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ERIC Number: EJ934089
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0285
Linking Sounds to Meanings: Infant Statistical Learning in a Natural Language
Hay, Jessica F.; Pelucchi, Bruna; Estes, Katharine Graf; Saffran, Jenny R.
Cognitive Psychology, v63 n2 p93-106 Sep 2011
The processes of infant word segmentation and infant word learning have largely been studied separately. However, the ease with which potential word forms are segmented from fluent speech seems likely to influence subsequent mappings between words and their referents. To explore this process, we tested the link between the statistical coherence of sequences presented in fluent speech and infants' subsequent use of those sequences as labels for novel objects. Notably, the materials were drawn from a natural language unfamiliar to the infants (Italian). The results of three experiments suggest that there is a close relationship between the statistics of the speech stream and subsequent mapping of labels to referents. Mapping was facilitated when the labels contained high transitional probabilities in the forward and/or backward direction (Experiment 1). When no transitional probability information was available (Experiment 2), or when the internal transitional probabilities of the labels were low in both directions (Experiment 3), infants failed to link the labels to their referents. Word learning appears to be strongly influenced by infants' prior experience with the distribution of sounds that make up words in natural languages. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A