Learning vowel categories from maternal speech in Gurindji Kriol

Jones, Caroline, Meakins, Felicity and Muawiyath, Shujau (2012) Learning vowel categories from maternal speech in Gurindji Kriol. Language Learning, 62 4: 1052-1078. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9922.2012.00725.x

Author Jones, Caroline
Meakins, Felicity
Muawiyath, Shujau
Title Learning vowel categories from maternal speech in Gurindji Kriol
Journal name Language Learning   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0023-8333
Publication date 2012-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2012.00725.x
Volume 62
Issue 4
Start page 1052
End page 1078
Total pages 27
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Distributional learning is a proposal for how infants might learn early speech sound categories from acoustic input before they know many words. When categories in the input differ greatly in relative frequency and overlap in acoustic space, research in bilingual development suggests that this affects the course of development. In the present study we describe the nature and extent of vowel variation in nearly 900 vowel tokens in maternal speech in Gurindji Kriol, a mixed language of northern Australia, which, like bilingual input, has differences in the relative frequency of adjacent, overlapping vowel categories. In Analysis 1, we provide the first systematic account of vowel variation and phone frequency in maternal speech in Gurindji Kriol. In Analysis 2, cluster analysis was applied to the vowel formant and duration data, to see what categories might emerge from acoustic data alone. The results suggest that, were infants to base their initial vowel categories solely on the clusters emerging in acoustic space, they might likely set up relatively few vowel categories. We discuss implications for how infants may learn Gurindji Kriol and for distributional learning.
Keyword Infant-directed speech
Distributional learning
Gurindji Kriol
Mixed languages
Vowel category learning
Frequency effects
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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