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Acquisition of Phonetics

and Phonology

Presenters:
Silvia Becker (LN Hauptstudium)
Alice Mazurek (TN Hauptstudium)
Contents

 Introduction
 Infant Speech Perception
 Production
 Early Speech Production
 Morphology
Introduction

 Phonetics: study of the characteristics


of speech sounds
 Phonology: description of the system
and patterns of speech sounds; mental
aspect of the sounds in a language
 Morphology: study of forms; analyzes
basic elements of language
Infant Speech Perception

 Experimental paradigms for testing


infants
 Categorical perception of infants
 Other speech perception abilities of
infants
 Changes in perception over the course
of the first year of life
General Information on Infant
Speech Perception
 Rich field of study
 Ability of infants to recognize
differences in speakers when relevant
and to ignore it, when not relevant
 Ability to differenciate utterances of the
infant‘s native language from those of
foreign languages
Infant Speech Perception

 Fundamental problem: determining


what constitutes a sound in the target
language
 First step: perceiving destinctions
between sounds and perceiving speech
as phonetic categories
Experimental Paradigms for Testing
Infants
 Four experimental paradigms:
1) Measuring heart rate
2) Measuring sucking rate
3) Visual Fixation Procedure
4) The Head Turn Preference
Procedure
Categorical Perception of Infants

 Young infants perceive consonants


categorically
 Voiced Onset Time (VOT)
- prevoiced
- voiced or voiceless unaspirated
- voiceless (aspirated)
Other Speech Perception Abilities of
Infants
 From birth infants are sensitive to many
phonetic distinctions
 Vowel distinction
Changes in Perception over the
Course of the First Year of Life
• Distinguish contrasts which are non-
phonemic in the target language 
distinguish only phonemic distinctions in
the target language
• Lose their perceptual abilities for non-
native sounds as their babbling begins
to take on characteristics of the input
language
Language and the Mind
Prof. R. Hickey
SS 2006

Acquisition of phonology

Schmidt, Anke Schmidt, Sarah


(Grundstudium LN) (Hauptstudium LN)
Overview
1. Production of sounds
• Babbling
2. Early speech production
• Building a system of contrasts
• Phonological processes
• The importance of the stressed syllable
3. Summary
4. References
Production of sounds Babbling

 sounds constrained by anatomy of vocal


tract
 configured for vegetative requirements:
sucking, breathing, burping, crying
 larynx higher
 shorter pharyngeal cavity
 tongue relatively big
Production of sounds Babbling

 2-4 months:

– begin to coo, laugh


– no speech sounds produced
Production of sounds Babbling

 4-5 months:

– vocal tract reconfigures


– begin to babble
– speech- like sounds
– stimulated by speech of others
– babbling lacks spectral, temporal characteristics
Production of sounds Babbling

 6-7 months:

– “canonical babbling”
– consonant & vowel sounds
– characteristics of “real” cv
– often reduplicated

– e.g. bababa or gaga


Speech production
Building a system of contrasts

 Development of children´s inventories:

1. Minimal consonant inventory

Labial Nonlabial
p t
k
Speech production
Building a system of contrasts

 Development of children´s inventories:

2. Embodiment of additional features

Labial Coronal Dorsal

p t k
Speech production
Building a system of contrasts

 Development of children´s inventories:

3. Voicing becomes a contrastive feature

Labial Coronal Dorsal


Voiceless p t k
Voiced b d g
Speech production
Building a system of contrasts

 Development of children´s inventories:

4. May then incorporate nasality

Labial Coronal Dorsal


p t k
b d g
m n
Speech production
Building a system of contrasts

 Sonorant constraining contrasts:

Sonorant Nonsonorant
m, n, l p, s, d

 relationship between adult´s and child´s pronunciation:

Target sound Child´s sound


p p, s, d
n m, n, l
Speech production
Building a system of contrasts

 Additional contrasts to sonorants

+coronal/- +sonorant/-
+voice/-voice
coronal sonorant
d, t, s, n, l vs. p, d, m, n, l vs. p, m, n, l vs. p, t, d,
m, k s, t, k s, k
Speech production
Building a system of contrasts

  more sound sonorant coronal voice


familiar
phonetic p - - -
feature matrix
t - + -
d - + +
k - - -
m + - +
n, l + + +
s - + -
Speech production
Phonological processes
 Substitution processes

