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ERIC Number: EJ1112834
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1547-5441
Overriding the Metrical Bias with Lexical Information: English-Learning 7.5-Month-Olds Use "Mommy" to Segment Iambic Words
Sandoval, Michelle; Gómez, Rebecca L.
Language Learning and Development, v12 n4 p398-412 2016
Previous research shows that English-learning 7.5-month-olds are biased to segment speech at strong syllables consistent with the predominant trochaic (strong-weak) pattern of words in their language (Jusczyk, Houston, & Newsome, 1999). The present study asked whether 7.5-month-olds can use a familiar name to override their metrical bias and segment iambic (weak-strong) words from natural speech. Infants were familiarized to passages containing weak-strong-weak sequences ("guiTAR is") preceded by "Mama/Mommy" or an unfamiliar name. Infants were tested on iambic words ("guiTAR" in Experiments 1-2) or trochaic nonwords ("TARis" in Experiment 3). Segmentation occurred only for iambic words that were preceded by "Mama/Mommy" during familiarization. The presence of "Mama/Mommy" attenuated infants' bias to treat strong-syllables as word onsets. We suggest that young infants weight highly familiar words more strongly than metrical information and discuss the implications of this finding for a hierarchical model of segmentation that connects infant and adult segmentation systems.
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: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona (Tucson)
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS9910203