ERIC Number: EJ792615
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Acoustic Emphasis in Four Year Olds
Wonnacott, Elizabeth; Watson, Duane G.
Cognition, v107 n3 p1093-1101 Jun 2008
Acoustic emphasis may convey a range of subtle discourse distinctions, yet little is known about how this complex ability develops in children. This paper presents a first investigation of the factors which influence the production of acoustic prominence in young children's spontaneous speech. In a production experiment, SVO sentences were elicited from 4 year olds who were asked to describe events in a video. Children were found to place more acoustic prominence both on "new" words and on words that were "given" but had shifted to a more accessible position within the discourse. This effect of accessibility concurs with recent studies of adult speech. We conclude that, by age four, children show appropriate, adult-like use of acoustic prominence, suggesting sensitivity to a variety of discourse distinctions.
Descriptors: Sentences, Speech, Acoustics, Young Children, Child Development, Cognitive Processes, Speech Communication, Language Acquisition, Discourse Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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