1. Stopping
– fricatives [ f, v, 2, 3, s, z, $, g ] replaced
with stop consonant [ p, b, t, d, k, g ]

– <sea> [ ti:]
– <sing> [ tin ]
Speech production
Phonological processes
 Substitution processes

2. Fronting
– velar [ k, g, n ], palatal sounds [ c ] replaced with
alveolar consonants [ t, d, n, l, s, z ]

– <goose> [ du:s ]
– <goat> [ dut ]
Speech production
Phonological processes
 Substitution processes

3. Gliding
– glide [ w, j ] substituted for liquid sound
[ l, r ]

– <ready> [ wedi ]
– <lap> [ j@p ]
Speech production
Phonological processes

 Substitution processes

4. Vocalization
5. Vowel neutralization
Speech production
Phonological processes
 Assimilatory processes

1. Voicing
– two separate processes:
– consonants tend to be voiced when preceding a
vowel
– devoiced at the end of a syllable

– <paper> [ beibq ]
– <bed> [ bet ]
Speech production
Phonological processes

 Assimilatory processes

2. Consonant harmony
– in C1VC2 contexts, consonants tend to
assimilate to each other
– three frequent patterns
Speech production
Phonological processes
 Assimilatory processes

2. Consonant harmony
i. velar assimilation
– apical consonants tend to assimilate to a
neighbouring velar consonant

– <duck> [ gvk ]
– <tongue> [ gvn ]
Speech production
Phonological processes
 Assimilatory processes

2. Consonant harmony
ii. labial assimilation
– apical consonants tend to assimilate to a
neighbouring labial consonant

– <tub> [ bvb ]
– <steps> [ beps ]
Speech production
Phonological processes
 Assimilatory processes

3. Progressive vowel assimilation


– unstressed vowel assimilates to a
preceding stressed vowel

– <flower> [ /fá:wa ]
– <hammer> [ /ha:ma ]
Speech production
Phonological processes
 Syllable structure processes

– Specific phonological processes

– To simplify syllable structure

– Towards a basic CV syllable


Speech production
Phonological processes
 Syllable structure processes

1. Cluster reduction
– consonant cluster is reduced to single consonant

– <dress> [ des ]
– <clown> [ kaun ]
– German: (to write) <schreiben> [ saibqn ]
Speech production
Phonological processes

 Syllable structure processes

2. Deletion of final consonants


– CVC consonant is reduced to CV

– <bike> [ bai ]
– <more> [ mv ]
Speech production
Phonological processes

 Syllable structure processes

3. Deletion of unstressed syllables


4. Reduplication
Speech production
The importance of the stressed syllable

 children know there are words


 don’t know structure
 problem: speech signal is continuous
 initially no lexicon

 Must apply system for segmenting signal into


words
Speech production
The importance of the stressed syllable

 “metrical segmentation strategy”


 structure characterizes language
– explicit segmentation
 understanding word boundaries
 English template:
– first syllable of content word is stressed
 major role in defining boundaries
Speech production
The importance of the stressed syllable

 bi- syllabic words:

 reduce target to single syllable:


– stressed syllable
 when second syllable stressed:
– preservation of first segment of word, not syllable
 more than stressed syllable is represented in
lexical entries
Speech production
The importance of the stressed syllable

target child’s pronunciation

balloon [bu]
[bun]
[bum]
[bu:n]

guitar [tar]
[ga]
[ga:r]
Speech production
The importance of the stressed syllable

 polysyllabic words

 hypothesis:
 bias for final syllables
– e.g. tri-syllabic
 final rime preserved
 second syllable stressed
Speech production
The importance of the stressed syllable

target child’s pronunciation

remember [memq]
[membq]

another [nv3Q]
[nvdQ]
[nv2Q]
[nv:Q]
Speech production
The importance of the stressed syllable

 first syllable stressed:

 final rime target = final rime child


 stressed syllable target= stressed
syllable child
Speech production
The importance of the stressed syllable

target child’s pronunciation

elephant [/efent]
[/efvnt]
[/e:fint]
[/e:fvnt]

medicine [/mesin]
[/me:sin]
Summary
 Production of sounds
– Babbling: first imitation of consonants and vowels
 Early speech production
– Building a system of contrasts: important to
distinguish between sounds and therefore words, it
shows how the child learns to place sounds into
categories
– Phonological processes: the children undergo
several processes in order to acquire the huge
variety of the language's phonology
– The importance of the stressed syllable: children
use stress to locate word boundaries
References

