Linguistics Department

Suzanne V.H. van der Feest


Associated Faculty in Other DepartmentsPh.D., University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Visiting Research Associate (Research Associate Professor, CUNY)
Suzanne V.H. van der Feest

Contact

Interests


Language Development, Infant (and Adult) Speech Perception, Psycholinguistics, Phonology, Phonetics

Biography


Dr. van der Feest is a Research Associate Professor at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, where she joined the Linguistics Faculty in 2018. She is currently a Visiting Research Associate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin, where she managed the Child Language Lab from 2014-2018 (see the menu on the right for a link to the lab website!). She has taught Child Language and Intro to Cognitive Science. She currently runs the Developmental Speech Perception Lab at CUNY.

She studies how children take their very first steps on the road to becoming native speakers and listeners of their language(s): How do young children learn the relevant sounds and sound structures in their daily language environment, and how do they then use that knowledge for recognizing spoken words and for producing the sounds and words of their native language. In addition, her research investigates speech perception and word recognition in adults, and in listeners with different types of language & dialectal backgrounds.

Dr. van der Feest is from the Netherlands, where she got her PhD in Linguistics from the Radboud University Nijmegen in 2007 (with a focus on Developmental Phonology and Psycholinguistics). She moved to the United States in 2006, to work as a postdoc in the Department of Psychology (IRCS) at the University of Pennsylvania. In the past, Dr. van der Feest also taught in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at UT, and at Villanova University, PA. Her experiences working with Linguists, Psychologists, and Speech-Language Pathologists have given her a full appreciation for all unsolved aspects of the complex language acquisition and development puzzle. 

Contact Dr. van der Feest if you are interested in getting involved in the Developmental Speech Perception Lab in New York;

Contact Dr. Singleton if you want to learn more about ongoing research at the UT Child Language Lab!

Courses


LIN 373 • Intro To Cognitive Science

40550 • Spring 2018
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM CBA 4.348
(also listed as PHL 365)

This course is an introduction to formal syntax, which refers to the use of a mathematically precise formalism to model the syntax of human languages.  Formulating precise models allows us to study the properties of particular human languages empirically, testing our theories against the challenge of new data.  The course will introduce students to Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG).  In HPSG, the words of a language are equipped with information about the way they combine with other words and phrases and the meaning of the resulting combination.   The forms and meanings of the parts of a sentence are combined bit by bit until we derive a meaning for the whole sentence. The lexicon also encodes the systematic relations between word forms, such as voice alternations and derivational cognates.  Since HPSG is a complete, fully explicit framework for grammatical description, students will be able to grasp the workings of an entire language, from morphemes to words to sentences, including a formal semantic system for representing meaning.  This is a hands-on course in which we will tackle syntax puzzles of increasing complexity.  LIN 372L is not an official prerequisite, but it is recommended as background to this course.

Textbook: Ivan Sag, Thomas Wasow, and Emily Bender. 2003. Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction, 2nd Edition. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

Basis for grading:  Class participation (10%), Problem sets (60%), Tests (30%)

Prerequisites:  LIN 306

LIN 373 • Child Language

40880 • Fall 2017
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 0.128

This course explores how children acquire their first language(s). The purpose of this course is to give you a solid foundation in current research and theories regarding language development in infants and children.

You will also learn about the basic techniques that are used to analyze and understand children’s linguistic development. Some of the questions we will address are: How do children learn to recognize and produce the sounds of their language? How does language differ from the communication systems of other species and why? Do all children develop in the same way? Why are adults so much worse than children at learning languages? Do children understand sentences and words they can't say? Do children say sentences they can't understand? How can we tell?

This course will cover the basic questions relevant to the acquisition of pragmatics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics; it will introduce you to issues such as bilingualism, language impairment, and language and cognition - and there will be space to discuss any relevant questions regarding language acquisition that students bring to the table.

CGS 360 • Intro To Cognitive Science

33545 • Spring 2017
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM CBA 4.324
(also listed as LIN 373, PHL 365)

The Study of Mind. An introduction to the study of mind known as cognitive science, focusing on key areas such as perception, language, cognition, artificial intelligence, memory, decision making. Three lecture hours a week for one semester.

May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. Prerequisite:Upper-division standing.

LIN 373 • Child Language

40830 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CLA 0.122

This course explores how children acquire their first language(s). The purpose of this course is to give you a solid foundation in current research and theories regarding language development in infants and children.

You will also learn about the basic techniques that are used to analyze and understand children’s linguistic development. Some of the questions we will address are: How do children learn to recognize and produce the sounds of their language? How does language differ from the communication systems of other species and why? Do all children develop in the same way? Why are adults so much worse than children at learning languages? Do children understand sentences and words they can't say? Do children say sentences they can't understand? How can we tell?

This course will cover the basic questions relevant to the acquisition of pragmatics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics; it will introduce you to issues such as bilingualism, language impairment, and language and cognition - and there will be space to discuss any relevant questions regarding language acquisition that students bring to the table.

LIN 373 • Child Language

41130 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CLA 1.102

This course explores how children acquire their first language. Some example questions we will address are: How do children learn to recognize and produce the sounds of their language? How do they identify words and phrases in the babble of adults and figure out what they mean? How do they learn to put them together in new ways? What do young children understand about the thoughts and intentions of others, and how does this impact the development of language? How does language differ from the communication systems of other species and why? How is learning language different from learning to walk, ride a bike or play baseball? Do all children develop in the same way? Why are adults so much worse than children at learning languages? Do children understand sentences they can't say? Do children say sentences they can't understand? How can we tell?

Course Objectives

By the end of this course you should be equipped to read, understand, evaluate and discuss current theoretical and empirical papers in the field of child language research.


  • Department of Linguistics

    University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street STOP B5100
    Robert L. Patton Hall (RLP) 4.304
    Austin, TX 78712
    512-471-1701