Effects of Prior Phonotactic Knowledge on Infant Word Segmentation: The Case of Nonadjacent Dependencies PurposeIn this study, the authors explored whether French-learning infants use nonadjacent phonotactic regularities in their native language, which they learn between the ages of 7 and 10 months, to segment words from fluent speech.MethodTwo groups of 20 French-learning infants were tested using the head-turn preference procedure at 10 and 13 ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2013
Effects of Prior Phonotactic Knowledge on Infant Word Segmentation: The Case of Nonadjacent Dependencies
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez
    Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France
  • Thierry Nazzi
    Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France
  • Correspondence to Nayeli Gonzalez-Gomez: nayeli.gonzalez.gomez@gmail.com
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Ewa Jacewicz
    Associate Editor: Ewa Jacewicz×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   June 01, 2013
Effects of Prior Phonotactic Knowledge on Infant Word Segmentation: The Case of Nonadjacent Dependencies
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2013, Vol. 56, 840-849. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0138)
History: Received April 25, 2012 , Revised August 29, 2012 , Accepted September 8, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2013, Vol. 56, 840-849. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/12-0138)
History: Received April 25, 2012; Revised August 29, 2012; Accepted September 8, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeIn this study, the authors explored whether French-learning infants use nonadjacent phonotactic regularities in their native language, which they learn between the ages of 7 and 10 months, to segment words from fluent speech.

MethodTwo groups of 20 French-learning infants were tested using the head-turn preference procedure at 10 and 13 months of age. In Experiment 1, infants were familiarized with 2 passages: 1 containing a target word with a frequent nonadjacent phonotactic structure and the other containing a target word with an infrequent nonadjacent phonotactic structure in French. During the test phase, infants were presented with 4 word lists: 2 containing the target words presented during familiarization and 2 other control words with the same phonotactic structure. In Experiment 2, the authors retested infants' ability to segment words with the infrequent phonotactic structure.

ResultsTen- and 13-month-olds were able to segment words with the frequent phonotactic structure, but it is only by 13 months, and only under the circumstances of Experiment 2, that infants could segment words with the infrequent phonotactic structure.

ConclusionThese results provide new evidence showing that infant word segmentation is influenced by prior nonadjacent phonotactic knowledge.

Acknowledgments
This study was conducted with the support of a Consejo Nacional Para la Ciencia y la Tecnologia (CONACYT) grant awarded to the first author, and Agence National de la Recherche (ANR)-Economic Social Research Council Grant ANR-09-FRBR awarded to the second author. Special thanks to Karine Martel for making her mother–infant corpus available to us and to the infants and their parents for their kindness and cooperation.
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