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ERIC Number: EJ830872
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Feb
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 50
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Chinese and English Infants' Tone Perception: Evidence for Perceptual Reorganization
Mattock, Karen; Burnham, Denis
Infancy, v10 n3 p241-265 Feb 2006
Over half the world's population speaks a tone language, yet infant speech perception research has typically focused on consonants and vowels. Very young infants can discriminate a wide range of native and nonnative consonants and vowels, and then in a process of "perceptual reorganization" over the 1st year, discrimination of most nonnative speech sounds deteriorates. We investigated perceptual reorganization for tones by testing 6- and 9-month-old infants from tone (Chinese) and nontone (English) language environments for speech (lexical tone) and nonspeech (violin sound) tone discrimination in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Overall, Chinese infants performed equally well at 6 and 9 months for both speech and nonspeech tone discrimination. Conversely, English infants' discrimination of lexical tone declined between 6 and 9 months of age, whereas their nonspeech tone discrimination remained constant. These results indicate that the reorganization of tone perception is a function of the native language environment, and that this reorganization is linguistically based. (Contains 4 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: Australia