Friday, February 17, 2012 – 1:30p.m.
Janet F. Werker, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Infants begin life with sensitivities that orient them toward language, and allow them to rapidly learn the perceptual characteristics of the native language. In this talk, I present new findings showing just how rapidly in infancy perceptual tuning of the native language unfolds, what the mechanisms are that underlie this tuning, and how contextual influences in the infant’s environment outside of the speech domain can also impact the timing of perceptual change. The relevance of the findings for later language acquisition will also be discussed.