My work is focused on establishing conceptual and computational foundations for modeling the earliest stages of phonological acquisition during infancy. The work is situated within a larger research program for
- exploring the nature of the emergence of phonological systems during ontogeny and its broader impact on language acquisition over the lifespan of individuals,
- understanding the social and developmental mechanisms underlying the transmission and mutation of phonological systems at the cultural level, and
- organizing and interpreting the scant evidence concerning the phylogenetic origins of these systems and processes.
I'm currently designing and building a suite of computational models that form the basis of a model of phonological acquisition corresponding to the research framework outlined above (see the models page for a summary or my github site for details).
A crucial part of the computational modeling effort is the automatic processing of large-scale collections of child speech, particularly speech produced in the home during interactions with caretakers. I'm currently developing computational tools for annotating and analyzing child speech and building age-appropriate models of children's articulatory systems that facilitate these tasks. These tools will be distributed via the speech kitchen.