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Baby Lab

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Six-month-olds' detection of clauses embedded in continuous speech: Effects of prosodic well-formedness

Three experiments investigated the role of prosodic structure for infants' recognition of embedded word sequences. 120 6-mo-olds were familiarized with 2 versions of the same sequence, 1 corresponding to a well-formed prosodic unit and the other to a prosodically ill-formed sequence (although a successive word series). Next, infants heard 2 test passages. One included the well-formed unit, and the other included the ill-formed sequence. In Exp 1, infants listened longer to the passage containing the well-formed unit, suggesting that such units, even when they are embedded, are better recognized. Exps 2 and 3 showed that this better recognition does not depend on an acoustic match between the familiarized sequences and their later embeddings. This suggests that the advantage of the well-formed unit is at least partially due to infants' use of prosody to parse continuous speech. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)



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