Lab theses

This page collects the theses produced by completed PhD students in the Language Learning Lab.

  • Dr Gwen Brekelmans – 2020
    Phonetic vowel training for child second language learners: the role of input variability and training task
    Supervision: Dr Elizabeth Wonnacott & Dr Bronwen G. Evans
    My PhD research focussed on how children learn new sounds of a second or foreign language, and in particular the vowels. What I tried to find out was how differences in the training method and training input affected their learning patterns, and how children differed from adults in this. I used a phonetic training paradigm to explore factors of input variability and training task in over 200 child learners, and used Bayesian methods to evaluate the presence or absence of evidence for such a variability effect.
  • Dr Hanyu Dong – 2020
    The effect of high variability and individual differences on phonetic training of Mandarin tones
    Supervision: Dr Elizabeth Wonnacott & Dr Bronwen G. Evans
    My PhD research focused on how native English speakers learn Mandarin lexical tones, a feature that does not exist in English and many other European languages. I’m particularly interested in what factors might contribute to the learning success, including training materials variability, working memory, attention and musical ability, and whether the effects of these factors differ between naive participants who have not learn any tonal language and Mandarin learners who have learned Mandarin in the university for 1.5 years. Phonetic training paradigm was used and logistic mixed regression, Bayes Factors and principal component analysis were adopted to examine the results.