Document Detail

Do weak syllables count for newborns?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9407665     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Does the newborn's well-known sensitivity to human speech include awareness of the distinction between strong and weak syllables, as has been shown for older infants and adults? The non-nutritive high-amplitude sucking paradigm was used to investigate whether weak syllables play a role in neonate perceptual representation. Two-day-old French infants were tested on their capacity to discriminate phonetically highly varied words containing syllables with various strong vowels versus the weak, reduced vowel schwa in natural, isolated English words. Twenty infants heard lists of weak-strong and lists of strong words (e.g., belief, control, etc. versus nose, dream, etc.) and 20 heard lists of weak-strong and strong-strong words (e.g., belief, control, etc. versus volume, rhubarb, etc.). The results show that weak-strong words were reliably distinguished from strong words, but not from strong-strong words. Taken together, the findings indicate that a weak, reduced vowel is equivalent to a strong, full vowel to the extent that both count as syllabic nuclei. Moreover, this global equivalence in terms of number of syllabic constituents apparently over-rules the more local acoustic difference between strong and weak vowels. The role of syllabic/vocalic information in neonate representation is discussed.
B van Ooijen; J Bertoncini; A Sansavini; J Mehler
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America     Volume:  102     ISSN:  0001-4966     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Acoust. Soc. Am.     Publication Date:  1997 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1998-03-03     Completed Date:  1998-03-03     Revised Date:  2006-12-27    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7503051     Medline TA:  J Acoust Soc Am     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3735-41     Citation Subset:  IM    
Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, Paris, France.
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MeSH Terms
Infant, Newborn / psychology*
Speech Perception*
Sucking Behavior

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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