ERIC Number: ED162516
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1976-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
From Pre-Speech to Speech: On Early Phonology. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, No. 12.
Vihman, Marilyn May
A discussion of word acquisition rates and strategies is based upon a 6-month case study of an Estonian-speaking child who gradually and systematically relaxed phonotactic constraints to allow greater complexity in word production. In addition to the cognitive tools of assimilation and accomodation as described by Piaget, the child used a further filtering process or "avoidance strategy" in which she eliminated as noise those stimuli which would overtax her capacities for identifying, processing, storing, and producing new structures. An analysis of the adult models for the child's first 50 words revealed an avoidance strategy both in the restricted phonotactic sequences (vowel-vowel and consonant-consonant) in any single word and in the limited inventory of segments found in these words. The data suggest that by the time a child begins to spontaneously produce words with adult models, he has some rudimentary knowledge of the adult sound system beyond that which he can himself produce. The study includes tables depicting word acquisition rate by month, a "boldness graph" in terms of departures from adult models, and the percent of accomodation vs. assimilation in 10-word acquisition periods. An appendix lists the child's first 50 words. (EJS)
Descriptors: Case Studies, Child Development, Child Language, Cognitive Development, Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Style, Estonian, Language Acquisition, Language Processing, Language Research, Parent Child Relationship, Phonemes, Phonology, Psycholinguistics, Verbal Development, Verbal Stimuli, Vocabulary Development
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.