Residency Period: 03/01/2013 to 02/28/2014

Professor Thaïs Cristófaro Alves da Silva is a professor at the Faculty of Letters of the Federal University of Minas Gerais and CNPq Research Productivity Scholar, level 1C. Master in Linguistics from UFMG (1986), PhD in Linguistics from the University of London (1992) and Post-Doctorate at Newcastle University (2002) and PUCMINAS (2011). She was President of the Brazilian Association of Linguistics – ABRALIN, 2005-2007; Coordinator of the Chamber of Research in Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts of FAPEMIG (Minas Gerais Research Support Foundation) between 2009-2012; coordinator of the ANPOLL Phonetics and Phonology WG in the 2010-2012 biennium. She works in the Graduate Program in Linguistic Studies (POSLIN), linked to the Line of Research: PHONOLOGY. She coordinates the Laboratory of Phonology, Faculty of Letters, UFMG, where she develops the following research projects: 1) Lexical Diffusion: a dynamic approach to lexical organization (CNPq 30.65.95 / 2011-7); 2) E-labore: Electronic Laboratory of Orality and Writing (COEP UFMG, ETIC 235/08) and 3) Emergence of Phonological Patterns (PPM-VI-00357-12) and Dynamicity of mental representations: studies in sonority (IEAT). Research results referring to these and other completed projects can be obtained on the website: (see publications) and at for ongoing research results of the ASPA Project. In partnership with Professor Hani Camille Yehia, from the UFMG School of Engineering, she developed a proposal for interactive teaching of Phonology and Phonetics that can be accessed at This project also seeks to document audio samples from different regions of Brazil. The scientific work of Thaïs Cristófaro Silva focuses on phonology, phonetics, sound variation and acquisition of oral and written language, welcoming students with training in different areas of knowledge – Languages, Speech Therapy, Psychology, Engineering, etc. – for project supervision and development. His professional work has a multidisciplinary character, mainly linked to Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, with an emphasis on phonology, speech therapy and speech technology.


The project “Dynamicity of mental representations: studies in sonority” will seek to understand the dynamic nature of mental representations with an emphasis on sound representations. In addition, the project will discuss the following specific points: discuss case studies of Brazilian Portuguese related to sound variation and change; explore theoretical proposals that suggest the multi-specification of networks that manage mental representations; investigate the gradient nature of phonetic properties in the construction of grammatical knowledge; contribute to a greater understanding of the interaction between the sound component and grammatical organization; to contribute to the theoretical approach that suggests that linguistic knowledge is probabilistically organized and to evaluate dynamic mechanisms that manage the grammars of natural languages and, in particular, the grammar of Brazilian Portuguese.

Thus, in its transdisciplinary bias, the proposal is based on the relationship between motor development and cognition by linking the area of linguistics with physiology and motricity (articulation), physics (acoustics), engineering (dynamic modeling) and neurosciences (brain). . It is intended to explain how the appropriation of motor routines linked to abstract concepts leads to the organization of grammatical knowledge, creating stable structures and managing variability.