The Effects of Age and Infant Hearing Status on Maternal Use of Prosodic Cues for Clause Boundaries in Speech PurposeThe present study examined the effects of age and hearing status of a child on maternal use of pitch change, preboundary vowel lengthening, and pause duration, all of which are prosodic cues correlated with clause boundaries in infant-directed speech.MethodMothers' speech to infants with normal hearing (NH; n = 18), infants ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2011
The Effects of Age and Infant Hearing Status on Maternal Use of Prosodic Cues for Clause Boundaries in Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Maria V. Kondaurova
    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • Tonya R. Bergeson
    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
    Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • Correspondence to Maria V. Kondaurova: mkondaur@iupui.edu
  • Editor: Anne Smith
    Editor: Anne Smith×
  • Associate Editor: Amanda Seidl
    Associate Editor: Amanda Seidl×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   June 01, 2011
The Effects of Age and Infant Hearing Status on Maternal Use of Prosodic Cues for Clause Boundaries in Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2011, Vol. 54, 740-754. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0225)
History: Received October 7, 2009 , Revised May 28, 2010 , Accepted September 23, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2011, Vol. 54, 740-754. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0225)
History: Received October 7, 2009; Revised May 28, 2010; Accepted September 23, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 16

PurposeThe present study examined the effects of age and hearing status of a child on maternal use of pitch change, preboundary vowel lengthening, and pause duration, all of which are prosodic cues correlated with clause boundaries in infant-directed speech.

MethodMothers' speech to infants with normal hearing (NH; n = 18), infants who are profoundly deaf with a cochlear implant (HI; n = 9), and an adult experimenter were recorded at 2 time periods separated by 6 months. NH infants were matched to HI infants by chronological age or hearing experience. Fundamental frequency of pre- and postboundary vowels, vowel duration, and pause duration between utterances was measured.

ResultsResults demonstrated that mothers (a) exaggerated prosodic characteristics in infant-directed speech regardless of infants' hearing status; (b) tailored preboundary vowel lengthening to infants' hearing experience rather than to chronological age; and (c) decreased exaggeration of pause duration over time.

ConclusionsThe results suggest that acoustic cues correlated with clause boundaries are available in maternal speech to HI infants. Their exaggeration relative to adult-directed speech suggests that mothers' use of infant-directed speech is a natural behavior regardless of infant hearing status. Finally, mothers modify speech prosody according to their children’s age and hearing experience.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Research Grant R01 DC 008581, awarded to the second author. We thank Lindsey Stickans and Kabreea Dunn for their help in recording and analyzing mothers' speech. We also thank Amanda Seidl and Laura Dilley for their intellectual insight on this project.
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