Vicerektor Elisabeth Wåghäll Nivre vid Områdesnämnden för humanvetenskap har beslutat att tilldela 170 000 SEK för strategiska satsningar (inom kategorin Black Box) till projektet "The role of pitch accent language experience for the development of lexical tone perception in infancy: Stockholm Babylab to contribute Swedish data to the large-scale international collaborative initiative “Learning Tones” (LETO)".

Projektet är ett internationellt samarbete mellan många spädbarnlaboratorier i världen, i syfte att ta reda på hur spädbarn med olika språkbakgrund uppfattar tonkontraster under de första två levnadsåren. Projektet pågår under 2019.

Stockholms Babylab vid Institutionen för lingvistik är Sveriges ledande spädbarnslabb, med forskningsmöjligheter som bland annat inkluderar system för EEG-registreringar, ögonrörelsemätningar, nappsugningsmätningar (HAS) och "Head-Turn"-procedur.

Projektmedarbetare

Iris-Corinna Schwarz är FD i psykologi med fokus på barns språkutveckling. Lisa Gustavsson och Ellen Marklund är FD i lingvistik och aktiva i forskningsprojektet Effekten av hyperartikulation på tidig språkutveckling (HELD), finansierat av Riksbankens Jubileumsfond

Projektsammanfattning

This proposal aims to enable Stockholm Babylab to follow the invitation to contribute indispensable Swedish data to a worldwide collaborative study on the development of lexical tone perception in infancy. Lexical tone is a property of many languages across the world. Infants learning tone or stress languages are sensitive to lexical tone early in life, but this sensitivity decreases for infants learning stress languages. Pitch accent languages, such as Swedish, fall between tone and stress languages, as pitch variation conveys lexical distinction only in a small portion of the language inventory. For pitch accent, no decrease in sensitivity has been found in infants learning a stress language or in infants learning a pitch accent dialect. Adult pitch accent speakers discriminate lexical tone contrasts equally well as tone language speakers. The planned collaborative study contrasts the factors maturation and language class in a cross-linguistic set-up at three different ages in infancy using tone languages, stress languages and pitch accent languages with Swedish as one representative of the pitch accent language class. Stockholm Babylab is to collect data from 48 Swedish-learning infants at 5, 10 and 17 months, requiring research assistance. Stockholm Babylab was asked to be part of this worldwide collaborative initiative because of the lab’s international research connections and its immediate possibilities to test Swedish learning infants. The proposed project enables Stockholm Babylab to contribute key data to this collaborative initiative with the potential to deliver a milestone to the field of lexical tone perception in infancy. Therefore, Stockholm Babylab’s contribution is strategically valuable for Stockholm University, putting Stockholm Babylab right among the world’s leading infant language labs.