While voicing contrasts in word-onset position are acquired relatively early, much less is known about how and when they are acquired in word-coda position, where accurate production of these contrasts is also critical for distinguishing words (e.g., dog vs. dock). This study examined how the acoustic cues to coda voicing contrasts are realized in the speech of 4-year-old Australian English-speaking children. The results showed that children used similar acoustic cues to those of adults, including longer vowel duration and more frequent voice bar for voiced stops, and longer closure and burst durations for voiceless stops along with more frequent irregular pitch periods. This suggests that 4-year-olds have acquired productive use of the acoustic cues to coda voicing contrasts, though implementations are not yet fully adult-like. The findings have implications for understanding the development of phonological contrasts in populations for whom these may be challenging, such as children with hearing loss.
- coda stop voicing
- Australian English