Similarity of babbling in Spanish- and English-learning babies


Infants from a variety of linguistic backgrounds have been reported to babble similarly. The present study considers this possibility in detail, offering a concrete characterization of how babbling of Spanish- and English-learning babies is similar. Babbling of a group of Spanish- and another of English-learning infants (12 months of age) was recorded and transcribed by two experimenters, one a primarily Spanish speaker and one a primarily English speaker. Results show that in spite of gross phonetic differences between the adult phonologies of Spanish and English, babies from both groups produce predominantly CV syllables with voiceless, unaspirated plosive consonants. Vowel production is also perceived as notably alike. In the light of such similarities, possible differences in babbling of the two groups may be hard for even sophisticated listeners to notice. © 1982, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of Child Language