International Chair 2022 - Yvan Rose (Memorial university of Newfoundland (St John's - Canada))

We are pleased to welcome Professor Yvan ROSE from Memorial University of Newfoundland (St John's - Canada) for a series of four seminars on "Phonetic Acquisition and First Language Phonology: Fundamental Issues, Current Theories and Methods of Analysis".

The seminars will take place on Tuesdays, May 3, 10, 17 and 24 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Maison de la Recherche (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), 4 rue des Irlandais 75005 Paris, salle Claude Simon.


In this series of four seminars, we will review current research and theoretical issues in phonology and phonetics, with particular attention to the study of children's acquisition of phonology. The majority of the topics covered will remain relevant to the more general study of phonology and phonetics based on linguistic corpora.

Description of the sessions :

1. Phonetics and phonology of child speech: fundamental questions, theoretical debates, and working hypothesis

This first seminar will lay the groundwork for the progressive course, which will focus on theoretical and empirical questions concerning the nature of phonological representations, their origin, and their expression in infant speech. From an emergentist perspective, it can be hypothesized that phonological features are acquired from particular dimensions of the acoustic signal of the surrounding language (e.g., acoustic cues relevant to places and modes of articulation; Rose 2014, based on Pierrehumbert 2003). However, these models only vaguely explain the mechanisms by which the learner links these acoustic dimensions to their articulatory realization in the spoken language. We will explore this topic using the central hypothesis of the A-map model (McAllister Byun et al. 2016), which suggests mechanisms of association between acoustic signals and their articulatory correlates relevant to any learner in both first and second languages. This model also applies to the more general observation that any individual phonetic system never stops evolving over the lifetime of the speaker.

Suggested reading: McAllister Byun, T., S. Inkelas & Y. Rose. 2016. The A-map Model: Articulatory Reliability in Child-specific Phonology. Language 92(1). 141–178.

2. Overview of phonetic and phonological acquisition facts and theoretical implications

This second seminar will begin with an overview of corpus data in phonological acquisition, with an emphasis on language productions of French-speaking learners (e.g., France; Quebec) available in the PhonBank database (, which will also be compared to data from other languages. From this overview, we will draw a set of generalizations about the development of different classes of sounds (e.g., obstruent vs. approximant consonants), and explore the generalizations in light of the phonetic dimensions (acoustic and articulatory) involved in the production of these sounds. Finally, we will explore effects of phonological complexity and position (e.g. simple vs. complex syllabic onsets; medial vs. final codas) as well as more functional effects such as frequency of use on the development of phonology in spoken language.

Suggested reading: Rose, Y. & S. Inkelas. 2011. The Interpretation of Phonological Patterns in First Language Acquisition. The Blackwell Companion to Phonology, 2414–2438. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

3. Corpus analysis and introduction to Phon software

This third seminar will be a hands-on computer workshop dedicated to corpus analysis using the Phon software (, which integrates phonological analysis (from phonetic transcriptions) and phonetic analysis (from acoustic signal measurements). In this workshop, we will explore in a concrete way the phonological production pattern analysis and acoustic measurement methods supported in Phon. Participants of this workshop will then be able to use this state-of-the-art tool for their future research. We will also address methodological issues essential to the study of phonetic and phonological corpora, for example, the relationships between phonetic transcriptions and their study at the acoustic level and their study within the integrated and user-friendly analysis framework offered by Phon, which incorporates the acoustic analysis features of the Praat software. These topics are relevant to both first and subsequent language acquisition studies and to clinical studies.

Suggested reading: Rose, Y. & B. MacWhinney. 2014. The PhonBank Project: Data and Software-Assisted Methods for the Study of Phonology and Phonological Development. The Oxford Handbook of Corpus Phonology, 380–401. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

4. Review of theoretical issues and perspectives

This final seminar will bring together the themes, data and methods explored in the previous weeks and consider their implications at the theoretical level, both for models of phonological representation and for theories of language learning. At the representational level, we will discuss the validity of abstract phonological features (without precise phonetic definition; e.g., the feature [continuous], which does not allow for a distinction between fricative and approximant consonants). At the level of learning theories, we will compare the predictions of the more classical models (e.g. those used in the universalist approaches emanating from Jakobson 1941) with the theoretical predictions based on the emergent models proposed since the beginning of the 2000s and introduced in the first seminar.

Suggested reading: Rose, Y. 2014. The Emergence of First Language Phonology: Perception, Articulation and Representation. New Directions in the Acquisition of Romance Languages: Selected Proceedings of the Romance Turn V, 35–61. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.