 Bußmann, Hadumod. 2002. Lexikon der


Sprachwissenschaft. 3rd edition. Stuttgart: Alfred
Kröner Verlag.
 Dretzke, Burkhard (1998). Modern British and
American English Pronunciation. A Basic Textbook.
Paderborn u.a.: Schöningh
 Fletcher, Paul and Michael Garman (eds) (1989)
Language acquisition. Studies in first language
development. 2nd edition. (Cambridge: University
Press).
 A. Fromkin et al. (2000). Linguistics. An Introduction
to Linguistic Theory. Massachussets: Oxford
University Press.
Thank you for your attention!
The Acquisition of English
Morphology

Martina Kleinebreil (TN) Grundstudium


Adam von Wald (TN) Grundstudium
Definition:

Morphology is concerned with the study


of word forms or the internal structure of
words and the process of word
formation.
A morpheme is the smallest unit which
carries meaning.

e.g. talk  talk-ing  talk-s  talk-ed


Morphemes can be divided into free and
bound morphemes.

- Free morphemes
(nouns, verbs, ...)
can stand on their own.

- Bound morphemes cannot stand on their


own.
All affixes in English are bound morphemes:

prefixes are added to the beginning of the


stem: re-build

suffixes are added to the end of a stem: build-


er
Bound morphemes can be further divided
into:

inflectional morphemes
and
derivational morphemes
Inflectional morphemes show the grammatical
function of a word, e.g. whether a word is
singular or plural, past tense, ...
Derivational morphemes are used to build
new words.
So derivational morphemes are prefixes and
suffixes.

(re-, ex-, -less, -ly)


Learning Morphological Rules

The Linguistic Rule:


“Since normal language use is at least to some extent
‘motivated‘, ‘free‘ or ‘creative‘, it is obvious that
language acqusition must not be limited to the mere
imitation or rote learning of forms and their
associated meanings, but must also involve the
extraction or abstraction of a certain quantity of
general pricipals or rules.“ (Baker and Derwing)
Learning Morphological Rules

Some rule learning takes place in language


acqusition, but how do we exploit or test this
process?
“A regular anthology [i.e. rule] permits a speaker
to utter speech-forms which he has not heard...“
(Bloomfield)
Observation through testing, e.g. Testing
morphological rule knowledge and progression
with new words (for the speaker)
The Berko study
(1958)
-test for rule knowledge with pre-school and
first grade children

- use of nonsense stems


Result:

- some kind of morphological rule learning


takes place

- quite a number of mophological rules have


been acquired by the age of 5 years or even
earlier
Problems:

- The study was too restricted in conception


and scope

two key questions are left:


-What particular rules might have been
learned?

- How does such rule-knowledge develop over


time?
Progression of Development
Innes (1974)
Better sample – 120 boys and girls 2-8 years old
Remarkable agreement with Berko, plus a new developmental aspect
Progress order –
1. No knowledge of a pluralization rule
2. Mastery of all but the fricative stems
3. Mastery of all but the sibilant fricative stems {s, z, etc.}
4. Mastery of all but the {z} stems
5. Mastery of all the stems
Progession of Development
Drewing - Baker (1976)
Derivational progress:
Construction Preschool Early Middle Late Adult

Agent 7 63 80 86 96

Instrument 7 35 45 64 59

Adjective 0 30 55 86 100

Adverb 0 13 20 79 81
Progression of Development

There are many morphological rules

So....

There must be many different tests

Progress is slow in this field


Sources:
 Bußmann, Hadumod. 2002. Lexikon der
Sprachwissenschaft. 3rd edition. Stuttgart: Alfred
Kröner Verlag.
 Dretzke, Burkhard (1998). Modern British and
American English Pronunciation. A Basic Textbook.
Paderborn u.a.: Schöningh
 Fletcher, Paul and Michael Garman (eds) (1989)
Language acquisition. Studies in first language
development. 2nd edition. (Cambridge: University
Press).
 A. Fromkin et al. (2000). Linguistics. An Introduction
to Linguistic Theory. Massachussets: Oxford
University Press.