Document Detail

Evidence for language-specific rhythmic influences in the reduplicative babbling of French- and English-learning infants.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  1843525     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The reduplicative babbling of five French- and five English-learning infants was examined for evidence of language-specific rhythmic patterns. Three types of patterns were examined: final-syllable lengthening, timing of nonfinal syllables, and number of syllables per utterance. Both English and French exhibit final-syllable lengthening but, because of variable word stress, English tends to lengthen nonfinal stressed syllables, as well as final ones. Thus French final-syllable lengthening is more salient because it is the only regular source of lengthening. There is also some indication that the magnitude of final syllable lengthening is greater in French than in English. In addition, French nonfinal syllables, which are not subject to English variable word stress, are generally equal in length, whereas English tends to have more irregularly timed nonfinal syllables. Finally, French breath-groups often contain as many as four to six syllables, whereas intervals between stressed syllables in English rarely contain more than three syllables. The reduplicative babbling of the French and American infants showed characteristics of the ambient language. In particular, the babbling of the French infants showed a significantly higher percentage of final-syllable lengthening than that of the American infants. The magnitude of their final-syllable lengthening was also greater. The French infants also produced significantly more reduplicative babbles that were four or more syllables in length. Finally, the nonfinal syllables of the French infants tended to be more regularly timed than those of the American infants, although this pattern emerged only in the later stage of the infants' reduplicative babbles.
A G Levitt; Q Wang
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Language and speech     Volume:  34 ( Pt 3)     ISSN:  0023-8309     ISO Abbreviation:  Lang Speech     Publication Date:    1991 Jul-Sep
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1993-03-02     Completed Date:  1993-03-02     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985214R     Medline TA:  Lang Speech     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  235-49     Citation Subset:  IM    
Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT 06511-6695.
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MeSH Terms
Imitative Behavior
Speech Acoustics*
Speech Production Measurement
United States
Grant Support

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

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