The set of contrasting sounds of a language is called the 'sound inventory'. The Russian linguist Roman Jakobson (1941) proposed the intriguing idea that these sound inventories are structured according to a small set of universal principles, which help us understand typologies (how are sound inventories of different languages and dialects related to each other?), language acquisition (in what order do children acquire the sounds of language?) and aphasia (which sounds tend to become problematic in language impairment?).
The current project aims to revive this program and to remedy the criticisms leveled against Jakobson, by applying insights from current phonological theory and by making use of modern database technologies and data assessing methodologies.
In this project the structure of the sound inventory is studied by analyzing and comparing data from language acquisition, aphasic speech and language typology.