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Baby Lab

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A precursor of language acquisition in young infants

Conducted a series of experiments with groups (24-40 Ss) of 4-day-old French and groups (40-46 Ss) of 2-3 mo old American infants to determine whether they could detect the common identity of utterances issuing from the same language. Results show that the Ss could distinguish native language (NL) from those of another language. Neither group gave evidence of distinguishing utterances from 2 foreign languages. A series of control experiments confirmed that the ability to distinguish utterances from 2 different languages depended on familiarity with at least 1 of the 2 languages. Two experiments with low-pass filtered versions of the samples replicated the main findings of discrimination of the NL utterances. The latter results suggest that the basis for classifying utterances from the NL may be provided by prosodic cues. (French abstract) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)



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