The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 4/26 - Jae Yung Song

This week’s Phonology Circle presentation will be by Jae Yung Song, of Brown University.

Speaker: Jae Yung Song (Brown University)
Title: The development of acoustic cues to coda voicing and place of articulation
Time: Monday 4/26, 5pm
Location: 32-D831

Studies on young children’s speech perception and production suggest that voicing and place of articulation (POA) contrasts may be acquired early in life. However, most of these studies have focused on onset consonants; little is known about the development of cues to feature contrasts in codas. To this end, we investigated children’s representations of coda voicing (voiced vs. voiceless) and POA (alveolar vs. velar) by conducting detailed acoustic analyses of their speech. In particular, we examined longitudinal, spontaneous speech data from 6 American English-speaking mother-child dyads. The results showed that children as young as 1;6 exhibited many adult-like acoustic cues to coda voicing and POA contrasts, such as longer vowels and more voice bars before voiced codas, and more frequent releases, a greater number of bursts, and longer post-release noise duration for alveolar codas. In contrast, some cues, such as glottalization at the end of the vowel, were still not systematically produced by 2;6. In general, younger children used more exaggerated cues compared to mothers, but showed nearly adult-like patterns by 2;6. In conclusion, although 2-year-olds produced some adult-like acoustic cues to voicing and POA distinctions, others take time to become adult-like. Physiological and contextual correlates of these findings are discussed.

Upcoming talks:

  • May 3 Igor Yanovich and Donca Steriade
  • May 10 Donca Steriade
  • May 17 Ari Goldberg (Tufts)

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