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Academic Paper


Title: Prosody signals the emergence of intentional communication in the first year of life: evidence from Catalan-babbling infants
Author: Núria Esteve-Gibert
Institution: Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Author: Pilar Prieto
Institution: Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonetics; Pragmatics
Subject Language: Catalan-Valencian-Balear
Abstract: There is considerable debate about whether early vocalizations mimic the target language and whether prosody signals emergent intentional communication. A longitudinal corpus of four Catalan-babbling infants was analyzed to investigate whether children use different prosodic patterns to distinguish communicative from investigative vocalizations and to express intentionality. A total of 2,701 vocalizations from 0;7 to 0;11 were coded acoustically (by marking pitch range and duration), gesturally, and pragmatically (by marking communicative status and specific pragmatic function). The results showed that communicative vocalizations were shorter and had a wider pitch range than investigative vocalizations and that these patterns in communicative vocalizations depended on the intention of the vocalizations: requests and expressions of discontent displayed wider pitch range and longer duration than responses or statements. These results support the hypothesis that babbling children can successfully use a set of prosodic patterns to signal intentional speech.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 5, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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