The development of phonological Representations
for Perception and Production

Granted by the Dutch Science Foundation to Paula Fikkert & René Kager (2001-2005).

Paula Fikkert



René Kager

This programme investigates the acquisition of phonological representations in the lexicon and the role of these representations in perception and production. It aims at tracking the development of the phonology of voicing (including its morphological alternations) in Dutch children from infancy until the age of 5 years, on the basis of perception and production experiments, the infant's input, and child language corpora.

Researchers on the project are:

Tania Zamuner


After a postdoc at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) in the lab of Janet Werker, she started working as an assistant professor at the University of Ottowa (Canada).

Project: Early acquisition of phonotactics (2001-2004)
This project addressed the early acquisition of the phonotactics of Dutch voicing. It aims at identifying phonotactic regularities concerning Dutch voicing which are available to infants, and ascertaining how much of this information infants actually acquire and use for word segmentation.

Suzanne van der Feest
(junior researcher)


Suzanne defended her PhD thesis  "building a phonological lexicon" in March 2007 (Complete electronic publication (pdf))

Suzanne currently is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at the University of Texas at Austin, where she works with Dr. Barbara Davis.

Annemarie Kerkhoff
(junior researcher)


On August 27, 2007, Annemarie Kerkhoff has defended her PhD thesis 'Acquisition of Morpho-Phonology: the Dutch voicing alternation'  

She currently is a postdoc in the project: " Category formation in phonology and grammar: Distributional learning in children with and without a developmental language delay" at Utrecht University.

Project: The phonology-morphology interface (2001-2005)
This project examines how Dutch children (ages 2;6 until early school age) learn phonological alternations, i.e. store lexical items and represent the relationship between their contextual variants, guided by their previously acquired knowledge of hard and soft phonotactics. The project is the first specific study of the development of alternations, tracking this development in children's production and perception.

The research group consist of:

Rene Kager


Anne Cutler


Dan Swingley
(now at UPenn)


Elisabeth Johnson
(now at the University of Toronto)


Most of the experiments of this research project are carried out in the Baby Research Center , which is established with the Spinoza-price awarded to Anne Cutler

For the complete project proposal click here

Publications from the project


Feest, S.V.H. van der (2007). Building a phonological lexicon. Doctoral Dissertation, Radboud University of Nijmegen. (click here)

Kerkhoff, A (2007). The phonology-morphology interface: acquisition of alternations. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Utrecht.

Other publications:

Zamuner, Tania S., Annemarie Kerkhoff, Paula Fikkert (2011). Phonotactics and morpho-phonology in early child language: Evidence from Dutch. Applied Psycholinguistics

Kager, R., Feest, S. van der, Fikkert, P., Kerkhoff, A., & Zamuner, T. S. (2007). Representations of [voice]: Evidence from acquisition. In J. van de Weijer & E.J. van der Torre (Eds.), Voicing in Dutch.

Zamuner, T.S., Kerkhoff, A., & Fikkert, P (2006). Acquisition of voicing neutralization and alternations in Dutch. Proceedings of the 30th Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, MA .

Zamuner, T.S. (2006). Sensitivity to syllable-final phonotactics in 9- to 16-month-old infants. Infancy.

Kerkhoff, A. and de Bree, E. (2005). Acquisition of Morpho-phonology in Children with Specific Language Impairment and Typically Developing Children. In: A. Kerkhoff, J. de Lange and O. Sadeh Leicht (eds), Yearbook 2004 , Utrecht: LOT, 37-51.

Feest, S.V.H. van der (2004). Acquiring voicing in Dutch: The role of function words. In: L. Cornips and J. Doetjes (eds.), Linguistics in the Netherlands 2004. Amsterdam : John Benjamins Publishers.

Kerkhoff, A. (2004). Acquisition of Voicing alternations. In: S. Baauw and J. van Kampen (eds), Proceedings of GALA 2003 (Vol. 2). Utrecht : LOT , 269-280.

In prep.

Feest, S.V.H. van der and P. Fikkert (under review) Phonological features in early lexical representations: Evidence from perception and production.

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