Tid: Onsdag 20 september 2017, kl. 15:00–17:00
Plats: C389, Södra huset, Frescati

Postseminarium följer direkt efter seminariet i institutionens pentry.


The human child is placed in what William James called the "blooming, buzzing confusion", an environment where all sorts of language and non-language related data are present. Bringing both language specific and general learning mechanisms to this environment, the child singles out data relevant for the task of acquiring language. However, its caregivers typically provide the child with data that seem to be strikingly well-suited. As the literature on child-directed speech suggests, there are great many a characteristics in this speech register that help the child along the way. But one gap in the understanding is how these characteristics change as a function of child age in information theoretic terms. In my PhD work, I fill parts of this gap, by investigating how high the information rate in child-directed speech is, as compared to adult-directed speech, and how this rate changes over time during the early years of the child. There is evidence from the literature that in adult-directed speech there seems to be a general trade-off between articulation rate and information density. Information density can be measured in terms of subsequent probabilities based on linearly preceding linguistic output. In a first paper, it is shown that articulation rate increases as a function of child age, even when controlling for information density (Sjons et al., 2017). In an ongoing study, we merge these measures into information rate, with the hypothesis that this also increases as a function of child age, and with the goal of showing for the first time how caregivers adjust their speech to children in information-theoretic terms.


Sjons, J., Hörberg, T., Östling, R., and Bjerva, J. (2017). "Articulation rate in Swedish child-directed speech increases as a function of the age of the child even when surprisal is controlled for." Proc. Interspeech 2017, 1794–1798.

Hjärtligt välkomna!

Johan Sjons och Hatice Zora