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

May 7, 2019

  • Julian K. Lysvik (University of Oslo)
  • Andrew Nevins (UCL)
Invited Speakers
  • Diane Brentari (University of Chicago)
  • Bill Idsardi (University of Maryland)
  • Dinah Baer-Henney (Universität Düsseldorf)
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.