Steering Group

From August 2016. Member of the steering group Sustainable Career Development for Postdocs of the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences).


3rd Workshop on Chinese Accents and Accented Chinese (CAAC). Workshop on bilingualism and second language phonetics and phonology. Nordic Centre, Fudan University, Shanghai. 13-14 October 2016. Role: Main organizer.

2nd Workshop on Chinese Accents and Accented Chinese (CAAC). Workshop on bilingualism and second language phonetics and phonology. Nordic Centre, Fudan University, Shanghai. 26-27 October 2015. Role: Main organizer.

1st Workshop on Chinese Accents and Accented Chinese (CAAC). Workshop on bilingualism and second language phonetics and phonology. Nordic Centre, Fudan University, Shanghai.  9-10 October 2014. Role: Main organizer. 

Bias in Auditory Perception. International and interdisciplinary conference. Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. 18-20 September 2014. 2 Role: Main organizer. 

Tabudag. International Linguistics Conference. University of Groningen, The Netherlands. 28-29 June 2012. Role: Co-organizer, responsible for abstract reviewing process and programming. 

Umlaut. Workshop. Meertens Instituut, KNAW, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. June 2007. Role: Co-organizer, responsible for programming and abstract booklet. 


Paving the Way for a More Reliable Linguistics (2014-2015)

In this project I investigated the perception of linguistic transcribers. What is the effect of the native variety of a language on the perception of sounds among linguistic transcribers? How reliable are native speakers and second language speaking transcribers in their transcriptions? I approached these questions by a comparison of transcription tasks of Standard European French and Canadian French among native French speakers from France and from Canada as well as Dutch students of French linguistics. Results are forthcoming.

This research was funded through a MOBILEX mobility grant by the Danish Council of Independent Research, co-funded by the European Committee under Marie Curie FP7.

Book chapters

Sloos, Marjoleine. 2015. The reversal of the BÄREN/BEEREN merger in Austrian Standard German. In: Gonia Jarema & Gary Libben (eds). Phonological and Phonetic Considerations of Lexical Processing. Benjamins Current Topics Series (Vol.80). 101-118. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Weijer, Jeroen van de., Clemens Poppe & Marjoleine Sloos. 2013. Family Matters: Lexical aspects of Japanese Rendaku. In: Jeroen van de Weijer & Tetsuo Nishihara (eds). Current Issues in Japanese Phonology: Segmental Variation in Japanese. 129-148. Tokyo: Kaitakusha.

Sloos, Marjoleine. 2013. Recency, frequency, and phonotactics: Pretonic schwa reduction in Dutch. In: Charlotte Gooskens & Renée van Bezooijen (eds). Phonetics in Europe: Perception and production. 247-261. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Peer-reviewed conference proceedings

Wu, Minghui, Marjoleine Sloos &Jeroen van de Weijer. 2016. The Perception of the English Alveolar-Velar Nasal Coda Contrast by Monolingual versus Bilingual Chinese Speakers. The 10th International Symposium on Chinese Spoken Language Processing, October 17-20. Tianjin, China.

Sloos, Marjoleine, Jie Liang, Mengzhu Yan & Chun Zhang. 2016. Acquisition of pitch in Chinese by Danish learners. Proceedings of Chinese Accents and Accented Chinese, October 26-27 2015. Fudan University, Shanghai. 34-43.

Sloos, Marjoleine, Jie Liang, Xuechao Ne, Rasmus Puggaard Hansen, Mengzhu Yan & Chun Zhang. 2015. Speech rhythm of the Danish-Chinese interlanguage relies on rhyme structure. Proceedings of The Oriental COCOSDA/CASLRE Conference, October 28-30 2015. Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai.305-310.

Sloos, Marjoleine, Jie Liang & Lei Wang. 2015. Music perception influences plosive perception in Wu dialects. Proceedings of the ICPhS, 10-14 August 2015, Glasgow.

Yang Xinlu, Jie Liang & Marjoleine Sloos. 2014. Tone and Intonation Production in Urumqi Chinese Dialect. Proceedings of Tonal Aspects of Languages, 13-16 May 2014. Radboud University, Nijmegen. 32-35.

Sloos, Marjoleine. 2013. Don’t trust the native speaker. In: Chris Conlan (ed.). Evolving Paradigms: Language and Applied Linguistics in a Changing World. Journal of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia. Refereed Proceedings Applied Linguistics Association of Australia Annual Conference, Perth, 12-14 November, 2012. Curtin University. 325-350.

Sloos, Marjoleine. 2011. Pretonic schwa reduction in Dutch: Grammar interacts with Frequency. In: Antonis Botinis (ed.). ISCA International Speech Communication Association Proceedings of the fourth ISCA Tutorial and Research Workshop on Experimental Linguistics ExLing 2011, 25-27 May 2011. Paris, France. 123-126.

Other publications

Sloos, Marjoleine & Mathea Neijmeijer. 2015. Ongoing dispersion in Austrian Standard German: A sociolinguistic study. ATINER’s Conference Paper Series LNG2015-1568, 6-9 July 2015. Athens, Greece.

Sloos, Marjoleine. 2013. Government Phonology. In: Bernd Kortmann & Johannes Katabek (eds). Theorien und Methoden der Sprachwissenschaft (Sprachtheorie und Methodenlehre)/Theories and Methods of Linguistics [Wörterbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (WSK)]. 247-261. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Research grants

Mobilex Mobility Grant

Paving the Way for a More Reliable Linguistics

 Funding organization

The Danish Council for Independent Research, with support from the Marie Curie Program under FP7.

