Evidence for Language-Specific Influence on the Preference of Stress Patterns in Infants Learning an Iambic Language (Hebrew) PurposeThe ability of infants to develop recognition of a common stress pattern that is language specific has been tested mainly in trochaic languages with a strong-weak (SW) stress pattern. The goals of the present study were: (a) to test Hebrew-learning infants on their stress pattern preference in the Hebrew language, ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2012
Evidence for Language-Specific Influence on the Preference of Stress Patterns in Infants Learning an Iambic Language (Hebrew)
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Osnat Segal
    Tel-Aviv University, Israel
  • Liat Kishon-Rabin
    Tel-Aviv University, Israel
  • Correspondence to Osnat Segal: segalll@netvision.net.il
  • Editor: Sid Bacon
    Editor: Sid Bacon×
  • Associate Editor: Lynne Werner
    Associate Editor: Lynne Werner×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Article   |   October 01, 2012
Evidence for Language-Specific Influence on the Preference of Stress Patterns in Infants Learning an Iambic Language (Hebrew)
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2012, Vol. 55, 1329-1341. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0087)
History: Received April 10, 2011 , Revised September 30, 2011 , Accepted February 15, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2012, Vol. 55, 1329-1341. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0087)
History: Received April 10, 2011; Revised September 30, 2011; Accepted February 15, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

PurposeThe ability of infants to develop recognition of a common stress pattern that is language specific has been tested mainly in trochaic languages with a strong-weak (SW) stress pattern. The goals of the present study were: (a) to test Hebrew-learning infants on their stress pattern preference in the Hebrew language, for which the weak-strong (WS) stress pattern is the common one, and (b) to test whether the infants would generalize any preference for the common stress pattern in Hebrew to English words, which belong to a different rhythmic class.

MethodFifty-six 9-month-old Hebrew-learning infants were tested on their preference for SW and WS stress patterns using Hebrew and English bisyllabic words with the Head-Turn Preference Procedure.

ResultsThe infants showed preference for WS Hebrew words but not for SW English words.

ConclusionHebrew-learning infants recognize the common stress pattern in their native language, supporting language-specific distributional learning by infants. This recognition, however, is not generalized to a foreign language with different prosodic characteristics.

Acknowledgments
We gratefully acknowledge Esther Shabtai for assistance with the statistical analysis and the infants and their parents for their participation. This study was supported by Grant No. 6438-6 from the Public Committee for Allocation of Estate Funds, Ministry of Health, Israel, and by the Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Ref. #2007341.
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