilities. First, children will be tested on their ability to use the familiarity with words that they have gained outside the experimental situation to segment short passages of running speech. Second, recordings of spontaneous vocal productions will be made over a period of months to identify each child's most common patterns. Stimuli will then be developed to test infant attention to passages that d o or do not include these patterns. The findings are expected to determine whether an infant's newly emergent lexicon serves as an entry point for the segmentation of the speech stream.
Two-way knowledge transfer between Europe and the US will be achieve d by the project, and the profile of the EU will gain prominence through the publication of the findings of the study and the model that is to be supported and elaborated over the period of the fellowship.
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