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Academic Paper

Title: Does size matter? Subsegmental cues to vowel mispronunciation detection
Author: Nivedita Mani
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Oxford
Author: Kim Plunkett
Institution: University of Oxford
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Children look longer at a familiar object when presented with either correct pronunciations or small mispronunciations of consonants in the object's label, but not following larger mispronunciations. The current article examines whether children display a similar graded sensitivity to different degrees of mispronunciations of the vowels in familiar words, by testing children's sensitivity to 1-feature, 2-feature and 3-feature mispronunciations of the vowels of familiar labels: Children aged 1 ; 6 did not show a graded sensitivity to vowel mispronunciations, even when the trial length was increased to allow them more time to form a response. Two-year-olds displayed a robust sensitivity to increases in vowel mispronunciation size, differentiating between small and large mispronunciations. While this suggests that early lexical representations contain information about the features contributing to vocalic identity, we present evidence that this graded sensitivity is better explained by the acoustic characteristics of the different mispronunciation types presented to children.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 38, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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