PLOs - Predictors of Language Outcomes

Funding institution
FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Project PI
Sónia Frota

The PLOs project studies the development of language and communication. A systematic understanding of language development is needed to promote the identification of early signs of development of language and communication impairments. It is estimated that about 20% of 7-year-old children have reduced language skills, and that most of them would already have atypical language development by the age of 4. Risk factors include, for example, familial risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, premature birth, and low birth weight. Late talkers are also an at-risk group. Early identification of risk markers that can predict the development of language and communication impairments promotes more effective methods of screening, prevention, early intervention and diagnosis. This has social, individual and economic benefits towards a more inclusive society. We use a combination of non-invasive and completely safe research methods to study the development of language and communication from 5 months to 30 months of age (and in a subset of children up to pre-school age). The project has a multidisciplinary team and several partnerships with health and education institutions.

Project website:

Cruz, M., Butler, J., Severino, C., Filipe, M., & Frota, S. (2020). Eyes or mouth? Exploring eye gaze patterns and their relation with early stress perception in European Portuguese. Journal Of Portuguese Linguistics, 19(1), 4.
Frota, S., Pejovic, J., Severino, C., & Vigário, M. (2020). Looking for the edge: emerging segmentation abilities in atypical development. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020. ISCA.
Silva, S., Vigário, M., Fernandez, B. L., Jerónimo, R., Alter, K., & Frota, S. (2019). The Sense of Sounds: Brain Responses to Phonotactic Frequency, Phonological Grammar and Lexical Meaning. Frontiers In Psychology, 10.
Other publications


Czeke, N., Zahner, K., Rimpler, J., Braun, B., & Frota, S. (2019). German infants do not discriminate Portuguese rising vs. falling contours. Poster presented at 4th Workshop on Infant Language Development (WILD), June 13-15, Potsdam, Germany.

Frota, S. (2019). Escuta bebé! Descobrir a língua antes da fala. Invited talk given at 2as Jornadas do Centro de Estudos do Bebé e da Criança do Hospital Dona Estefânia, May 20, Lisboa, Portugal.

Frota, S., Butler, J., Severino, C., Uysal, E., & Vigário, M.  (2019). Infant perception of prosodic boundaries without the pause cue: An eye-tracking study. Poster presented at ICPhS 2019 – XIX Intenational Congress of Phonetic Sciences, August 4-10, Melbourne, Australia.

Vigário, M., Butler, J., Severino, C., Uysal, E., & Frota, S. (2019). Infants discriminate utterances with and without internal prosodic boundaries: An eye-tracking study with delexicalized speech. Talk given at LCICD 2019 - The 4th Lancaster Conference on Infant and Early Child Development, August 21-23, Lancaster, UK.

Vigário, M., Severino, C. ,  Cruz, M., Filipe, M.,  Butler, J. &  Frota, S. (2018). Marcadores precoces de desenvolvimento da comunicação e linguagem. Ciência 2018 – Encontro com a Ciência e Tecnologia. Lisboa, 2-4 de Julho.

Project PI
Diferenças - Centro de Desenvolvimento Infantil
CEBC - Centro de Estudos do Bebé e da Criança