Winter School: Speech Perception and Production

Veranstaltungsbeginn 09.01.2017, 09.00 Uhr
Veranstaltungsende 13.01.2017, 18.00 Uhr

This fifth winter school on Speech Perception and Production focuses on Learning and Memory. We invite PhD students and researchers of phonetics, linguistics, psychology, speech & language therapy and related disciplines to present their own work, or work in progress. How to participate ?


Context and objectives

Spoken communication is part of being human yet its apparent ease in everyday life contrasts with its complexity as a scientific object. Although most people learn to speak effortlessly, spoken communication is often altered in atypical development, aging or degenerative pathologies or even in typical development or specific disorders such as stuttering. This complexity is related to the fact that speech is a perceptuo-motor activity whose aims are defined in linguistic systems and social interactions. Learning and memory are important aspects of speech that have as yet been poorly connected to the representations of speech. Students, but also scientists and professionals in linguistics and psychology, will benefit from a better knowledge of recent scientific developments in long-term memory and learning.

The winter school will cover a diverse range of topics related to learning and memory in speech production and perception in both children and adults. In the last decades these topics have been of key interest in the field of language and psychology, motivated by:

  • A shift of theoretical conception in psychology and linguistics toward embodied and situated cognition: speakers may not store only words in memory, but also context-specific details covered under the term “fine phonetic details” (i.e. speaker information, situational contexts, reduced word forms etc.). This paradigm shift challenges more traditional models of linguistic representations.
  • A growing interest in studying not only speech production and perception on its own, but a move to considering meaningful face-to-face communication as a multifaceted process, integrating oral communication with manual, or other body gestures.
  • Recent evidence in the literature that learning is speaker-specific, and that multimodal approaches make an important contribution to the understanding of language acquisition or adaptation in typical and disordered speakers (clinical populations).
  • A global tendency for human migration that goes hand in hand with a growing number of multilingual children and adults, who may be more or less proficient in learning to speak a new language. The invited scholars have been working on these topics from various perspectives including neuroscience, psychology, multimodality, speech acquisition, speech pathology and linguistics. 

They have been chosen to address the following issues:

  1. Which linguistic units are stored in the lexicon? Which linguistic units do children acquire during speech acquisition or adults during second language learning?
  2. How do children or adults with sensorimotor or anatomical difficulties learn speech /language or compensate for their problems? Which techniques and tools could be used in the rehabilitation process to improve the learning process?
  3. How can different modalities and their combination contribute to learning and memorizing a language?
  4. What are the neurophysiological substrates of short and long term memory, and how are they taken into account during learning?

The school combines perspectives from researchers and lecturers working interdisciplinarily: it will be beneficial to a broad audience and in particular to students in linguistics and psychology who want to extend their knowledge and discuss their own ideas about learning and memory in speech production and perception. The school will involve tutorials, which will provide a larger overview over a selected research area, but will also go into specific questions and recent developments. The program, size of the group, and the location are intended to allow for an extensive exchange in particular between student and senior researchers.

Main topics of the school

  • Typical and atypical development of speech production and perception
  • Sensori-motor adaptation/learning of speech in typical and atypical adult speakers
  • Gestures, physical activities to help speech and language
  • Technologies to improve speech learning (biofeedback, ...)
  • Models of perceptual and motor learning of speech
  • Neurophysiological substrates of memory and learning
  • Statistics for learning studies


  • Tutorials by invited speakers for ca. 1 hour (45-50min tutorial + 10-15 min discussion)
  • Short talks by participants (15 min talk + 5 min discussion)
  • Poster sessions by participants (in particular for those students who want to get feedback for their preliminary concept or research question)
  • General discussions (ca. 30 min – with input from everybody to the specific topic of the session) 

Financial supports