Phonological rules that are common across languages tend to be phonetically natural; that is, they reflect constraints on speech production and/or perception. There is evidence that adults have a learning bias, such that phonetically natural rules are easier to learn, and hence have an advantage in transmission across generations. Yes, phonology is acquired early in life. It is thus necessary to examine whether infants are likewise biased towards learning phonetically natural rules. We will examine this using an artificial language-learning paradigm with 10-month-old infants.
Student profile: Some knowledge of phonology/phonetic preferred, working knowledge of French necessary to interact with infants and their parents.