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ERIC Number: EJ999320
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 59
ISSN: ISSN-1525-0008
Object Familiarity Enhances Infants' Use of Phonetic Detail in Novel Words
Fennell, Christopher T.
Infancy, v17 n3 p339-353 May-Jun 2012
Infants greatly refine their ability to discriminate language sounds by 12 months, yet 14-month-olds appear to confuse similar-sounding novel words. Two explanations could account for this phenomenon: infants initially have incomplete phoneme representations, suggesting developmental discontinuity; or word-learning demands interfere with use of established phonetic detail. These hypotheses were tested at 14 months by pairing a novel word with an object preexposed to half the infants and novel to the other half. If demands are key, only preexposed infants should efficiently use phonetic detail; there is no need to concurrently learn object details with the word. If representations lack detail, object familiarity should not matter. Only infants preexposed to the object noticed a change in its label, thus challenging the discontinuity position and demonstrating the impact of object familiarity on early word learning. (Contains 2 tables, 2 figures, and 1 footnote.)
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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: United Kingdom (England)