Jenny R. Saffran

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Learners rely on a combination of experience-independent and experience-dependent mechanisms to extract information from the environment. Language acquisition involves both types of mechanisms, but most theorists emphasize the relative importance of experience-independent mechanisms. The present study shows that a fundamental task of language acquisition,(More)
VOL. 9, NO. 4, JULY 1998 Copyright © 1998 American Psychological Society 321 Abstract— A recent report demonstrated that 8-month-olds can segment a continuous stream of speech syllables, containing no acoustic or prosodic cues to word boundaries, into wordlike units after only 2 min of listening experience (Saffran, Aslin, & Newport, 1996). Thus, a powerful(More)
One of the infant’s first tasks in language acquisition is to discover the words embedded in a mostly continuous speech stream. This learning problem might be solved by using distributional cues to word boundaries—for example, by computing the transitional probabilities between sounds in the language input and using the relative strengths of these(More)
Prior research suggests that stress cues are particularly important for English-hearing infants' detection of word boundaries. It is unclear, though, how infants learn to attend to stress as a cue to word segmentation. This series of experiments was designed to explore infants' attention to conflicting cues at different ages. Experiment 1 replicated(More)
Previous research suggests that language learners can detect and use the statistical properties of syllable sequences to discover words in continuous speech (e.g. Aslin, R.N., Saffran, J.R., Newport, E.L., 1998. Computation of conditional probability statistics by 8-month-old infants. Psychological Science 9, 321-324; Saffran, J.R., Aslin, R.N., Newport,(More)
How do infants learn the sound patterns of their native language? By the end of the 1st year, infants have acquired detailed aspects of the phonology and phonotactics of their input language. However, the structure of the learning mechanisms underlying this process is largely unknown. In this study, 9-month-old infants were given the opportunity to induce(More)
One of the first problems confronting infant language learners is word segmentation: discovering the boundaries between words. Prior research suggests that 8-month-old infants can detect the statistical patterns that serve as a cue to word boundaries. However, the representational structure of the output of this learning process is unknown. This research(More)
The present experiments investigated how the process of statistically segmenting words from fluent speech is linked to the process of mapping meanings to words. Seventeen-month-old infants first participated in a statistical word segmentation task, which was immediately followed by an object-label-learning task. Infants presented with labels that were words(More)
Human infants possess powerful learning mechanisms used for the acquisition of language. To what extent are these mechanisms domain specific? One well-known infant language learning mechanism is the ability to detect and generalize rule-like similarity patterns, such as ABA or ABB [Marcus, G. F., Vijayan, S., Rao, S. B., & Vishton, P. M. (1999). Rule(More)
PURPOSE In this study, the authors examined (a) whether children with specific language impairment (SLI) can implicitly compute the probabilities of adjacent sound sequences, (b) if this ability is related to degree of exposure, (c) if it is domain specific or domain general and, (d) if it is related to vocabulary. METHOD Children with SLI and normal(More)