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Academic Paper

Title: Age-related changes in acoustic modifications of Mandarin maternal speech to preverbal infants and five-year-old children: a longitudinal study
Author: Huei-mei Liu
Institution: National Taiwan Normal University
Author: Feng-ming Tsao
Institution: National Taiwan University
Author: Patricia K. Kuhl
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Washington
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Psycholinguistics
Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Abstract: Acoustic-phonetic exaggeration of infant-directed speech (IDS) is well documented, but few studies address whether these features are modified with a child's age. Mandarin-speaking mothers were recorded while addressing an adult and their child at two ages (0 ; 7–1 ; 0 and 5 ; 0) to examine the acoustic-phonetic differences between IDS and child-directed speech (CDS). CDS exhibits an exaggeration pattern resembling that of IDS – expanded vowel space, longer vowels, higher pitch and greater lexical tone differences – when compared to ADS. Longitudinal analysis demonstrated that the extent of acoustic exaggeration is significantly smaller in CDS than in IDS. Age-related changes in maternal speech provide some support for the hypothesis that mothers adjust their speech directed toward children as a function of the child's language ability.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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