Marilyn Vihman is Professor of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York. She received a BA in Russian from Bryn Mawr College (1961) and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley (1971). She held a Chair of Developmental Psychology at the University of Wales Bangor from 1996 through 2006. She is best known for her 1996 book, Phonological Development: The origins of language in the child. Professor Vihman has carried out studies of early word learning in infants acquiring a range of languages (Brazilian Portuguese, US and UK English, Estonian, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Welsh), combining naturalistic longitudinal observation studies of babbling and early word production with instrumental analyses, and behavioural studies of infant word form recognition and segmentation with studies using Event Related Potentials. She is also well known for her studies on child bilingualism, based on her own children’s learning of Estonian and English as well as on funded studies of children acquiring English and Welsh. Funding since her arrival in the UK in 1996 has been largely from the ESRC; in addition, her work has been supported by two Marie Curie fellowships. Professor Vihman and her research team are currently running two ESRC projects: Dynamic Interactions in Perception and Production, a study of 60 infants involving both home recordings for the analysis of vocal production and perception experiments, and Late Talking Toddlers, a study of delayed phonological and lexical development.
My primary research interests are in aspects of phonological development, although I have also long been interested in child bilingualism and in the acquisition of Estonian.
My primary focus is on the emergence of phonological system in the period of transition into language in the first and second years of life. Recent studies have focussed on the interaction of perception and production in this period (see Funded projects, below). We use both infant speech perception techniques (the head turn paradigm) and acoustic analysis for these studies (and, in collaboration with Dr. Guillaume Thierry, University of Wales, Bangor, Event Related Potentials).
A current focus of my research team is on the quantification of systematicity in phonological development, based on the study of longitudinal data from children acquiring a range of different languages (Arabic, both American and British English, Brazilian Portuguese, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, and Welsh) as well as from late talkers acquiring English (see Funded projects, below). Members of this research effort include Dr. Ghada Khattab (Newcastle), Daniela Oliveira (Brazil), and Dr. Rory DePaolis (James Madison University, Virginia) as well as Dr. Tamar Keren-Portnoy and Nicola Armstrong (Languages and Linguistics, York).
My work on child bilingualism was initially based on case studies of my two children, acquiring Estonian and English; in recent years I have also investigated phonological aspects of early bilingualism in English and Welsh.
- DePaolis, R. A., Vihman, M. M. & Kunnari, S. (2008). Prosody in production at the onset of word use: A cross-linguistic study. Journal of Phonetics, 36, 406-426.
- Vihman, M. M., DePaolis, R. A. & Keren-Portnoy (in press). A Dynamic Systems approach to babbling and words. In E. Bavin (ed.), Handbook of Child Language.
- Vihman, M. M. (in press). Word learning and the origins of phonological system. To appear in S. Foster-Cohen (ed.), Advances in language acquisition. Luton: Macmillan.
- Thierry, G. & Vihman, M. M. (2008). The onset of word form recognition: A behavioural and neurophysiological study. Iin A. D. Friederici & G. Thierry (eds.), Early Language Development: Bridging Brain and Behaviour. Trends in Language Acquisition Research (TiLAR), Vol. 5. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- Vihman, M. M. (in press). Phonological templates in early words: A cross-linguistic study. To appear in C. Fougeron & N. Nguyen (eds.), Lab Phon 10: Variation, detail and representation. Mouton de Gruyter: New York.
- Vihman, M. M. (in press). Babbling. To appear in P. Hogan (ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences.
- Vihman, M. M. & Croft, W. (2007). Phonological development: Toward a ‘radical’ templatic phonology. Linguistics, 45, 683-725.
- Vihman, M. M., Thierry, G., Lum, J., Keren-Portnoy, T. & Martin, P. (2007). Onset of word form recognition in English, Welsh and English-Welsh bilingual infants. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28, 475-493.
- Vihman, M. M. & Kunnari, S. (2006). The sources of phonological knowledge: A cross-linguistic perspective. Recherches Linguistiques de Vincennes, 35, 133-164.
