Phonotactic and word accent cues for speech segmentation in Swedish one-year-olds

Eeva Koponen

Proceedings of Fonetik 2001, the XIVth Swedish Phonetics Conference, Örenäs, May 30 - June 1, 2001. Working Papers, Department of Linguistics, Lund University 49: 90-93.


Two experiments were designed to examine 12-month-old Swedish-learning infants’ ability to use phonotactic and word accent cues to word boundaries. Twenty-five infants were tested using the so-called Visual Preference Procedure. The stimuli were CVC.CVC (experiment 1) and CVC.CVCCVC nonsense words (experiment 2). The word accent of the stimuli signalled either a single word-like unit or two separate units. Also, the cross-syllabic C.C clusters of the stimuli were either typically occurring within words or across word boundaries. The infants looking times at images of objects, presented along the nonsense words, were measured. Compared with results of similar experiments on English-learning infants, the results of the present study were not clear-cut: the infants did not specifically respond to word boundary cues. Instead, a preference for accent 2 stimuli and stimuli with typical word internal phonotactics was found.

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