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ERIC Number: EJ1087508
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISSN: ISSN-1547-5441
Infants' Perception of the Intonation of Broad and Narrow Focus
Butler, Joseph; Vigário, Marina; Frota, Sónia
Language Learning and Development, v12 n1 p1-13 2016
Infants perceive intonation contrasts early in development in contrast to lexical stress but similarly to lexical pitch accent. Previous studies have mostly focused on pitch height/direction contrasts; however, languages use a variety of pitch features to signal meaning, including differences in pitch timing. In this study, we investigate infants' perception of the prosodic contrast that cues the difference between all-new information (broad focus) and the highlighting of a particular word (narrow/contrastive focus) in European Portuguese (EP), and which has been described as having pitch timing as its key feature. Using a modified version of the visual habituation paradigm, EP learning infants discriminated this contrast at 12 months but not at 7 months, deviating from previous findings of a precocious ability to perceive pitch distinctions. These results suggest different developmental trajectories of the perception of different prosodic contrasts, underlining the importance of the nature of the cues signalling a given contrast in a given language.
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Portugal (Lisbon)