The development of acoustic cues to coda contrasts in young children learning American English

Jae Yung Song, Katherine Demuth, Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Research on children's speech perception and production suggests that consonant voicing and place contrasts may be acquired early in life, at least in word-onset position. However, little is known about the development of the acoustic correlates of later-acquired, word-final coda contrasts. This is of particular interest in languages like English where many grammatical morphemes are realized as codas. This study therefore examined how various non-spectral acoustic cues vary as a function of stop coda voicing (voiced vs. voiceless) and place (alveolar vs. velar) in the spontaneous speech of 6 American-English-speaking mother-child dyads. The results indicate that children as young as 1;6 exhibited many adult-like acoustic cues to voicing and place contrasts, including longer vowels and more frequent use of voice bar with voiced codas, and a greater number of bursts and longer post-release noise for velar codas. However, 1;6-year-olds overall exhibited longer durations and more frequent occurrence of these cues compared to mothers, with decreasing values by 2;6. Thus, English-speaking 1;6-year-olds already exhibit adult-like use of some of the cues to coda voicing and place, though implementation is not yet fully adult-like. Physiological and contextual correlates of these findings are discussed.

LanguageEnglish
Pages3036-3050
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume131
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

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cues
Acoustics
learning
Cues
Learning
acoustics
English language
Mothers
Speech Perception
vowels
Noise
bursts
Language
occurrences
Coda
American English
Acoustic Cues
Young children
Research
Voicing

Cite this

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title = "The development of acoustic cues to coda contrasts in young children learning American English",
abstract = "Research on children's speech perception and production suggests that consonant voicing and place contrasts may be acquired early in life, at least in word-onset position. However, little is known about the development of the acoustic correlates of later-acquired, word-final coda contrasts. This is of particular interest in languages like English where many grammatical morphemes are realized as codas. This study therefore examined how various non-spectral acoustic cues vary as a function of stop coda voicing (voiced vs. voiceless) and place (alveolar vs. velar) in the spontaneous speech of 6 American-English-speaking mother-child dyads. The results indicate that children as young as 1;6 exhibited many adult-like acoustic cues to voicing and place contrasts, including longer vowels and more frequent use of voice bar with voiced codas, and a greater number of bursts and longer post-release noise for velar codas. However, 1;6-year-olds overall exhibited longer durations and more frequent occurrence of these cues compared to mothers, with decreasing values by 2;6. Thus, English-speaking 1;6-year-olds already exhibit adult-like use of some of the cues to coda voicing and place, though implementation is not yet fully adult-like. Physiological and contextual correlates of these findings are discussed.",
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The development of acoustic cues to coda contrasts in young children learning American English. / Song, Jae Yung; Demuth, Katherine; Shattuck-Hufnagel, Stefanie.

In: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 131, No. 4, 04.2012, p. 3036-3050.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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