InterSpeech 2021

Child Language Acquisition studied with Wearables

Alejandrina Cristia (Ecole Normale Supérieure)
Abstract In recent years, the ease with which we can collect audio (and to a lesser extent visual information) with wearables has improved dramatically. These allow unprecedented access to the speech that children produce, and that which they year. Although many conclusions drawn from short observations seem to generalize to these naturalistic datasets, others appear questionable based on human annotations of data collected with wearables. Making the best of such recordings also requires unique tool development. Bio Alejandrina Cristia is a senior researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), leader of the Language Acquisition Across Cultures team, and director of the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique (LSCP) cohosted by the Ecole Normale Supérieure, EHESS, and PSL. In 2021, she is an invited researcher in the Foundations of Learning Program of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and a guest researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Her long-term aim is to answer the following questions: What are the linguistic representations that infants and adults have? Why and how are they formed? How may learnability biases shape the world’s languages? To answer these questions, she combines multiple methodologies including spoken corpora analyses, behavioral studies, neuroimaging (NIRS), and computational modeling. This interdisciplinary approach has resulted in over 100 publications in psychology, linguistics, and development journals as well as IEEE and similar conferences. With an interest in cumulative, collaborative, and transparent science, she contributed to the creation of the first meta-meta-analysis platform ( and several international networks, including saliently the LangVIEW consortium that is leading [/L+/, the First truly global summer/winter school on language acquisition]( She received the 2017 John S. McDonnell Scholar Award in Understanding Human Cognition, the 2020 Médaille de Bronze CNRS Section Linguistique, and an ERC Consolidator Award (2021-2026) for the [ExELang]( project.