Grant website

Project description

Speech transcriptions, the decoding of sounds in letters or other visual symbols, are important means for investigating pronunciation. For instance, sounds of a particular dialect can only be statistically analysed if they have been transcribed. Transcriptions are also used in foreign language education, speech therapy, and language counselling (like in asylum requests). Transcriptions are currently often made by speech processing software, but have to be corrected manually: it cannot fully replace human codings. Some sounds cannot be analysed by speech processing software at all. But are human codings reliable? The answer is probably no. Recently, it turned out that linguistically subjects are easily biased towards an overall accent they perceive in a speaker, such that coders exposed to a certain accent may expect and therefore actually hear prototypical characteristics of this accent—even if these are not present in the phonetic signal. Even professional coders turned out to be subject to coder bias. The scope of this deviation in formal transcription tasks is still unknown, neither has a standard procedure been developed in order to arrive at better results.  Since human codings should be as accurate and as reliable as possible, this research aims at the development of a “gold standard” for linguistic transcriptions.


30 September 2013

Grant amount

DKK 2,380,042


January 2014-December 2015


Seed Grant Interacting Minds Center

Does Musical Perception Influence Segmental Perception in Language?

Funding organization

Interacting Minds Center, Aarhus University

Grant website

Project description

Musical skills are known to facilitate acquisition of prosody in second language acquisition. But does it also facilitate perception of vowels and consonants? Human perception is subjective and segmental perception is easily biased by an overall accent of the speaker. Can musical perception lead to a more objective way of listening?

We investigate this for consonant perception in Chinese. For the same set of data, one group of listeners will be informed they listen to Mandarin data and an other group will be informed it is Wu dialect. The crucial difference is that Mandarin has a two-way plosive contrast (tai-thai), whereas Wu has a three-way plosive contrast (tai-thai-dai). We expect perception is influenced by the known contrast. We will repeat the experiment with the same subjects but in this case with music fragments in between. A control group will just repeat the first experiment.

If musical perception makes segmental processing more objective, this might be a way to lead to more objective transcriptions of language.


June 2014

Grant amount

DKK     19,680


August-December 2014


PhD grant

Phonological Grammar and Frequency Effects

Funding organization

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Graduiertenkolleg 1624/1, Freiburg University

Project description

In language change, we usually find that words with a relatively low word frequency change at a faster rate than words with a relatively high word frequency. Reversely, in reduction processes, we observe that high-frequency words tend to change first and low-frequency words change later. How do these facts relate to variable processes in which neither analogical change nor reduction is involved? Does frequency also play a role, for instance, in stable patterns of variation or in loanword adaptation?

This dissertation investigates phonological variation and change in three case studies: the pronunciation of the long vowel <ä> in Standard German, Dutch loanword integration in Indonesian, and sequential voicing in Japanese. It shows that frequency effects occur such that relatively high-frequency words adapt to a general phonological rule and relatively low-frequency words behave differently. This exceptional behaviour of low-frequency words may be related to their relatively unstable or opaque lexical representation or their opaque morphophonological structure.

This thesis also investigates the relation between frequency effects and grammar. It is shown that these two factors are not independent, as suggested by earlier literature, but, on the contrary, intimately related. Frequency effects are sensitive to grammatical structure. This calls for an amalgamation of phonological models which were previously regarded as disconnected; therefore this thesis proposes a combined Exemplar-Prototype-Optimality theoretical model (EPOT).


June 2009


October 2009-September 2010

Publication grants

Bias in Auditory Perception

Funding organization

Aarhus University Research Foundation

Project description

The Interacting Minds Centre organized an international and multidisciplinary conference “Bias in Auditory Perception” on September 18-20, 2014. Papers presented at this conference are published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed open access journal i-Perception. The papers cover an array of topics in language, musical, and emotional perception, addressing questions as:

1. What is the effect of prior knowledge, believed knowledge, or impaired knowledge on auditory perception?
2. In which contexts can we expect biased auditory perception?
3. What are the (societal) consequences of auditory bias?

The purpose of the conference and the publication is to put auditory bias on the map as a research topic that is approached from different perspectives. A further aim of the special issue is to reach a wider readership among different disciplines in which bias in auditory perception is—or becomes—a relevant issue, such as (applied) linguistics, psychology, and musicology.


October 2014

Grant amount

DKK 71,060

Grants for the organization of conferences

Internationalization Denmark-China

Chinese and Germanic Languages: Second Language Acquisition and Perception

Joint application with Jie Liang (Tongji University) and Jeroen van de Weijer (Shanghai International Studies University)

Funding organization

Aarhus University/International Centre

Funded activity

Workshop and research stay for a month at the Nordic Centre/Fudan University, Shanghai



Conference organization, travel and accommodation costs


9-10 October 2014

Grant amount

DKK 31,450

Promotion Open Access Publication

Workshop Open Access Publication

Joint application with James Griffiths, Marieke Haan, and Jet Vonk

Funding organization

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Funded activity

Workshop about Open Access publication during the Annual Linguistic conference 33rd TabuDag, Groningen University



18 – 19 June 2012

Grant amount

EUR 2,000