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Ling 240: Language and Mind. Acquisition of Phonology. English. [p]. [b]. [p h ]. Hindi. [p]. [b]. [p h ]. English Japanese. [l]. [l]. [r]. [r]. Voice onset time. VOT = the time between the release of a stop and the voicing of a following vowel. Voice Onset Time (VOT).

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ling 240 language and mind

Ling 240: Language and Mind

Acquisition of Phonology

english
English

[p]

[b]

[ph]

hindi
Hindi

[p]

[b]

[ph]

english japanese
English Japanese

[l]

[l]

[r]

[r]

voice onset time
Voice onset time

VOT = the time between the release of a stop and the voicing of a following vowel

discrimination
Discrimination

D

0ms

20ms

D

D

20ms

40ms

T

T

40ms

60ms

T

categorization of speech sounds
Categorization of speech sounds
  • We group sounds into categories, despite physical variability
  • Some physical differences are mentally represented as “not different”; others as “different”
  • Is categorical perception innate?
  • How are mental categories acquired?
slide9

High Amplitude Sucking Procedure

  • Initially sucking rate increases (novelty)
  • Then decreases
  • Decline in response =habituation

LSCP Infant Lab

slide10

High Amplitude Sucking Procedure

When sucking rate declines to a set point(habituation criterion),

auditory stimulus is changed

LSCP Infant Lab

slide11

High Amplitude Sucking Procedure

  • If sucking rate increases,
  • then we know the infant has detected the change
  • The renewed response =dishabituation

LSCP Infant Lab

slide12

Newborns are universal listeners

  • Infants perceive speech categorically
  • Newborns are sensitive to almost every phonological distinction yet tested
slide13

Newborns are universal listeners

  • In contrast, adults have difficulty discriminating speech sounds that are not contrastive in their native language
hindi contrasts
Hindi contrasts
  • [dããt] tooth
  • [DããT] scold, be angry with
  • [taal] ‘musical note’
  • [Taal] ‘to ignore’
slide15

Newborns are universal listeners

  • English infants can distinguish Hindi /d/ and /D/
  • Japanese infants can distinguish between /l/ and /r/
studies by werker et al
Studies by Werker et al

Infants are universal listeners but adults can’t discriminate non-native phonemic contrasts

Then there must be a decline across age

Questions:

what is the role of experience?

when exactly does this decline happen?

is this decline a critical period effect?

slide17

Testing Across the Lifespan

  • young infants
  • older infants
  • children and adults

Habituation (High Amplitude Sucking)

Conditioned Head Turn Paradigm

Just ask them: “Same or different?”

slide18

Visual Reinforcer (VR)

Toy that lights up and moves at the experimenter’s command

Controls for sound stimuli and the VR

slide19

Conditioned Head Turn

  • Child hears Stimulus 1 (/ba/) repeatedly
  • Then Stimulus 2 is presented (/da/)
  • If child detects difference, he should turn to look at the visual reinforcer when the stimulus changes
  • If child does not detect it, he shouldn’t turn
slide20

Conditioned Head Turn Paradigm

Kuhl Lab, U Washington, 1992

slide21

Werker 1995

Subjects:Hindi adults

English Adults

English 6-8 month-olds

Testing /ba/ vs. /da/

/Ta/ vs. /ta/

/tha/ vs. /dha/

slide22

Werker 1995

/ba/ vs. /da/ Hindi and English

/Ta/ vs. /ta/ Only Hindi

/tha/ vs. /dha/ Only Hindi

slide23

Results

Werker, 1995

questions
Questions

When does decline in performance take place?

What exactly is responsible for the decline?

Does Critical Period play a role?

general methodology question
General Methodology question

We observe that infants behave one way and adults behave another way.

Goal: We want to know what changes at what point in time.

What are some ways of obtaining this data?

slide26

Werker & Tees 1984

  • Test infants of different ages (Cross-sectional)
  • Test the same group of infants at different points in time (Longitudinal)
    • 6-8 months
    • 8-10 months
    • 10-12 month
werker tees 1984 nthlakampx
Werker & Tees 1984: Nthlakampx

Native American language spoken by about 200 speakers (in 1984) in British Columbia—also known as Thompson or Salish

Nthlakampx glottalized velar vs glottalized uvular ejectives

[‘ki] vs [‘qi]

Velar ‘k..

Uvular ‘q…

slide28

Results

Werker & Tees, 1984

slide29

Werker studies: Conclusion

Ability to perceive non-native contrasts declines in 1st year

Werker and Tees 1984

slide30

What is responsible for the change?

How do babies become adults?

first proposal maintenance loss hypothesis
First proposal: Maintenance/Loss Hypothesis

role of experience is to maintain perceptual sensitivities

lack of exposure leads to loss of perceptual ability

slide32

Maintenance/Loss Model

Ability

Experience

No experience

1 year

Time

problems for the maintenance loss hypothesis
Problems for the Maintenance/Loss Hypothesis

Prediction?

Decline in sensitivity following lack of exposure should be

permanent and absolute

problems for the maintenance loss hypothesis34
Problems for the Maintenance/Loss Hypothesis

Predictions are not borne out: (1)

Adults CAN perceive non-native contrasts

in (perceived) non-speech tasks

Zulu clicks

The link to listen to Zulu clicks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gytCi5a7AJg

sounds in isolation (not syllables)

problems for the maintenance loss hypothesis35
Problems for the Maintenance/Loss Hypothesis

Predictions are not borne out: (2)

Children older than 12 months can move to a new country and acquire native phonology

alternative hypothesis functional reorganization
Alternative Hypothesis: Functional Reorganization

no absolute hardware changes in auditory system

development of a linguistic system that imports a subset of the contrasts from the auditory system

conclusions
Conclusions

So, what changes during the first year?

Answer: the baby starts to acquire a linguistic system

As babies acquire a linguistic system (words) in their first year, they “learn” which distinctions need to be represented in that system