My research centers around the acquisition of a first language by babies and young children, and focuses mostly on the acquisition of the phonological structure of language. Currently I work on three main research projects:
A psycholinguistic and language theoretical model of phonological development
In this research project child language phonology is studied from the perspective of both a phonological grammar and a psycholinguistic speech-production model. The central idea is that the phonological deviations from the adult target observed in child language productions result from particular developmental states of both the grammar and the form-encoding system. The interaction between the production and the perception of language in development plays an important role in this research (see www.babylab-leiden.nl).
Comparative research into language learning mechanisms
Together with prof. Carel ten Cate (behavioral biology, Leiden University) and dr. Jelle Zuidema (Computational Linguistics, University of Amsterdam) I work on a project, funded by NWO, comparing the language learning mechanisms of human infants and zebra finches.
Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNirs) research into the developing brain
Together with dr. Stephan Huijbregts (Clinical Neuropsychology) en dr. Szilvia Biro (Child and Family Studies), and with the help of two grants (LIBC and LUF-Gratama) I try to localize brain activity related to social cognition and language in the developing brain of infants.