Temporal cues to onset voicing contrasts in Australian English-speaking children

Julien Millasseau*, Laurence Bruggeman, Ivan Yuen, Katherine Demuth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Voicing contrasts are lexically important for differentiating words in many languages (e.g., "bear"vs "pear"). Temporal differences in the voice onset time (VOT) and closure duration (CD) contribute to the voicing contrast in word-onset position. However, little is known about the acoustic realization of these voicing contrasts in Australian English-speaking children. This is essential for understanding the challenges faced by those with language delay. Therefore, the present study examined the VOT and CD values for word-initial stops as produced by 20 Australian English-speaking 4-5-year-olds. As anticipated, these children produced a systematic distinction between voiced and voiceless stops at all places of articulation (PoAs). However, although the children's VOT values for voiced stops were similar to those of adults, their VOTs for voiceless stops were longer. Like adults, the children also had different CD values for voiced and voiceless categories; however, these were systematically longer than those of adults. Even after adjusting for temporal differences by computing proportional ratios for the VOT and CD, children's voicing contrasts were not yet adultlike. These results suggest that children of this age are still developing appropriate timing and articulatory adjustments for voicing contrasts in the word-initial position.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-356
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2021 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared in Millasseau, J., Bruggeman, L., Yuen, I., & Demuth, K. (2021). Temporal cues to onset voicing contrasts in Australian English-speaking children. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 149(1), 348-356 and may be found at https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0003060.


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