- Vihman, M. M., Lum, J., Thierry, G., Nakai, S., & Keren-Portnoy, T. (2006). The onset of word form recognition in one language and in two. In P. McCardle & E. Hoff (eds.), Childhood Bilingualism: Research on infancy through school age, pp. 30-44. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
- Velleman, S. L. & Vihman, M. M. (2006). Phonological development in infancy and early childhood: Implications for theories of language learning. In M. C. Pennington (ed.), Phonology in Context (pp. 25-50). Luton: Macmillan.
- Vihman, M. M. & Vija, M. (2006). The acquisition of verbal inflection in Estonian. In N. Gagarina & I. Gülzow (eds.), The acquisition of verbs and their grammar: The effect of particular languages (pp. 269-295). Dordrecht: Springer.
- Vihman, M. M., Nakai, S., & DePaolis, R. A. (2006). Getting the rhythm right: A cross-linguistic study of segmental duration in babbling and first words. In L. Goldstein, D. Whalen & C. Best (eds.), Laboratory Phonology 8 (pp. 341-366). Mouton de Gruyter: New York.
- Deuchar, M. & Vihman, M. M. (2005). A radical approach to early mixed utterances. International Journal of Bilingualism, 9, 137-157.
- Vihman, M. M., Nakai, S., DePaolis, R. A., & Hallé, P. (2004). The role of accentual pattern in early lexical representation. Journal of Memory and Language, 50, 336-353.
- Vihman, M. M. & Nakai, S. (2003). Experimental evidence for an effect of vocal experience on infant speech perception. In M. J. Solé, D. Recasens & J. Romero (eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Barcelona (pp. 1017-1020).
- Thierry, G., Vihman, M. & Roberts, M. (2003). Familiar words capture the attention of 11-month-olds in less than 250 ms. Neuroreport, 14, 2307-2310.
- Vihman, M. M. (2002). Getting started without a system: From phonetics to phonology in bilingual development. International Journal of Bilingualism, 6, 239-254.
- Velleman, S. L. & Vihman, M. M. (2002). Whole-word phonology and templates. Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools, 33, 9-23.
- Vihman, M. M. (2002). The role of mirror neurons in the ontogeny of speech. In M. Stamenov & V. Gallese (eds.), Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language (pp. 305-314). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
- McCune, L. & Vihman, M. M. (2001). Early phonetic and lexical development. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 44, 670-684.
- Vihman, M. M. & Velleman, S. L. (2000). The construction of a first phonology. Phonetica, 57, 255-266.
- Vihman, M. M. & DePaolis, R. A. (2000). The role of mimesis in infant language development: Evidence for phylogeny. In C. Knight, M. Studdert Kennedy & J. R. Hurford (eds.), The Evolutionary Emergence of Language (pp. 130-145). Cambridge: CUP.
- Vihman, M. M. & Velleman, S. L. (2000). Phonetics and the origins of phonology. In N. Burton-Roberts, P. Carr & G. Docherty (eds.), Phonological knowledge: Its nature and status (pp. 305-339). Oxford: Oxford University Press
- 2007-2009 Dynamic interactions between perception and production: An integrated experimental and observational study. Co-PI with T. Keren-Portnoy. ESRC.This is an attempt to model interactions between perception and production using Dynamic Systems Theory as a framework for interpretation of the findings; data are being collected from 60 infants on a weekly basis initially, to be followed by monthly recordings in the period of word production.
- 2006-2009 Late-talking toddlers: Relating phonological to lexical development. Co-PI with T. Keren-Portnoy & J. Lum. ESRC.
This study addresses the question of differences in phonological advance between typically developing and late-talking toddlers; data are being collected from 24 late talkers for comparison with existing data from 12 typically developing children acquiring British English.
- Member of ESRC International Advisory Committee and Research Grants Board (UK) and of the Agence Nationale de Recherche (France).
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