How do children acquire language? My research focuses on the perception and production of prosody (i.e., the melody and rhythm of speech) at different stages in development, and how these early language processes impact successful communication. The goal of my work is to provide a better understanding of how the complex interaction between prosody and meaning develops over infancy and early childhood in both typical and atypical developing populations. Most recently, I have explored how prosody impacts early word learning as well as how the acoustic correlates of prosody are realized in the speech of minimally verbal school-aged children with autism. Additionally, I am interested in the role of prosody in the diagnosis and treatment of motor speech disorders. These lines of research will not only inform how we classify language and learning difficulties across disorders but also offer insight into intervention, treatment, and earlier diagnosis.
Ph.D., Brown University
M.A., University of Rochester
M.S., Brown University
B.A., University of Rochester
Communicative Disorders, Speech
Language Acquisition and Development
COMM 522: Language Acquisition
COMM 524: Clinical Phonetics
COMM 622: Acquisition of Language
COMM 905: Motor Speech Disorders
COMM 916: Autism Spectrum Disorders
INCO 590: Rsrch Exp/Comm Sci & Disorders
Brumberg, J., Thorson, J. C., & Patel, R. (2018). The Prosodic Marionette: a method to visualize speech prosody and assess perceptual and expressive prosodic abilities. Speech Communication, 104, 95-105. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2018.09.009
Thorson, J. C. (2018). The role of prosody in early word learning: Behavioral evidence. In P. Prieto, & N. Esteve-Gibert (Eds.), The Development of Prosody in First Language Acquisition (Vol. 23, 1 ed., pp. 60-77). John Benjamins.
Thorson, J., Borras-Comes, J., Crespo-Sendra, V., Vanrell, M. D. M., & Prieto, P. (2015). The acquisition of melodic form and meaning in yes-no interrogatives by Catalan and Spanish speaking children. Probus, 27(1). doi:10.1515/probus-2013-0019
Prieto, P., Estrella, A., Thorson, J., & Vanrell, M. D. M. (2012). Is prosodic development correlated with grammatical and lexical development? Evidence from emerging intonation in Catalan and Spanish.. Journal of child language, 39(2), 221-257. doi:10.1017/s030500091100002x
Prieto, P., Borràs-Comes, J., Crespo-Sendra, V., Thorson, J. C., & Vanrell, M. M. (2011). Entonación y pragmática en los enunciados interrogativos del español en habla dirigida a niños. Oralia, 14, 227-255.