Institute of Phonetics and Speech Processing

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Research Groups

ERC Sound Change Group

The main concern of research in this group is how dynamic and categorical aspects of speech are connected and how sound change can emerge from the sometimes ambiguous relationship between the two.

The group has been supported by an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant for Jonathan Harrington.


ERC Universals Group

Why can some languages have words like tkkststt (Berber) or gvprckvnis (Georgian) even though in many languages these words are considered – literally – unpronouncable? The goal of the Universals Group is to provide a new empirical foundation to our knowledge of sound patterns that are statistically underrepresented (typologically rare) in the world's languages.

The group has been supported by an ERC Starting Grant for Marianne Pouplier.


Emmy Noether Group

Learners of a foreign language often retain pronunciation errors even after extensive experience with the target language. The Emmy Noether Group aims at explaining the apparent paradox that, frequently, learners are able to perceive pronunciation errors of fellow learners, yet they are unable to correct the same errors in their own production. The goal is to gain insights into the link between perception and production during speech processing as it is exactly this link that has received little attention so far.

The group has been supported by a DFG Emmy Noether grant for Eva Reinisch.

Clinical Neuropsychology Research Group (EKN, Entwicklungsgruppe klinische Neuropsychologie)

Persons who have sustained brain damage due to stroke, head injury, or other neurologic conditions often suffer from disorders of verbal communication, e.g. as a consequence of motor speech dysfunctions (dysarthria, apraxia of speech) or language impairment (aphasia). Brain lesions can also affect nonverbal aspects of communication, like communicative gesture or prosody. Investigations of such disorders may not only inform us about the neural basis of human communication, but also contribute to a better understanding of the cognitive and motor mechanisms underlying disordered communication, and the development of treatment approaches.

The Clinical Neuropsychology Research Group (EKN) investigates motor speech and phonological disorders in neurologically impaired children and adults, as well as disorders of nonverbal communicative functions in patients with neuropsychological impairments after stroke or in the course of progressive neurodegenerative syndromes.

Research of the EKN is supported predominantly by the German Research Foundation.