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From babbling towards the sound systems of English and French: A longitudinal two-case study
Abstract and Figures
The utterances of one French and one American infant at 0;5, 0;8, 0;11, and 1;2 were transcribed and acoustically analysed for syllable duration and vowel formant values. Both general and language-specific effects emerged in the longitudinal study. Initial similarities in the consonantal repertoires of both infants, increasing control in producing target F1 and F2 values, and developmental changes in babbling characteristics over time seem to reflect universal patterns. Yet the babbling of the infants differed in ways that appear to be due to differences in their language environments. Shifts in the infants' sound repertoires reflected phoneme frequencies in the adult languages. The English-learning infant produced more closed syllables, which is characteristic of English, than the French-learning infant. The French-learning infant tended to produce more regularly-timed nonfinal syllables and showed significantly more final-syllable lengthening (both characteristic of French) than the English-learning infant.
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