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Coping with linguistic diversity: The infant's viewpoint

(from the book) address the question of how infants discover the rhythmic unit appropriate for their language / review evidence showing that very young infants can discriminate stimuli varying in numbers of vowels and can discriminate languages differing in rhythmic structure, even when speech in those languages has been low-pass filtered / because the information retained in low-pass filtered speech is concentrated in vocalic segments, [the authors] argue that vowels are highly salient for infants / propose a model in which representation of the timing and intensity of vowels in utterances allows infants to classify languages into one of a small number of possible rhythmic classes (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)