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ERIC Number: EJ830956
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jan
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Sensitivity to Word-Final Phonotactics in 9- to 16-Month-Old Infants
Zamuner, Tania S.
Infancy, v10 n1 p77-95 Jan 2006
Previous research has shown that infants begin to display sensitivities to language-specific phonotactics and probabilistic phonotactics at around 9 months of age. However, certain phonotactic patterns have not yet been examined, such as contrast neutralization, in which phonemic contrasts are neutralized typically in syllable- or word-final position. Thus, the acquisition of contrast neutralization is dependent on infants' ability to perceive certain contrasts in final position. The studies reported here test infants' sensitivity to voicing neutralization in word-final position and infants' discrimination of voicing and place of articulation (POA) contrasts in word-initial and word-final position. Nine and 11-month-old Dutch-learning infants showed no preference for legal versus illegal voicing phonotactics that were contrasted in word-final position. Furthermore, 10-month-old infants showed no discrimination of voicing or POA contrasts in word-final position, whereas they did show sensitivity to the same contrasts in word-initial position. By 16 months, infants were able to discriminate POA contrasts in word-final position, although showing no discrimination of the word-final voicing contrast. These findings have broad implications for models of how learners acquire the phonological structures of their language, for the types of phonotactic structures to which infants are presumed to be sensitive, and for the relative sensitivity to phonemic distinctions by syllable and word position during acquisition. (Contains 1 table 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