14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Interaction of Varieties of Stress in Infant-Directed Speech

Heather Bortfeld, James Morgan

Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

If infants use stress to identify word boundaries, how are they able to distinguish the lexical stress unique to their language from the stress used to separate given from new information? In the present studies, we examine how multiple prosodic cues interact in infant-directed speech. Results indicate that, despite respecting certain aspects of the given/new contract typical of adult-directed speech, mothers alter specific aspects of that contract when addressing infants. Our findings highlight the importance of manipulating stress at both the lexical and supralexical levels in studies of first language acquisition, as these combine in infants' daily language input.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bortfeld, Heather / Morgan, James (1999): "Interaction of varieties of stress in infant-directed speech", In ICPhS-14, 1185-1188.