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ERIC Number: EJ920398
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Phonotactic Constraints on Infant Word Learning
Estes, Katharine Graf; Edwards, Jan; Saffran, Jenny R.
Infancy, v16 n2 p180-197 Mar-Apr 2011
How do infants use their knowledge of native language sound patterns when learning words? There is ample evidence of infants' precocious acquisition of native language sound structure during the first year of life, but much less evidence concerning how they apply this knowledge to the task of associating sounds with meanings in word learning. To address this question, 18-month-olds were presented with two phonotactically legal object labels (containing sound sequences that occur frequently in English) or two phonotactically illegal object labels (containing sound sequences that never occur in English), paired with novel objects. Infants were then tested using a looking-while-listening measure. The results revealed that infants looked at the correct objects after hearing the legal labels, but not the illegal labels. Furthermore, vocabulary size was related to performance. Infants with larger receptive vocabularies displayed greater differences between learning of legal and illegal labels than infants with smaller vocabularies. These findings provide evidence that infants' knowledge of native language sound patterns influences their word learning. (Contains 2 footnotes, 2 tables, and 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Wisconsin