In this project, we propose to follow French-learning monolingual and bilingual children with typical language development longitudinally during their first four years of life. We will develop versions of widely used eye-tracking techniques that are interpretable on an individual level.
Start: 2019 – End: 2023
Predicting language outcomes in monolingual and bilingual children from processing measures in infancy: Towards a new tool for evaluating risk of language disorders in infancy
Over the last decades, the development of new, implicit methods to study infant cognitive processing online has allowed to uncover a large range of remarkable speech and language perception and processing abilities that human infants possess before they even speak their first word. In summary, infants adapt to the sound structure of their native language (phoneme categories, typical shapes of native word forms and sentences) during the second half of the first year of life.
In this project, we propose to follow French-learning monolingual and bilingual children (hearing French and English, (Swiss) German, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese) with typical language development longitudinally during their first four years of life. We will develop versions of widely used eye-tracking techniques that are interpretable on an individual level, rather than on a group level. We will assess infants on a range of language perception and processing tasks, tapping both language-specific knowledge on the structure of their native language, and more language-universal skills linked to the processing and learning of new language structures. We hypothesize that both types of measures will predict language outcomes in monolingual children, but that the latter will be better predictors for bilingual toddlers, whose knowledge of any particular language is very variable and strongly influenced by their changing exposure patterns. We will also evaluate infants’ non-linguistic processing (auditory processing and attention), alongside productive language measures from parental questionnaires, and use standardized language assessments at age three years.
© image: UNINE