Tamar Keren-Portnoy
Senior Lecturer

Profile

Biography

My primary focus in studying both syntactic and phonological development has been on understanding how current skills promote further learning. In syntax this has meant studying facilitation effects of early verbs or structures on later ones, as well as understanding what makes new learning easy or hard. In phonology I am interested in understanding the contribution of sound production (babble or speech) to the way infants and toddlers listen to language, perceive and remember new words, and to early word production. I am also more generally interested in understanding how phonological knowledge is constructed in its very early stages. In all my research I take an empiricist, constructivist, perspective.

I use naturalistic observation data as well as experimental methods with both infants and toddlers. The infant experiments have involved Head Turn Preference and Central Fixation Procedures, and the toddler experimentsmake use of word learning and word identification tasks.

Career

2014 - Senior Lecturer University of York
2010 - 2014 Lecturer University of York
2006 - 2010 Research Fellow University of York
2003 - 2006 Research Officer, School of Psychology University of Wales
2002 PhD in Psychology Hebrew University of Jerusalem
1997 MA in Psychology Hebrew University of Jerusalem
1992 BA in Psychology and General studies Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Departmental roles

  • Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

Research

Overview

My primary focus in studying both syntactic and phonological development has been on understanding how current skills promote further learning. In syntax this has meant studying facilitation effects of early verbs or structures on later ones, as well as understanding what makes new learning easy or hard. In phonology I am interested in understanding the contribution of sound production (babble or speech) on the way infants and toddlers listen to language, perceive and remember new words. I am also more generally interested in understanding how phonological knowledge is constructed in its very early stages in both typically developing and late-to-talk toddlers. In all my research I take an empiricist, constructivist, perspective.

I use naturalistic observation data as well as experimental methods with both infants and toddlers. The infant experiments have involved Head Turn Preference Procedure, and the toddler experiments make use of word learning and word identification tasks.

Grants

Past grants:

  • University of York EPSRC Impact Accelerator Fund 2015 Perfecting the Babble app: Turning a voicing detection app into a full babble detector. T. Keren-Portnoy, H. Daffern & R. A. DePaolis.
  • University of York Early Commercialisation Fund 2015 Building ‘Babble Lite’: developing a commercial game for iPad which responds to a baby’s vocalisations with stimulating visuals. T. Keren-Portnoy, H. Daffern & R. A. DePaolis.
  • British Academy 2014 The role of Isolated words in early word learning M. Vihman & T. Keren-Portnoy.
  • University of York C2D2 Research fund 2014 Building a novel tool to reinforce babble in pre-babbling typically developing hearing and deaf infants. T. Keren-Portnoy, R. A. DePaolis, H. Daffern, & D. M. Howard.
  • Economic and Social Research Council 2011-2012   Effects of input on early word learning. M. M. Vihman & T. Keren-Portnoy.
  • Economic and Social Research Council 2009-2011 Psychological significance of production templates in phonological and lexical advance: A cross-linguistic study. M. M. Vihman, T. Keren-Portnoy,  R. A. DePaolis,  G. Khattab, & S. Wauquier.
  • Economic and Social Research Council 2009-2010 Exploring cultural impact on segmentation and first word recognition. T. Keren-Portnoy, M. M. Vihman, & R. A. DePaolis.
  • Economic and Social Research Council 2006-2009. Late talking toddlers: Relating phonological to lexical development. M. Vihman, T. Keren-Portnoy, & J. Lum.
  • Economic and Social Research Council 2007-2009 Dynamic interactions between perception and production: An Integrated experimental and observational study. M. Vihman & T. Keren-Portnoy.
  • Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship within the 6th European Community Framework Programme. 2004-2006 The role of production practice in language development.

Collaborators

  • Helena Daffern
  • Rory DePaolis
  • Paul Foulkes
  • Ghada Khattab
  • Suresh Manandhar
  • Osnat Segal
  • Marilyn Vihman
  • Eytan Zweig

External activities

Memberships

  • 2010 - Member of ESRC Peer Review College

Contact details

Tamar Keren-Portnoy
Senior Lecturer
Department of Language and Linguistic Science
Room: V/B/220, Vanbrugh College B Block
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: (0)1904 323614

https://www.york.ac.uk/language/research/projects/babylab/