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Strand 4: Representation and treatment of the language from a "Lifespan" perspective 

Leader : Thierry Nazzi- INCC - University of Paris


Co-leader: Carla Soares-Jesel, LLF - University of Paris


Axis 4 was proposed to stimulate research and create new synergies in the field of language processing, taking into account a lifespan perspective. It aims to build bridges between psycholinguistics, linguistics and developmental psychology. While the axis is mainly interested in language acquisition, it also explores issues related to aging, and language formation (in connection with the study of Creoles).


We study the acquisition of various aspects of language, in connection with strand 1 (phonetics / phonology), strand 2 (morphology / syntax) and strand 7 (on more methodological aspects). These new collaborations have made it possible to create new links between researchers from the Universities of Paris 3, and University of Paris, who use different approaches to study related phenomena (such as, for example, between psycholinguists interested in language acquisition and interested phoneticians. by adult productions).


The main goal of our research is to identify the constraints on cortical development underlying language acquisition, the role of language-general properties, the role of properties specific to the mother tongue (s) , and the dynamics of interactions between endogenous constraints of cortical development and environmental input. Different levels of processing (auditory, phonological, lexical, syntactic…) and their integration are explored, using different behavioral and imagery methods (ERPs, NIRS). We are interested in a wide range of populations: typically developing infants / children; adults; populations with atypical development: deaf children with implantation, premature children, children with a developmental disorder (dyslexia, Williams syndrome, etc.).


Our research has given rise to innovative discoveries. We have specified some of the early mechanisms involved in oral (from birth) and written (from elementary school) language acquisition, and we have started to identify their neural bases (using EEG and NIR ). Promoting a comparative approach, our results have important implications for models of language acquisition and processing. Our work has also contributed to a better understanding of language acquisition and processing by bilinguals, highlighting early advantages and specifying the links between the two linguistic systems. Our work covers many languages (including non-European languages), with a particular interest for Creoles (little studied elsewhere). Finally, our research on atypical development makes it possible to identify processing / representation deficits in these populations, a step towards the development of appropriate remedial techniques.


To give a few examples, our work has shown that certain early treatment biases (and their neural bases, highlighted by the NIRS) involved in prosodic treatment are already modulated at birth by the prenatal language experience (monolingual or bilingual) . Studies on the determinants of dyslexia (within the framework of allophonic theory) have led to the development of remedial software available on smartphones. Our work on Creole syntax led to the realization of the first studies on the perception of speech by children / adults speakers of Creole languages.


Since the launch of LABEX, strand 4 has produced numerous publications (25 peer-reviewed articles, and around 20 book chapters and conference proceedings for the year 2016).


Twelve thesis students and 7 postdoctoral researchers worked directly on Axis 4 projects during these years. We also welcomed several guest professors (Géraldine Legendre, Johns Hopkins University; Irene Vogel, University of Delaware; Barbara Höhle, Potsdam University), and sent or hosted several thesis students, coming or coming from foreign laboratories. With this work on language acquisition, bilingualism and atypically developing populations, our research has implications for education, a more positive perception of bilingualism, and the medical environment (specialized education and remediation).


The strand is strongly involved in promotion actions aimed at the general public.


Strand 4 Operations (2020-2025)


TYPMP1 Neuroimaging of newborn speech processing and the role of prenatal experience

Judit Gervain (INCC)


TYPMP2 Acoustics of speech

Laurianne Cabrera (INCC)


TYPMP3 Segmental and tonal processing in early development

Thierry Nazzi (INCC)


TYPMP4 Taking advantage of the typological diversity in African languages

Thierry Nazzi (INCC) Marc Van De Velde (Llacan)


TYPMP5 The role of morphological and graphotactic knowledge in spelling acquisition

Sébastien Pacton (LMC)


TYPSS1 Non-verbal social signals in the lifespan

Jonathan Ginzburg (LLF)


TYPSS2 Meaning in early lexical and visual processing

Pia Rämä (INCC)


TYPSS3 Morphosyntactic acquisition and processing

Judit Gervain (INCC) - Carla Soares-Jesel (LLF)

DD1 Understanding individual variability in typical language acquisition

Thierry Nazzi (INCC)


DD2 Impact of bilingual environment on language acquisition and processing

Ranka Bijeljac-Babic (University of Poitiers / INCC)


DD3 Language training, acquisition and processing: The case of Creole languages

Guillaume Fon Sing (LLF) - Barbara Hemforth (LLF)


DD4 Atypical development

Laurianne Cabrera (INCC)

Strand 4 video presentation
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