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J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1998 Aug;41(4):874-86.

An electrophysiological study of infants' sensitivity to the sound patterns of English speech.

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Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11550, USA.


The study explores 10- to 11-month-old infants' sensitivity to the phonological characteristics of their native language. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were obtained for tones that were superimposed on two versions of a story: an Unmodified version containing normal English function morphemes, and a Modified version in which the prosodic and segmental properties of a subset of function morphemes were changed to make them atypical. The 11-month-olds exhibited significantly lower amplitude ERPs to the tones during the Modified story than to the Unmodified story, whereas the 10-month-olds showed no differences. These results suggest that the 11-month-olds discriminated the two versions of the story based on their representations of the phonological properties of English. Further, the tone-probe ERP method can successfully be used to study the development of speech perception in the pre-linguistic infant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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