Department of Language and Linguistic Science
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Marilyn Vihman’s primary interest is in phonological development. She took up a Chair in Language and Linguistics at York in 2007. She received her BA in Russian (Bryn Mawr College) and her PhD in Linguistics (University of California, Berkeley). Marilyn directed the Child Phonology Project at Stanford University from 1980-1989. She later taught in Speech Science and Communication Disorders in Louisiana before coming to the UK, where she was Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Wales, Bangor from 1996 to 2006.
In 1996 Marilyn published Phonological Development: The origins of language in the child, which provided surveys of research on both infant speech perception and early vocal and phonological development. After completing the book she carried out several studies funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, involving observational recordings of children learning British English and Welsh, acoustic analyses of English, Finnish, French, Japanese and Welsh babbling and early words, and experimental infant studies using both the perceptual Head Turn paradigm and Event Related Potentials. Her current research is primarily centred on the formation and later fading of phonological templates in the first years of life, with a cross-linguistic emphasis.
Marilyn is also known for her work on bilingual language development, based largely on observations and recordings of her own two children, who were raised using Estonian as the home language while attending schools in Northern California. She also conducted studies of children acquiring English and Welsh simultaneously in North Wales.
A thoroughly revised edition of the 1996 book appeared in 2014. This 2nd edition, which is restricted to the first two years of life, includes chapters on infant development (an overview of advances in social and cognitive as well as perceptual and vocal capacities), perception of rhythm, segmentation and distributional learning, word-form learning studies using a range of different experimental methods and bilingual perception and production.
|2007 -||Professor of Linguistics||University of York|
|1996 - 2006||Professor of Developmental Psychology||University of Wales, Bangor|
|1993 - 1995||Associate Professor, Special Education||Southeastern Louisiana University|
|1980 - 1989||Director, Child Phonology Program||Stanford University|
|1971||PhD in Linguistics||University of California, Berkeley|
|1961||BA Russian||Bryn Mawr College|
My research interests are in aspects of phonological development, although I have also long been interested in child bilingualism and in the acquisition of Estonian. Please read more about our research and MA programmes on our website, phonological development.
My primary focus is on the emergence of phonological system in the period of transition into language in the first and second years of life. Recent studies have focused on the interaction of perception and production in this period. We use both infant speech perception techniques (the head turn paradigm, eye tracking) and acoustic analysis for these studies.
A recent focus of our research team has been on the quantification of systematicity (or template use) in phonological development, based on the study of longitudinal data from children acquiring a range of different languages (Arabic, both American and British English, Brazilian Portuguese, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, and Welsh) as well as from late talkers acquiring English. In addition, one of our ESRC funded projects included experimental studies of the psychological significance of templates. Members of this research effort include Professor Sophie Wauquier (Université Paris 8), Dr. Rory DePaolis (James Madison University, Virginia) and Dr. Ghada Khattab (Newcastle) as well as Dr. Tamar Keren-Portnoy (York).
In the second study we used controlled reading to 12-month-olds of a specially prepared picture book in which words (names of relatively uncommon animals) were presented either in isolation or sentence-finally. This was then followed by a head-turn experiment to determine which words were better learned.
Publications since 2000: