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The Ontogeny of early language discrimination: Beyond rhythm

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dc.contributor.author Zacharaki, Konstantina
dc.contributor.author Sebastián Gallés, Núria
dc.date.accessioned 2021-04-14T08:15:55Z
dc.date.issued 2021
dc.identifier.citation Zacharaki K, Sebastian-Galles N. The Ontogeny of early language discrimination: Beyond rhythm. Cognition. 2021;213:104628. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104628
dc.identifier.issn 0010-0277
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10230/47109
dc.description.abstract Infants can discriminate languages that belong to different rhythmic classes at birth. The ability to perform within-class discrimination emerges around the fifth month of life. The cues that infants use to discriminate between prosodically close languages remain elusive. Segmental information could be a potential cue, since infants notice vowel mispronunciations of their names, show the first signs of word recognition and the first signs of perceptual narrowing for vowels around 6 months of age. If infants have in place some proto-segmental information, most likely it is about vowels. Another potential cue infants may use to discriminate languages is intonation. We tested participants using sentences in Eastern Catalan, Western Catalan and Spanish. The two Catalan dialects and Spanish belong to the same rhythmic class, they are syllable-timed, but they differ in terms of vowel distribution, given that only Eastern Catalan has vocalic reduction. The vowel distributions of Western Catalan and Spanish are more comparable. However, they differ in terms of their intonational patterns. In Experiment 1, we tested the ability of 4.5-month-old infants learning Eastern Catalan and/or Spanish to discriminate between sentences in Eastern and Western Catalan and in Experiment 2 their ability to discriminate between sentences in Western Catalan and Spanish. In order to disentangle the contribution of segmental and suprasegmental information, we also tested infants using low-pass filtered sentences in the two dialects (Experiment 3) and low-pass filtered sentences in Western Catalan and Spanish (Experiment 4). Infants discriminated the two Catalan dialects only when the stimuli were natural sentences, whereas they were able to discriminate between Western Catalan and Spanish when the stimuli were either natural or low-pass filtered sentences. The research also provides evidence of equivalent language discrimination abilities in infants growing up in monolingual and bilingual environments.
dc.description.sponsorship This research was supported by grants from the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (PGC2018-101831-B-I00), and the Catalan Government (SGR 2017-268 and FI-9015-456763; ICREA [Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies] Academia 2019 award). Konstantina Zacharaki was supported by a fellowship of the Catalan Government (FI2018). We would like to thank Judit Gervain, the editor of this special issue, for her poignant remarks throughout the review process. We thank Alba Portet and Katia Pistrin, who worked as secondary coders in Experiment 1 and 2 respectively. We thank Koralia Georgiadi who proofread the manuscript. We also thank Xavier Mayoral and Silvia Blanch for their technical support. We thank Maria Cinta Bertomeu Madueño, for her important implication in the project in its initial stages and Alba Ayneto Gimeno, who helped us in the stimuli creation. We also thank the clinics Quirón and Sagrada Familia that enabled us to recruit participants in their premises. We also thank all families and infants who participated in the experiments.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Elsevier
dc.relation.ispartof Cognition. 2021;213:104628
dc.rights © Elsevier http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104628
dc.title The Ontogeny of early language discrimination: Beyond rhythm
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104628
dc.subject.keyword Language discrimination
dc.subject.keyword Vowel distribution
dc.subject.keyword Intonation
dc.subject.keyword Infants
dc.subject.keyword Bilingualism
dc.relation.projectID info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/ES/2PE/PGC2018-101831-B-I00
dc.rights.accessRights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.type.version info:eu-repo/semantics/acceptedVersion

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