Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Child Lang. 2019 Jul 16:1-14. doi: 10.1017/S0305000919000291. [Epub ahead of print]

The ecology of prelinguistic vocal learning: parents simplify the structure of their speech in response to babbling.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology,Cornell University,USA.

Abstract

What is the function of babbling in language learning? We examined the structure of parental speech as a function of contingency on infants' non-cry prelinguistic vocalizations. We analyzed several acoustic and linguistic measures of caregivers' speech. Contingent speech was less lexically diverse and shorter in utterance length than non-contingent speech. We also found that the lexical diversity of contingent parental speech only predicted infant vocal maturity. These findings illustrate a new form of influence infants have over their ambient language in everyday learning environments. By vocalizing, infants catalyze the production of simplified, more easily learnable language from caregivers.

KEYWORDS:

infant-directed speech; language input; language statistics; parent–child interaction; vocal learning

PMID:
31307565
DOI:
10.1017/S0305000919000291

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Cambridge University Press
Loading ...
Support Center