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ERIC Number: EJ849469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Speaker Variability Augments Phonological Processing in Early Word Learning
Rost, Gwyneth C.; McMurray, Bob
Developmental Science, v12 n2 p339-349 Mar 2009
Infants in the early stages of word learning have difficulty learning lexical neighbors (i.e. word pairs that differ by a single phoneme), despite their ability to discriminate the same contrast in a purely auditory task. While prior work has focused on top-down explanations for this failure (e.g. task demands, lexical competition), none has examined if bottom-up acoustic-phonetic factors play a role. We hypothesized that lexical neighbor learning could be improved by incorporating greater acoustic variability in the words being learned, as this may buttress still-developing phonetic categories, and help infants identify the relevant contrastive dimension. Infants were exposed to pictures accompanied by labels spoken by either a single or multiple speakers. At test, infants in the single-speaker condition failed to recognize the difference between the two words, while infants who heard multiple speakers discriminated between them.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A