Title

Speech identification in Spanish- and English-learning 2-year-olds

Abstract

English- and Spanish-learning 2-year-olds were tested for speech skills in a real speech context. Each child was tested in his/her native language on one native and one nonnative contrast. The nonnative contrast consisted of a real native word paired with a nonsense word containing a nonnative element. The native contrast consisted of a native word paired with a nonsense word containing a minimally paired native element. The results showed that both groups of children found identification of native contrasts much easier than identification of nonnative contrasts. The results suggest that by age 2, normal children may have achieved an awareness of their native phonology, an awareness that encourages them to ignore certain distinctions that are not part of their language's contrastive meaning system.

Publication Title

Journal of Speech and Hearing Research

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