A precursor of language acquisition in young infants

  title={A precursor of language acquisition in young infants},
  author={Jacques Mehler and Peter W. Jusczyk and G. Lambertz and Nilofar Halsted and Josiane Bertoncini and Claudine Amiel‐Tison},


There is increasing evidence that infants can discriminate native and non-native speech from an early age. Prosody may be essential to this ability. In this paper, we assess the amount of linguistic

Faster Orientation Latencies Toward Native Language in Two-Month-Old Infants

There is increasing evidence that infants can discriminate native and non-native speech from an early age. Prosody may be essential to this ability. In this paper, we assess the amount of linguistic

Infant learning of words in a typologically distant nonnative language

It is shown that French-learning infants aged 1;8 can learn new words in an unfamiliar language, Cantonese, after just 6 repetitions of each word, showing that word learning in a nonnative language remains possible during the second year of life even in aNonnative language that is typologically distinct from the native language.

The Acquisition of Prosody: Evidence from French- and English-learning Infants*

The reduplicative babbling of five French- and five English-learning infants, recorded when the infants were between the ages of 7;3 months and 11;1 months on average, was examined for evidence of

The development of phonetic representation in bilingual and monolingual infants

The development of native language phonetic representations in bilingual infants was compared to that of monolingual infants. Infants (ages 6–8, 10–12, and 14–20 months) from English–French or

Pattern induction by infant language learners.

9-month-old infants were given the opportunity to induce specific phonological patterns in 3 experiments in which syllable structure, consonant voicing position, and segmental position were manipulated and revealed that infants rapidly extracted new phonological regularities.

The role of prosody in infants' native-language discrimination abilities: the case of two phonologically close languages

Results indicate that infants are able to discriminate even when segmental information has been removed, and the distinction seems to be the result of basic differential rhythmic properties between these two languages.

How Infants Adapt Speech-Processing Capacities to Native-Language Structure

As infants learn the sound organization of their native language, they use this developing knowledge to make their first attempts to extract the underlying structure of utterances. Although these

The language recognition ability of four-month-old infants in English and Japanese spoken by a bilingual and Japanese monolingual woman

This study investigates whether four-month-old Japanese infants are able to distinguish English from Japanese spoken by a bilingual woman (level 9.5) (Experiment 1), and then, spoken by a Japanese



An investigation of young infants' perceptual representations of speech sounds.

Evidence of developmental changes in speech processing were noted for the first time with infants in this age range, and there was a tendency from global toward more specific representations on the part of the older infants.

Language perception of 2-month-old infants shows effects of both innate mechanisms and experience

This work has shown that voicing distinctions for stops in word-initial postion can usually be characterised by differences in voice onset time (VOT), where VOT is defined as the time between the stop release burst and the onset of vocal cord vibration (Voicing).

Auditory and linguistic processing of cues for place of articulation by infants

Two- and 3-month-old infants were found to discriminate the acoustic cues for the phonetic feature of place of articulation in a categorical manner; that is, evidence for the discriminability of two

Contextual effects in infant speech perception.

Infants, aged 2 to 4 months, discriminated synthetic speech patterns that varied in duration of the formant transitions; this variation provides information sufficient to signal the phonetic

Speech Perception in Infants

Recovery from habituation was greater for a given acoustic difference when the two stimuli were from different adult phonemic categories than when they were from the same category.

Discrimination of voice onset time by human infants: new findings and implications for the effects of early experience.

Infants from an English-speaking environment provided reliable within-subject evidence for discrimination of VOT contrasts located at both the plus and minus regions of the VOT continuum.

From Simple Input to Complex Grammar

The book shows that, assuming information about phrasal structure to be available in input, one can prove that the child can learn a natural language from extremely simple sentences, sentences of the type that children actually hear.