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Reading: Phrasal prosody constrains word segmentation in French 16-month-olds

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Research Paper

Phrasal prosody constrains word segmentation in French 16-month-olds

Authors:

Séverine Millotte ,

Laboratoire d’Étude d’Apprentissage et du Dévelopement, CNSR – UMR, 5022, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France, FR
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James Morgan,

Department of Cognitive, and Linguistic Sciences Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA, US
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Sylvie Margules,

Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, CNRS – UMR, 8554/DEC – ENS/EHESS, Paris, France, FR
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Savita Bernal,

Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, CNRS – UMR, 8554/DEC – ENS/EHESS, Paris, France, FR
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Michel Dutat,

Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, CNRS – UMR, 8554/DEC – ENS/EHESS, Paris, France, FR
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Anne Christophe

Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, CNRS – UMR, 8554/DEC – ENS/EHESS, Paris, France, FR
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Abstract

Infants who are in the process of acquiring their mother tongue have to find a way of segmenting the continuous speech stream into word-sized units. We present an experiment showing that French 16-month-olds are able to exploit phonological phrase boundaries in order to constrain lexical access. Using the conditioned head-turning technique, we showed that infants trained to turn their head for a bisyllabic word responded more often to sentences that contained this word, than to sentences that contained both syllables of this word separated by a phonological phrase boundary. We compare these results with similar results obtained with English-speaking infants, and discuss their implication for lexical and syntactic acquisition.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.101
How to Cite: Millotte, S., Morgan, J., Margules, S., Bernal, S., Dutat, M., & Christophe, A. (2011). Phrasal prosody constrains word segmentation in French 16-month-olds. Journal of Portuguese Linguistics, 10(1), 67–86. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jpl.101
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Published on 30 Jun 2011.
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