The syllabic status of final consonants in early speech

a case study

Ivan Yuen*, Kelly Miles, Felicity Cox, Katherine Demuth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

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 [kætə]). 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-694
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

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