15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Experimental Evidence for an Effect of Vocal Experience on Infant Speech Perception

Marilyn M. Vihman, Satsuki Nakai

University of Wales, UK

We tested for an articulatory effect on perception by bimonthly recordings of monolingual English and Welsh children, from age 10.5 to 12 months. The infants were tested at 12.5 months on closely matching lists of nonword stimuli constructed to highlight one of two consonants of comparable input incidence (English /t/ vs. /s/; Welsh /b/ vs. /g/). Listening times were in inverse correlation with the children's relative frequency of use of the pair of consonants (p<.05), a novelty effect. The findings demonstrate an effect of motoric practice on infant speech perception. We speculate that production may support the establishment of more robust lexical and phonological representations.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Vihman, Marilyn M. / Nakai, Satsuki (2003): "Experimental evidence for an effect of vocal experience on infant speech perception", In ICPhS-15, 1017-1020.