Frequency and form as determinants of functor sensitivity in English-acquiring infants
Shi, R., Cutler, A., Werker, J., & Cruickshank, M.
Frequency and form as determinants of functor sensitivity in English-acquiring infants. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 119
(6), EL61-EL67. doi:10.1121/1.2198947.
High-frequency functors are arguably among the earliest perceived word forms and may assist extraction of initial vocabulary items. Canadian
11- and 8-month-olds were familiarized to pseudo-nouns following
either a high-frequency functor the or a low-frequency functor her versus
phonetically similar mispronunciations of each, kuh and ler, and then tested
for recognition of the pseudo-nouns. A preceding the (but not kuh, her, ler)facilitated extraction of the pseudo-nouns for 11-month-olds; the is thus
well-specified in form for these infants. However, both the and kuh (but not
her-ler )f aciliated segmentation or 8-month-olds, suggesting an initial underspecified
representation of high-frequency functors.