Nine-month-olds extract structural principles required for natural language

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Infants' ability to rapidly extract properties of language-like systems during brief laboratory exposures has been taken as evidence about the innate linguistic state of humans. However, previous studies have focused on structural properties that are not central to descriptions of natural language. In the current study, infants were exposed to 3- and 5-syllable words from one of the two artificial languages that employed the same stress assignment constraints found in natural languages. Infants were able to generalize beyond the stress patterns encountered during familiarization to new patterns reflecting the same constraints. The results suggest that infants are able to rapidly extract the types of structural information required for human language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B89-B96
JournalCognition
Volume93
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004

Keywords

  • Infants
  • Learner
  • Metrical phonology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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