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Academic Paper

Title: Input frequency and lexical variability in phonological development: a survival analysis of word-initial cluster production
Author: Mitsuhiko Ota
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Author: Sam J. Green
Institution: University College London
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonology
Abstract: Although it has been often hypothesized that children learn to produce new sound patterns first in frequently heard words, the available evidence in support of this claim is inconclusive. To re-examine this question, we conducted a survival analysis of word-initial consonant clusters produced by three children in the Providence Corpus (0 ; 11–4 ; 0). The analysis took account of several lexical factors in addition to lexical input frequency, including the age of first production, production frequency, neighborhood density and number of phonemes. The results showed that lexical input frequency was a significant predictor of the age at which the accuracy level of cluster production in each word first reached 80%. The magnitude of the frequency effect differed across cluster types. Our findings indicate that some of the between-word variance found in the development of sound production can indeed be attributed to the frequency of words in the child's ambient language.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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