Slide background

Niels O. Schiller

Professor of Psycho- and Neurolinguistics


A psycholinguistic model for phonological development

babylabPhD student: Margarita Gulian
Supervisors: Claartje Levelt and Niels O. Schiller 

In my research I investigate the acquisition of onset cluster words like the word trein (train) by two-year-old Dutch children. In this I pay attention to both production and perception of onset clusters. So far I have found that in production children leave acoustic traces in their reduced cluster words. This is when they say tein for trein, koop for knoop (button) and choen for schoen (schoe). Regarding their perception, I have found that two-year-olds have trouble perceiving the difference between a cluster word (trein) and a simplified form of this cluster word (tein) but they can perceive the difference between the simplified (choen) and the complex form (schoen). These findings are striking with respect to how they relate to the question of storage of complex onset words in the child mental lexicon. On the one hand, acoustic traces point to a more detailed specification of the stored word than suggested from the surface form (tein), on the other hand, the failure to perceive the difference between trein and tein points to a less specified stored form. In order to shed more light on this controversy another perception study is under development.