Sonority and early words:the Sonority Syllable Model applied to an acquisitional project with Danish children

Kjærbæk, Laila and Boeg Thomsen, Ditte and Lambertsen, Claus and Basbøll, Hans (2015) Sonority and early words:the Sonority Syllable Model applied to an acquisitional project with Danish children. Italian Journal of Linguistics, 27 (1). pp. 61-84. ISSN 0390-6809

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Syllables play an important role in children’s early language acquisition, and children appear to rely on clear syllabic structures as a key to word acquisition (Vihman 1996, Oller 2000). However, not all languages present children with equally clear cues to syllabic structure, and since the specific L1 is known to influence the acquisition rate, it is worth investigating how sonority characteristics in children’s linguistic input influence their lexical acquisition. Danish is characterized by having a monotonous sonority envelope compared to other Scandinavian languages. Danish language acquisition therefore presents us with the opportunity to examine how children respond to the task of word learning when the input language offers less clear cues to syllabic structure than usually seen. To investigate the sound structure in Danish children’s lexical development, we need a model of syllable structure; and as the theoretical basis for our analyses related to sonority we present Basbøll’s Sonority Syllable Model for phonotactics, which is based upon a non-circular version of a sonority hierarchy. We investigate spontaneous child language output in a longitudinal corpus with two children aged 9-29 months. For the two children, the phonetic structure of the first ten words to occur is compared with that of the last ten words to occur before 30 months of age, and with that of ten words in between. Measures related to the sonority envelope, viz. sonority types and in particular sonority rises, are applied to this data

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Journal Article
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Italian Journal of Linguistics
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16 Mar 2017 04:50
Last Modified:
11 Sep 2023 18:42