Final Syllable Lengthening (FSL) in infant vocalizations


Final Syllable Lengthening (FSL) has been extensively examined in infant vocalizations in order to determine whether its basis is biological or learned. Findings suggest there may be a U-shaped developmental trajectory for FSL. The present study sought to verify this pattern and to determine whether vocal maturity and deafness influence FSL. Eight normally hearing infants, aged 0;3 to 1;0, and eight deaf infants, aged 0;8 to 4;0, were examined at three levels of prelinguistic vocal development: precanonical, canonical, and postcanonical. FSL was found at all three levels suggesting a biological basis for this phenomenon. Individual variability was, however, considerable. Reduction in the magnitude of FSL across the three sessions provided some support for a downward trend for FSL in infancy. Findings further indicated that auditory deprivation can significantly affect temporal aspects of infant speech production.

Publication Title

Journal of Child Language