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ERIC Number: EJ814824
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Clause Segmentation by 6-Month-Old Infants: A Crosslinguistic Perspective
Johnson, Elizabeth K.; Seidl, Amanda
Infancy, v13 n5 p440-455 Sep 2008
Each clause and phrase boundary necessarily aligns with a word boundary. Thus, infants' attention to the edges of clauses and phrases may help them learn some of the language-specific cues defining word boundaries. Attention to prosodically well-formed clauses and phrases may also help infants begin to extract information important for learning the grammatical structure of their language. Despite the potentially important role that the perception of large prosodic units may play in early language acquisition, there has been little work investigating the extraction of these units from fluent speech by infants learning languages other than English. We report 2 experiments investigating Dutch learners' clause segmentation abilities. In these studies, Dutch-learning 6-month-olds readily extract clauses from speech. However, Dutch learners differ from English learners in that they seem to be more reliant on pauses to detect clause boundaries. Two closely related explanations for this finding are considered, both of which stem from the acoustic differences in clause boundary realizations in Dutch versus English. (Contains 2 tables, 2 figures, and 4 footnotes.)
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: Netherlands