Vocal development in a large-scale crosslinguistic corpus.


This study evaluates whether early vocalizations develop in similar ways in children across diverse cultural contexts. We analyze data from daylong audio recordings of 49 children (1-36 months) from five different language/cultural backgrounds. Citizen scientists annotated these recordings to determine if child vocalizations contained canonical transitions or not (e.g., "ba" versus "ee"). Results revealed that the proportion of clips reported to contain canonical transitions increased with age. Further, this proportion exceeded 0.15 by around 7 months, replicating and extending previous findings on canonical vocalization development but using data from the natural environments of a culturally and linguistically diverse sample. This work explores how crowdsourcing can be used to annotate corpora, helping establish developmental milestones relevant to multiple languages and cultures. Lower inter-annotator reliability on the crowdsourcing platform, relative to more traditional in-lab expert annotators, means that a larger number of unique annotators and/or annotations are required and that crowdsourcing may not be a suitable method for more fine-grained annotation decisions. Audio clips used for this project are compiled into a large-scale infant vocalization corpus that is available for other researchers to use in future work.





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Publication Info

Cychosz, Margaret, Alejandrina Cristia, Elika Bergelson, Marisa Casillas, Gladys Baudet, Anne S Warlaumont, Camila Scaff, Lisa Yankowitz, et al. (2021). Vocal development in a large-scale crosslinguistic corpus. Developmental science. p. e13090. 10.1111/desc.13090 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22274.

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Elika Bergelson

Associate Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Dr. Bergelson's lab has moved to Harvard Psychology; she retains an unremunerated research appointment at Duke through mid-2024 for logistical reasons. She formerly accepted PhD applicants through the Developmental and Cog/CogNeuro areas of P&N and the CNAP program.

In my research, I try to understand the interplay of processes during language acquisition.
In particular, I am interested in how word learning relates to other aspects of learning language (e.g. speech sound acquisition, grammar/morphology learning), and social/cognitive development more broadly (e.g. joint attention processes) in the first few years of life.

I pursue these questions using three main approaches: in-lab measures of early comprehension and production (eye-tracking, looking-time, and in EEG studies in collaboration with the Woldorff lab), and at-home measures of infants' linguistic and social environment (as in the SEEDLingS project).

More recently the lab is branching out to look at a wider range of human populations and at infants who are blind or deaf/heard of hearing.

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