We aim to understand the mechanism of human language acquisition through the investigation of Japanese phonological development.

Reiko MazukaReiko Mazuka

Reiko Mazuka, Ph.D.

Team Leader, Language Development
reiko.mazuka [at] riken.jp

Research Overview

We investigate how young infants become interested in speech that surround them, and learn to be the speaker of that language. In particular, we focus on the role of 'prosody' (i.e., intonation, rhythm and other suprasegmental characteristics of the speech) in language acquisition. We study how infants become attuned to the prosodic characteristics of their ambient language, and how acquiring it would affect other domains of language development.


Selected Publications

  1. Miyazawa K, Shinya T, Martin A, Kikuchi H, and Mazuka R:
    "Vowels in Infant-directed speech: More breathy and more variable, but not clearer",
    Cognition, in press (2017)
  2. Hirose Y., and Mazuka R:
    "Exploiting pitch accent information in compound processing: A comparison between adults and 6- to 7-year-old children"
    Language Learning and Development, 1-20 (published online) (2017)
  3. Hayashi A, and Mazuka R:
    "Emergence of Japanese infants’ prosodic preferences in Infant-directed vocabulary"
    Developmental Psychology, 53(1), 28-37 (2017)
  4. Sugiura L, Toyota T, Matsuba-Kurita H, Iwayama Y, Mazuka R, Yoshikawa T, and Hagiwara H:
    "Age-dependent effects of Catechol-O-Methyltransferase(COMT) Gene Val158Met Polymorphism on language function in developing children"
    Cerebral Cortex, 27(1), 104-116 (2016)
  5. Ludusan B, Cristia A, Martin A, Mazuka R, and Dupoux E:
    "Learnability of prosodic boundaries: Is infant-directed speech easier?"
    Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 140(2), 1239 (2016)
  6. Tsuji, S, Fikkert P, Yamane N, and Mazuka R.:
    "Language-general biases and language-specific experience contribute to phonological detail in toddlers' word representations"
    Developmental Psychology, 52(3), 379-390 (2016)
  7. Mazuka R, Igarashi Y, Martin A, and Utsugi A.:
    "Infant-directed speech as a window into the dynamic nature of phonology"
    Laboratory Phonology, 6(3-4), 281-303 (2015)
  8. Hawthorne K, Mazuka R, and Gerken L.:
    "The acoustic salience of prosody trumps infants' acquired knowledge of language-specific prosodic patterns"
    Journal of Memory and Language, 82, 105-117 (2015)
  9. Mazuka R.:
    "Learning to become a native listener of Japanese"
    In M. Nakayama (Ed.), Handbook of Japanese Psycholinguistics, Chapter 2, 19-47 (2015)
  10. Arai M, Nakamura C, and Mazuka R.:
    "Predicting the unbeaten path through syntactic context"
    Journal of Experimental Psychology:Learning, Memory and Cognition, 41(2), 482-500 (2015)