Session L1 Acquisition III:

First Language Acquisition III

Type: oral
Chair: Katrin Schneider
Date: Friday - August 10, 2007
Time: 09:00
Room: 5 (Blue)


Lucie Ménard, Laboratoire de phonétique, Université du Québec à Montréal
Barbara L. Davis, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin
Louis-Jean Boë, Institut de la Communication Parlée
Paper File
  The experiment reported in this paper is aimed at determining the influence of non uniform vocal tract growth on the ability to reach acoustic-perceptual targets in English. An articulatory-to-acoustic model integrating non uniform vocal tract growth has been exploited to synthesize 342 5-formant vowels, covering maximal vowel spaces produced by speakers at 5 growth stages: newborn, 4 years old, 10 years old, 16 years old, and 21 years old (adult stage). 37 American English speakers served as subjects in a perceptual categorization experiment. Results show that the three cardinal vowels /i u a/ can be produced by speakers with a newborn-like vocal tract. It is suggested that articulatory-to-acoustic relationships for a given vowel may differ across growth stages.
L1 Acquisition III-2 Intonational realisation of topic and focus by Dutch-acquiring 4- to 5-year-olds
Aoju Chen, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Paper File
  This study examined how Dutch-acquiring 4- to 5-year-olds use pitch accent types and deaccentuation to mark topic and focus at the sentence level and how they differ from adults. The topic and focus were non-contrastive and realized as full NPs. A picture-matching game was designed to elicit topic-focus structures. It was found that children realise topic and focus similarly frequently with H*L, whereas adults use H*L more frequently in focus than in topic in sentence-initial position and nearly only in focus in sentence-final position. Further, children frequently realise topic with accentuation, whereas adults mostly deaccent sentence-final topic and use H*L and H* to realise sentence-initial topic because of rhythmic motivation. These results show that 4- and 5-year-olds have not acquired H*L as the typical focus accent and deaccentuation as the typical topic intonation.
L1 Acquisition III-3 German 5-year-olds' intonational marking of information status
Laura E. Herbst, MPI for Psycholinguistics
Paper File
  This paper reports on findings from an elicited production task with German 5-year-old children, investigating their use of intonation to mark information status of discourse referents. In line with findings for adults, new referents were preferably marked by H* and L+H*; textually given referents were mainly deaccented. Accessible referents (whose first mentions were less recent) were mostly accented, and predominantly also realised with H* and L+H*, showing children’s sensitivity to recency of mention. No evidence for the consistent use of a special ‘accessibility accent’ H+L* (as has been proposed for adult German) was found.

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