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September 2021

Infant vocal development during the first 6 months: Speech quality and melodic complexity

Author(s): Fogel, A., Cooper, R. B.

Journal/Book: Infant Child Dev. 2000; 9: Baffins Lane Chichester, W Sussex PO19 1UD, England. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 1-16.

Abstract: The early development of infant non-distress vocalizations was investigated in this study. Thirteen infants, from 4 to 24 weeks of age, and their mothers were observed weekly in a face-to-face interaction situation. The speech quality (syllabic versus vocalic) and melodic complexity (simple versus complex) of infant vocalizations were coded independently. Based on speech quality and melodic complexity, four types of infant non-distress vocalizations were categorized: simple and complex syllabic (speech-like) vocalizations as well as simple and complex vocalic (non-speech-like) vocalizations. Results showed that complex syllabic sounds were of longer duration and complex vocalic sounds were less frequent than the other types of vocalizations. Curvilinear developmental trends were found in the rate of simple vocalic sounds and in the mean duration of complex syllabic sounds. Furthermore, before 4 months of age, vocalic sounds were more likely to be associated with simple melodic contours, after which syllabic sounds were more likely to be associated with complex melodic contours. A dynamic systems perspective on the early development of infant vocalization is discussed.

Note: Article Hsu HC, Univ Georgia, Dept Child & Family Dev, McPhaul Ctr, Athens,GA 30602 USA

Keyword(s): dynamic systems theory; infant vocalization; non-linear development; VOCALIZATIONS; COMMUNICATION; PREFERENCES; FEATURES; PITCH

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