Consonant specification in infant-directed speech. Some preliminary results from a study of Voice Onset Time in speech to one-year-olds  

Ulla Sundberg

Proceedings of Fonetik 2001, the XIVth Swedish Phonetics Conference, Örenäs, May 30 - June 1, 2001. Working Papers, Department of Linguistics, Lund University 49: 148-151.


Voice Onset Time in voiceless and voiced stops in Swedish infant-directed speech (IDS) to 3-month-olds are significantly shorter than in adult-directed speech (ADS). It is hypothesized that such consonant under-specifications to young infants are changed to be over-specifications in IDS to 11-14 months old infants, according to a model of how segmental and suprasegmental phonetic aspects are changed as a function of the addressed infant's age. The reason for this change may be due to the mothers' intuitive accommodations of their communicative intentions related to their infants' development. Preliminary results confirm the hypothesis of over-specified VOT values in IDS to one-year-olds as compared to ADS.

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