Workshop 2: Rules and Learning Strategies in the Acquisition of Signed and Spoken Phonologies

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

  • Co-organizers: Julian K. Lysvik (University of Oslo) and Andrew Nevins (UCL)
  • Invited speakers: Diane Brentari (University of Chicago), Bill Idsardi (University of Maryland), and Dinah Baer-Henney (Universität Düsseldorf)
  • Sophus Bugges Hus, Seminar Room 3

Workshop 2 Programme

Tue 7 May, 08:30-09:00: Registration

Tue 7 May, 09:00-10:00: Invited speaker

Diane Brentari (University of Chicago)
Understanding the role of communication modality in phonological constraints: Insights from sign languages [abstract] [slides]

Tue 7 May, 10:00-10:30

Elena Koulidobrova (Central Connecticut State University), Tatiana Luchkina (Central Connecticut State University) and Jeffrey Palmer (National Deaf Center)
Testing models of Sign Language phonology: Deaf L2 vs. naive learners [abstract]

Tue 7 May, 10:30-11:00: Coffee break

Tue 7 May, 11:00-11:30

Valentina Aristodemo (Université Paris Diderot – UPD), Chiara Annucci (UPD), Carlo Geraci (Institut Jean-Nicod), Beatrice Giustolisi (Università Milano-Bicocca), Doriane Gras (UPD), Justine Mertz (UPD) and Caterina Donati (UPD)
On how to  measure phonological complexity of sign languages [abstract]

Tue 7 May, 11:30-13:00: Lunch break

Tue 7 May, 13:00-14:00: Invited speaker

Dinah Baer-Henney (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)
Phonetics and L1 as learners’ little helpers [abstract] [slides]

Tue 7 May, 14:00-14:30

Klaas Seinhorst (University of Amsterdam)
Does size matter? Regularization in different inventory sizes: experimental and typological evidence [abstract]

Tue 7 May, 14:30-15:00

Enes Avcu, Ryan Rhodes, and Arild Hestvik (University of Delaware)
Neural Tracking of Implicit vs Explicit Phonotactic Learning [abstract] [slides]

Tue 7 May, 15:00-16:00: Coffee break

Tue 7 May, 16:00-16:30

Jonathan Rawski (Stony Brook University) and Jane Chandlee (Haverford College)
Learning with Locality Across Speech and Sign [abstract] [slides]

Tue 7 May, 16:30-17:00

Hyunjung Lee (University of Leipzig)
Born To Be Gradient: Predicting exceptions of Compound Tensing in Korean [abstract] [slides]

Tue 7 May, 17:00-18:00: Invited speaker

Bill Idsardi (University of Maryland)
Phonological learning: auditory, visual, computational and animal perspectives [abstract] [slides]

Tue 7 May, 18:00-19:00: Travel time to Oslo City Hall

Tue 7 May, 19:00-21:00: Welcome Reception at the Oslo City Hall

Alternate: Anne-Michelle Tessier (University of British Columbia/University of Michigan)
The Trouble with Learning Nothing: Problems for deriving lexical avoidance with MParse [abstract]

Workshop Description

The principle behind phonological computation in spoken language is the same as phonological computation in signed language: Small, meaningless units combine and make meaningful words. Crucially, this computation occurs spontaneously and independently in both signed and spoken language (Berent 2013). In recent years, research on the acquisition of phonology has opened up new avenues for understanding how such a system can arise. Moreton, Pater, & Pertsova (2015) argue that phonological and visual learning problems are solved in analogous ways, and that the same cognitive processes are available to both types of learning. Much of our knowledge about how phonology is acquired by infants comes from experimental work. Cristia (2018) analyses this research and challenges many of the conclusions of previous work on this area, which means that our understanding of phonological acquisition has to be reevaluated.

Understanding how phonology is learned provides new insight into how different modalities of language can behave in similar ways, and understanding the relationship between signed and spoken language phonology can shed light on the interaction of different cognitive domains (such as visual and auditory perception). Such research also aids in deciding which formal mechanisms are required to compute phonological symbols. The aim of the workshop is to bring together researchers on phonological acquisition, sign-language phonology and phonological learning in general.

Call for papers

Suggested topics include (but are not limited to): phonological learning, acquisition of phonology, sign-language phonology, phonology and cognition, perception/production and cognition.

Please submit abstracts via EasyChair (see link and guidelines in Call for Papers) no later than November 2nd, 2018.


Berent, Iris. 2013. “The phonological mind.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences (Elsevier) 17(7): 319-327.

Cristia, Alejandrina. 2018. “Can infants learn phonology in the lab? A meta-analytic answer.” Cognition 170: 312-27. doi:

Moreton, Elliott, Joe Pater, and Katya Pertsova. 2015. “Phonological Concept Learning.” Cognitive Science 41: 4-69. doi:10.1111/cogs.12319.