Interaction of vowel length, utterance-position and focus accent in 3-year olds' Australian English

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    Abstract

    Durational contrasts can be used to signal prosodic boundaries (utterance-final lengthening) and discourse focus (accentual lengthening). Durational differences can also signal phonemic vowel length contrast such as in non-rhotic Australian English where vowel length distinguishes lexical items (such as, cart /kɐ:t/ and cut /kɐt/). This raises the question of how and when children acquire phonemic vowel length contrasts along with various prosodic length requirements. An elicited imitation task was conducted with nine 3-year-old Australian English-speaking children. Our findings show that the children distinguished long and short vowels in spite of utterance-final and accentual lengthening. The scope of the two types of prosodic lengthening differed, suggesting they are in the process of learning about these prosodic contexts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-20
    Number of pages4
    JournalProceedings of the 14th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventAustralasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (14th : 2012) - Sydney
    Duration: 3 Dec 20126 Dec 2012

    Keywords

    • prosody
    • utterance-final lengthening
    • accentual lengthening
    • vowel acquisition
    • phonemic vowel length

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