The periodicity bias
SourceJournal of Phonetics, 21, 1-2, (1993), pp. 103-108
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
Journal of Phonetics
The evidence presented in the targ t articles suggests that infants' phonetic development is driven by the acquisition of words as holistic units; and that segmental representation, previously considered to become language-specific only late in the first year of life, actually arise throughout this first year, with language-specific representations of vowels arising earlier than of consonants. We propose that these circumstances are unified by a bias towards attention to periodic sounds, present at birth. This equips the child to exploit linguistic rhythm to achieve initial segmentation of continuous speech signals to extract word units; the use of linguistic rhythm for segmentation is still present in adult processing. It also has the effect of making vowels achieve effective prototypical representations earlier than consonants.
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