Effect of Familiarity on Word Duration in Children’s Speech: A Preliminary Investigation Young children’s productions of novel words were used to investigate the influence of word familiarity on vowel and word duration. Ten children, 18 to 21 months old, produced tokens of phonologically individualized words (from one to four words) over 12 experimental sessions. Comparisons of means for the individualized words revealed ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1995
Effect of Familiarity on Word Duration in Children’s Speech: A Preliminary Investigation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    City University of New York
  • Contact author: Richard G. Schwartz, PhD, Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences, The Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York, 33 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036. E-mail: rgs@cunyvms1.gc.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1995
Effect of Familiarity on Word Duration in Children’s Speech: A Preliminary Investigation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1995, Vol. 38, 76-84. doi:10.1044/jshr.3801.76
History: Received February 7, 1994 , Accepted July 22, 1994
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1995, Vol. 38, 76-84. doi:10.1044/jshr.3801.76
History: Received February 7, 1994; Accepted July 22, 1994

Young children’s productions of novel words were used to investigate the influence of word familiarity on vowel and word duration. Ten children, 18 to 21 months old, produced tokens of phonologically individualized words (from one to four words) over 12 experimental sessions. Comparisons of means for the individualized words revealed that productions in the second half of the sessions were significantly shorter (both in their vowel and overall duration) than those in the first six sessions. When mean durations of productions were derived for each child, the effect held for word durations. Vowel durations differed in the same direction, but the difference was not statistically significant. Under these controlled conditions, familiarity seemed to influence the duration of early productions of novel words. These findings are discussed as evidence of word-specific motor maturation in early lexical acquisition.

Acknowledgments
I wish to thank Lori Swanson, Lisa Goffman, David Jackson, Stacy Seybold, and Brenda Chapman for their assistance in data analysis and Laurence B. Leonard and Diane Frame Loeb for their roles in the project from which these data were drawn. Support was provided by Grant R01 DC 00583–05, Input-output relationships in speech and language impairments, from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
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