The syllabic status of final consonants in early speech: a case study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Young children's first attempts at CVC words are often realized with the final consonant being heavily aspirated or followed by an epenthetic vowel (e.g. cat /kæt/ realized as [kæth] or [kætinverted e]). This has led some to propose that young children represent word-final (coda) consonants as an onset-nucleus sequence (CV.Cv) (e.g. Goad & Brannen, 2003), raising questions about the syllabic status of the final consonant. To address this issue, we conducted an acoustic analysis of a child's early production of CVC, CVCh, and CVCV words between the ages of 1;3 and 1;5. Aside from aspiration, the results showed that there were no significant acoustic differences between the CVC and CVCh forms. In contrast, there were systematic acoustic differences in C2 closure duration between the CVC/CVCh and CVCV target words, suggesting that at least some children learning English have early coda representations for monosyllabic CVC words, whether heavily aspirated or not.

LanguageEnglish
Pages682-694
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Acoustics
acoustics
Cats
Learning
Consonant
learning
Coda
Young children

Cite this

@article{2a073f3e87894878807c675b1e733d4d,
title = "The syllabic status of final consonants in early speech: a case study",
abstract = "Young children's first attempts at CVC words are often realized with the final consonant being heavily aspirated or followed by an epenthetic vowel (e.g. cat /k{\ae}t/ realized as [k{\ae}th] or [k{\ae}tinverted e]). This has led some to propose that young children represent word-final (coda) consonants as an onset-nucleus sequence (CV.Cv) (e.g. Goad & Brannen, 2003), raising questions about the syllabic status of the final consonant. To address this issue, we conducted an acoustic analysis of a child's early production of CVC, CVCh, and CVCV words between the ages of 1;3 and 1;5. Aside from aspiration, the results showed that there were no significant acoustic differences between the CVC and CVCh forms. In contrast, there were systematic acoustic differences in C2 closure duration between the CVC/CVCh and CVCV target words, suggesting that at least some children learning English have early coda representations for monosyllabic CVC words, whether heavily aspirated or not.",
author = "Ivan Yuen and Kelly Miles and Felicity Cox and Katherine Demuth",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1017/S0305000914000324",
language = "English",
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pages = "682--694",
journal = "Journal of Child Language",
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The syllabic status of final consonants in early speech : a case study. / Yuen, Ivan; Miles, Kelly; Cox, Felicity; Demuth, Katherine.

In: Journal of Child Language, Vol. 42, No. 3, 2015, p. 682-694.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Miles, Kelly

AU - Cox, Felicity

AU - Demuth, Katherine

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AB - Young children's first attempts at CVC words are often realized with the final consonant being heavily aspirated or followed by an epenthetic vowel (e.g. cat /kæt/ realized as [kæth] or [kætinverted e]). This has led some to propose that young children represent word-final (coda) consonants as an onset-nucleus sequence (CV.Cv) (e.g. Goad & Brannen, 2003), raising questions about the syllabic status of the final consonant. To address this issue, we conducted an acoustic analysis of a child's early production of CVC, CVCh, and CVCV words between the ages of 1;3 and 1;5. Aside from aspiration, the results showed that there were no significant acoustic differences between the CVC and CVCh forms. In contrast, there were systematic acoustic differences in C2 closure duration between the CVC/CVCh and CVCV target words, suggesting that at least some children learning English have early coda representations for monosyllabic CVC words, whether heavily aspirated or not.

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