ERIC Number: ED111201
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1974
Reference Count: 0
Stress Patterns of Early Child Language.
Wieman, Leslie A.
A study was undertaken to determine whether children in early periods of language development use stress with any regular patterns, and if so, on what the patterns are based. The subjects were five children aged 21-29 months, MLU between 1.3 and 2.4. Tape recordings were made during play sessions with each child. Two-word utterances that could be clearly interpreted were extracted and grouped and their stress was determined. Analysis indicates that children have strong stress patterns and that semantic relations are more important to the child's stress than syntax. In use of locative phrases with verb-locative, the locative was stressed in every case. In modifier-noun use, the modifier was almost always stressed, in contrast to transformation generative theory. Other stress priorities are noted and arranged in a scale. It is proposed that children distinguish whether information in utterances is new or contrastive and apply stress accordingly, following a semantic hierarchy. The evidence showing that children early produce regular and significant patterns of stress is important for the syntax vs. semantics controversy in adult stress assignment. (CHK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHEW), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Abbreviated version of Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington