Funding was provided by NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and NSF IGERT Trainee Fellowship grants to C.Q., the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number RL5GM118963 (which supported student research assistants working with C.Q.), NSF grant HSD-0433567 to Delphine Dahan and D.S., and NIH grant R01-HD049681 and NSF grant 1917608 to D.S.
Children -- Language, Language acquisition, Phonology (Grammar)
Children are adept at learning their language’s speech-sound categories, but just how these categories function in their developing lexicon has not been mapped out in detail. Here, we addressed whether, in a language-guided looking procedure, 2-year-olds would respond to a mispronunciation of the voicing of the initial consonant of a newly learned word. First, to provide a baseline of mature native-speaker performance, adults were taught a new word under training conditions of low prosodic variability. In a second experiment, 24- and 30-month-olds were taught a new word under training conditions of high or low prosodic variability. Children and adults showed evidence of learning the taught word. Adults’ target looking was reduced when the novel word was realized at test with a change in the voicing of the initial consonant, but children did not show any such decrement in target fixation. For both children and adults, most learners did not treat the phonologically distinct variant as a different word. Acoustic-phonetic variability during teaching did not have consistent effects. Thus, under conditions of intensive short-term training, 24- and 30-month-olds did not differentiate a newly learned word from a variant differing only in consonant voicing. High task complexity during training could explain why mispronunciation detection was weaker here than in some prior studies.
Copyright © 2022 by Carolyn M. Quam and Daniel Swingley.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Locate the Document
Published as: Quam, C., & Swingley, D. (2022). A protracted developmental trajectory for English-learning children’s detection of consonant mispronunciations in newly learned words. Language Acquisition, 1-21.
Available for download on Thursday, June 01, 2023