ERIC Number: EJ1062887
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Finding Words and Word Structure in Artificial Speech: The Development of Infants' Sensitivity to Morphosyntactic Regularities
Marchetto, Erika; Bonatti, Luca L.
Journal of Child Language, v42 n4 p873-902 Jul 2015
To achieve language proficiency, infants must find the building blocks of speech and master the rules governing their legal combinations. However, these problems are linked: words are also built according to rules. Here, we explored early morphosyntactic sensitivity by testing when and how infants could find either words or within-word structure in artificial speech snippets embodying properties of morphological constructions. We show that 12-month olds use statistical relationships between syllables to extract words from continuous streams, but find word-internal regularities only if the streams are segmented. Seven-month-olds fail both tasks. Thus, 12-month-olds infants possess the resources to analyze the internal composition of words if the speech contains segmentation information. However, 7-month-old infants may not possess them, although they can track several statistical relations. This developmental difference suggests that morphosyntactic sensitivity may require computational resources extending beyond the detection of simple statistics.
Descriptors: Child Language, Infants, Language Proficiency, Vocabulary Development, Language Acquisition, Morphology (Languages), Syntax, Syllables, Speech Acts, Task Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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