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Biased generalization of newly learned phonological alternations by 12-month-old infants

White, J; Sundara, M; (2014) Biased generalization of newly learned phonological alternations by 12-month-old infants. Cognition , 133 (1) 85 - 90. 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.05.020. Green open access

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Abstract

Previous work has suggested that learners are sensitive to phonetic similarity when learning phonological patterns (e.g., Steriade, 2001/2008 and White, 2014). We tested 12-month-old infants to see if their willingness to generalize newly learned phonological alternations depended on the phonetic similarity of the sounds involved. Infants were exposed to words in an artificial language whose distributions provided evidence for a phonological alternation between two relatively dissimilar sounds ([p ∼ v] or [t ∼ z]). Sounds at one place of articulation (labials or coronals) alternated whereas sounds at the other place of articulation were contrastive. At test, infants generalized the alternation learned during exposure to pairs of sounds that were more similar ([b ∼ v] or [d ∼ z]). Infants in a control group instead learned an alternation between similar sounds ([b ∼ v] or [d ∼ z]). When tested on dissimilar pairs of sounds ([p ∼ v] or [t ∼ z]), the control group did not generalize their learning to the novel sounds. The results are consistent with a learning bias favoring alternations between similar sounds over alternations between dissimilar sounds.

Type: Article
Title: Biased generalization of newly learned phonological alternations by 12-month-old infants
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2014.05.020
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2014.05.020
Keywords: Phonological alternations; Infant speech perception; Language acquisition; Learning biases; Phonetic similarity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1447055
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