Final lengthening in infant directed speech may function as a cue to phrase constituents  

Eeva Koponen & Francisco Lacerda

In the Proceedings of Fonetik 2003, the XVI Swedish Phonetics Conference, Lövånger, June 2-4, 2003. Phonum 9: 9-12.

ABSTRACT

The aim of the current study was to investigate whether lengthening of word and phrase final vowels in infant directed speech (IDS) occurs to the same degree as lengthening of word and phrase final vowels in adult directed speech (ADS). The stimuli consisted of vowels embedded in a two-syllable nonsense word that were varied systematically with respect to phrase position and focal accent. At phrase level, the results showed that FL in accented words in IDS was significantly greater as compared to ADS. Earlier studies have shown that young children are sensitive to pauses as markers to phrase constituents. In line with these experiments, the perceptual importance of FL in IDS is discussed.

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