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ERIC Number: EJ1140192
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Prosodic Disambiguation of Noun/Verb Homophones in Child-Directed Speech
Conwell, Erin
Journal of Child Language, v44 n3 p734-751 May 2017
One strategy that children might use to sort words into grammatical categories such as noun and verb is distributional bootstrapping, in which local co-occurrence information is used to distinguish between categories. Words that can be used in more than one grammatical category could be problematic for this approach. Using naturalistic corpus data, this study asks whether noun and verb uses of ambiguous words might differ prosodically as a function of their grammatical category in child-directed speech. The results show that noun and verb uses of ambiguous words in sentence-medial positions do differ from one another in terms of duration, vowel duration, pitch change, and vowel quality measures. However, sentence-final tokens are not different as a function of the category in which they were used. The availability of prosodic cues to category in natural child-directed speech could allow learners using a distributional bootstrapping approach to avoid conflating grammatical categories.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1R15HD07751901