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We recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) in 2-month-old infants in two different states of alertness: awake and asleep. Syllables varying in vowel duration (long vs short) were presented in an oddball paradigm, known to elicit a mismatch brain response. ERPs of both groups showed a mismatch response reflected in a positivity followed by a frontal(More)
During their first year of life, infants not only acquire probabilistic knowledge about the phonetic, prosodic, and phonotactic organization of their native language, but also begin to establish first lexical-semantic representations. The present study investigated the sensitivity to phonotactic regularities and its impact on semantic processing in(More)
To understand mechanisms of early language acquisition, it is important to know whether the child's brain acts in an adult-like manner when processing words in meaningful contexts. The N400, a negative component in the eventrelated potential (ERP) of adults, is a sensitive index of semantic processing reflecting neural mechanisms of semantic integration(More)
Language is the most important faculty that distinguishes humans from other animals. Infants learn their native language fast and effortlessly during the first years of life, as a function of the linguistic input in their environment. Behavioral studies reported the discrimination of melodic contours [1] and stress patterns [2, 3] in 1-4-month-olds.(More)
Event-related brain potential (ERP) studies of sentence processing in adults have shown that phrase-structure violations are associated with two ERP components: an early left anterior negativity (ELAN) and a late, centro-parietal positivity (P600). Although the ELAN reflects highly automatic first-pass sentence parsing, the P600 has been interpreted to(More)
Language acquisition crucially depends on the ability of the child to segment the incoming speech stream. Behavioral evidence supports the hypothesis that infants are sensitive to the rhythmic properties of the language input. We recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) to varying stress patterns of two syllable items in adults as well as in 4- and(More)
Beyond its multiple functions in language comprehension and emotional shaping, prosodic cues play a pivotal role for the infant's amazingly rapid acquisition of language. However, cortical correlates of prosodic processing are largely controversial, even in adults, and functional imaging data in children are sparse. We here use an approach which allows to(More)
The early acquisition of native language prosody is assumed to ease infants' language development. In a longitudinal setting we investigated whether the early processing of native and non-native language word stress patterns is associated with children's subsequent language skills. ERP data of 71 four- and five-month-old infants were retrospectively grouped(More)
Between 12 and 14 months infants switch from slow to fast word learning mode. The neural processes involved in this development are largely unknown. This study explored the brain activity related to the fast learning of object-word mappings in 14-month-old infants. After four repetitions of eight object-word pairs, two priming effects known from earlier(More)
The present study used the N400, an electrophysiological correlate of semantic processing, to investigate 19- and 24-month-old children's ability to integrate the meaning of words in a sentential context. Children listened passively to semantically appropriate sentences and to sentences in which the object noun violates the selection restriction of the(More)