The Articulatory Basis of Babbling This article evaluates the “Frames, then Content” hypothesis for speech acquisition, which states that much of the patterning of babbling is a direct result of production of syllabic “Frames” by means of rhythmic mandibular oscillation, with relatively little of the intrasyllabic and intersyllabic “Content” of the syllable-like cycles under mandible-independent ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1995
The Articulatory Basis of Babbling
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Barbara L. Davis
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Peter F. MacNeilage
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • Contact author: Barbara L. Davis, PhD, Department of Speech Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Texas at Austin, Program in Communication Disorders, Austin, TX 78712–1089. E-mail: babs@mail.utexas.edu
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1995
The Articulatory Basis of Babbling
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1995, Vol. 38, 1199-1211. doi:10.1044/jshr.3806.1199
History: Received August 26, 1994 , Accepted April 5, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1995, Vol. 38, 1199-1211. doi:10.1044/jshr.3806.1199
History: Received August 26, 1994; Accepted April 5, 1995

This article evaluates the “Frames, then Content” hypothesis for speech acquisition, which states that much of the patterning of babbling is a direct result of production of syllabic “Frames” by means of rhythmic mandibular oscillation, with relatively little of the intrasyllabic and intersyllabic “Content” of the syllable-like cycles under mandible-independent control. Analysis was based on a phonetically transcribed corpus of 6,659 utterances of 6 normally developing infants obtained from one-hour weekly audio-recordings over a 4–6 month period. Intrasyllabic predictions were that front vowels would preferentially co-occur with front (alveolar) consonants, back vowels with back (velar) consonants, and central vowels with labial consonants, with the latter effect presumably resulting from mandibular oscillation alone. Intersyllabic predictions were for more variegation in tongue height for vowels than in front-back tongue movement, and for consonant manner changes to predominate over place changes (related primarily to mandibular oscillation). All 30 individual predictions from both hypotheses were confirmed, leading to a conception of the articulatory basis of babbling as “Frame Dominance.”

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part by NICHD-R01-HD27733–03.
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