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32. First Language Acquisition of Spanish Sounds and Prosody


Subject Linguistics » Psycholinguistics

Key-Topics child language, speech

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00034.x


Utterances produced by children acquiring their first language (L1) are nontarget-like. From a phonetic perspective child utterances are simplifications or reductions of the adult ones. What is the reason for such simplifications? This question underlies most of research on early phonology, and has given way to various theoretical models, some of them favoring explanations based on lack of motor control, others based on an immature perception, while still others favor more abstract explanations related to incomplete phonological representations. Around this central question of the field there are further questions, like: (a) what are the basic units of acquisition: words, syllables, segments, or features? In other words, what is the nature of child phonological representations?; (b) is the chronological order of acquisition the same in all languages?; (c) what is the weight of input frequency and of innate knowledge in relation to the outcome of the acquisition of sounds? Or put in another way: do children learn by imitation or because they are preprogrammed to learn language?; (d) is the process of acquisition continuous or discontinuous?; (e) does grammar emerge given certain conditions or is grammar on place from the beginning? These and related questions have led research in the field of L1 phonetic acquisition for the last four decades. They have not yet been answered in a ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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