Vocalic and consonantal processing biases in early word-learning: Cross-language differences?

Anders Højen, Thierry Nazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalResearch

Abstract

Previous research showed that French-learning 16- or 20-month-olds could learn pairs of words that differed by a single consonantal but not vocalic feature. Danish has a richer vowel inventory than French, allowing for 31 phonological vowel contrasts, including vowel length and presence/absence of stod (laryngealization). The purpose of Experiment 1 was to test whether Danish-learning 20-month-olds, in spite of the importance of vowels in Danish phonology, showed a lack of sensitivity to one-feature vocalic differences in lexical learning similar to that of French-learning infants. The experiment made use of the same word-learning task as that used for French 16-month-olds. As opposed to the French-learning infants, the Danish-learning infants successfully learned the vowel pairs indicating sensitivity to small vocalic differences in word-learning. Experiment 2 tested the use of vowels in word-learning in French-learning 20-month-olds using the same task. They failed again. On the other hand, ongoing tests indicate that Danish-learning 20-month-olds, as opposed to French-learning 16- or 20-month-olds, fail to use one-feature consonantal differences in word-learning. These results may suggest that infants develop processing biases in word-learning depending on the sound-structure of their language.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume128
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)2350
Number of pages1
ISSN0001-4966
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Cite this

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title = "Vocalic and consonantal processing biases in early word-learning: Cross-language differences?",
abstract = "Previous research showed that French-learning 16- or 20-month-olds could learn pairs of words that differed by a single consonantal but not vocalic feature. Danish has a richer vowel inventory than French, allowing for 31 phonological vowel contrasts, including vowel length and presence/absence of stod (laryngealization). The purpose of Experiment 1 was to test whether Danish-learning 20-month-olds, in spite of the importance of vowels in Danish phonology, showed a lack of sensitivity to one-feature vocalic differences in lexical learning similar to that of French-learning infants. The experiment made use of the same word-learning task as that used for French 16-month-olds. As opposed to the French-learning infants, the Danish-learning infants successfully learned the vowel pairs indicating sensitivity to small vocalic differences in word-learning. Experiment 2 tested the use of vowels in word-learning in French-learning 20-month-olds using the same task. They failed again. On the other hand, ongoing tests indicate that Danish-learning 20-month-olds, as opposed to French-learning 16- or 20-month-olds, fail to use one-feature consonantal differences in word-learning. These results may suggest that infants develop processing biases in word-learning depending on the sound-structure of their language.",
keywords = "Infant, Language acquisition, Perception, word learning, consonants, vowels, Danish, french",
author = "Anders H{\o}jen and Thierry Nazzi",
year = "2010",
doi = "10.1121/1.3508331",
language = "English",
volume = "128",
pages = "2350",
journal = "Acoustical Society of America. Journal",
issn = "0001-4966",
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Vocalic and consonantal processing biases in early word-learning: Cross-language differences? / Højen, Anders; Nazzi, Thierry.

In: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 128, No. 4, 2010, p. 2350.

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalResearch

TY - ABST

T1 - Vocalic and consonantal processing biases in early word-learning: Cross-language differences?

AU - Højen, Anders

AU - Nazzi, Thierry

PY - 2010

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N2 - Previous research showed that French-learning 16- or 20-month-olds could learn pairs of words that differed by a single consonantal but not vocalic feature. Danish has a richer vowel inventory than French, allowing for 31 phonological vowel contrasts, including vowel length and presence/absence of stod (laryngealization). The purpose of Experiment 1 was to test whether Danish-learning 20-month-olds, in spite of the importance of vowels in Danish phonology, showed a lack of sensitivity to one-feature vocalic differences in lexical learning similar to that of French-learning infants. The experiment made use of the same word-learning task as that used for French 16-month-olds. As opposed to the French-learning infants, the Danish-learning infants successfully learned the vowel pairs indicating sensitivity to small vocalic differences in word-learning. Experiment 2 tested the use of vowels in word-learning in French-learning 20-month-olds using the same task. They failed again. On the other hand, ongoing tests indicate that Danish-learning 20-month-olds, as opposed to French-learning 16- or 20-month-olds, fail to use one-feature consonantal differences in word-learning. These results may suggest that infants develop processing biases in word-learning depending on the sound-structure of their language.

AB - Previous research showed that French-learning 16- or 20-month-olds could learn pairs of words that differed by a single consonantal but not vocalic feature. Danish has a richer vowel inventory than French, allowing for 31 phonological vowel contrasts, including vowel length and presence/absence of stod (laryngealization). The purpose of Experiment 1 was to test whether Danish-learning 20-month-olds, in spite of the importance of vowels in Danish phonology, showed a lack of sensitivity to one-feature vocalic differences in lexical learning similar to that of French-learning infants. The experiment made use of the same word-learning task as that used for French 16-month-olds. As opposed to the French-learning infants, the Danish-learning infants successfully learned the vowel pairs indicating sensitivity to small vocalic differences in word-learning. Experiment 2 tested the use of vowels in word-learning in French-learning 20-month-olds using the same task. They failed again. On the other hand, ongoing tests indicate that Danish-learning 20-month-olds, as opposed to French-learning 16- or 20-month-olds, fail to use one-feature consonantal differences in word-learning. These results may suggest that infants develop processing biases in word-learning depending on the sound-structure of their language.

KW - Infant

KW - Language acquisition

KW - Perception

KW - word learning

KW - consonants

KW - vowels

KW - Danish

KW - french

U2 - 10.1121/1.3508331

DO - 10.1121/1.3508331

M3 - Conference abstract in journal

VL - 128

SP - 2350

JO - Acoustical Society of America. Journal

JF - Acoustical Society of America. Journal

SN - 0001-4966

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ER -