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May 2022

Internal structure of voicing categories in early infancy

Author(s): Eimas, P. D.

Journal/Book: Percept Psychophys. 1996; 58: 1710 Fortview Rd, Austin, TX 78704. Psychonomic Soc Inc. 1157-1167.

Abstract: It is well established that young infants process speech in terms of perceptual categories that closely correspond to the phonetic categories of adult language users. Recently, Kuhl (1991) has provided evidence that this correspondence is not limited to the region of category boundaries: At least by 6-7 months of age, vowel categories of infants, like those of adults, have an internal perceptual structure. In the current experiments, which focused on a consonantal contrast, we found evidence of internally structured categories in even younger infants-3-4 months of age. The implications of these findings for the nature of the infant's earliest language-universal categories are discussed, as is the role of exposure to the native language in shaping these categories over the course of development.

Note: Article JL Miller, Northeastern Univ, Dept Psychol, Boston, MA 02115 USA

Keyword(s): LANGUAGE SPEECH-PERCEPTION; PHONETIC CATEGORIES; SPEAKING RATE; MOTOR THEORY; DISCRIMINATION; PROTOTYPES; MAGNET; SIMILARITY; VOT; REORGANIZATION


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