The perceptual foundations of phonological development

Suzanne Curtin and Janet F. Werker

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568971
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
The perceptual foundations of phonological development

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience



Phonological development involves learning the organisation of the individual sound units, the syllable structure, the rhythm, and the phonotactics of the native language, and utilising these in both productive and receptive language. The initial work in phonological development focused exclusively on production, with detailed description of the onset of babbling and first words. This article examines how infant speech perception provides a foundation for acquiring the phonological system, and how production data and perception studies together can provide a more complete picture of the course of phonological development. The discussion begins with a review of key empirical findings that show how speech perception provides the foundation for phonological development. It then looks at language-general speech perception capabilities as evident in infants from birth through the first few months of life. The discussion also considers the ways in which the ambient language modifies infant speech perception; phonological and phonetic factors in word segmentation and word form recognition; the role of phonology in early lexical comprehension; and theories and models of phonological development.

Keywords: phonological development; infants; speech perception; phonology; lexical comprehension; phonetic factors; language; word forms; word segmentation; word form recognition

Article.  14934 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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