I am an Assistant Professor working in the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication and the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS. My research focuses on computational models of language acquisition. In particular, I investigate how infants learn the sound categories (consonants and vowels) and sound combinations (phonotactics) of their native language. I use a multifaceted approach which involves analyses of speech addressed to infants, computer simulations of language learning mechanisms, and psycholinguistic experiments with human language learners.

Previously, I was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at New York University. I also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania. My research at Penn was funded by a ‘Rubicon’ research grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Before coming to Penn I briefly worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Information Retrieval at the University of Amsterdam.

I hold a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Utrecht University (2011), and an M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Amsterdam (2005).


Research interests

Computational modeling, infant language development, phonological acquisition, speech segmentation, artificial language learning, information retrieval.


Involved in the following study programme(s)
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Recent publications:

Adriaans, F., & Swingley, D. (2017). Prosodic exaggeration within infant-directed speech: Consequences for vowel learnability. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141 (5), 3070-3078. DOI:

Adriaans, F., & Kager, R. (2017). Learning novel phonotactics from exposure to continuous speech. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology, 8(1): 12, 1-14. DOI:

Whang, J., & Adriaans, F. (2017). Phonotactics and alternations in the acquisition of Japanese high vowel reduction. In M. LaMendola & J. Scott (Ed.), 730-743. Proceedings of the 41st annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 730-743). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.


All publications
  2016 - Lectures
F.W. Adriaans (02.05.2016). Learning vowel categories from infant-directed speech.
F.W. Adriaans (21.04.2016). Phonological biases and learning effects in artificial language learning.
  2016 - Membership of peer review panel or committee
F.W. Adriaans (17.08.2016). Co-chair (co-promotor) of PhD defense (James Whang).
F.W. Adriaans (31.08.2016). Committee member of PhD defense (Daniel Szeredi).
  2016 - Poster
Whang, James & Adriaans, F.W. (05.11.2016). Phonotactics and alternations in the acquisition of Japanese high vowel reduction.
Whang, James & Adriaans, F.W. (14.10.2016). The role of phonotactics and alternations in the acquisition of Japanese high vowel reduction.
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Currently dr. Frans Adriaans teaches the following course(s):
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Full name
dr. F.W. Adriaans Contact details
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Last updated 19.05.2017