Speech Development Flashcards Preview

Child Language Development > Speech Development > Flashcards

Flashcards in Speech Development Deck (26)
Loading flashcards...

Stark’s stages of speech development

Stage 1
The first 6-8 weeks

Reflexive crying
Vegetative sounds

Stage 2
From 6-8 weeks

Produce proto-phones

Stage 3
From 16 weeks

Vocal play/expansion stage
Production of full vowels
Sounds with vocal tract closed, such as raspberries
Marginal babbling

Stage 4
From 36 weeks

Reduplicated/canonical babbling

Stage 5
From 48 weeks

Non-reduplicated/variegated babbling

  Prosody (rhythm/melody) becomes apparent

At around their first birthday, children start to produce their first words


Reflexive crying

Fixed signals, unintentional


Vegetative sounds

Bodily functions such as burping and coughing

  Passage of air through the vocal apparatus starts and stops



Earliest vowels, produced with vocal tract in relaxed breathing position



Move their vocal tract while they produce smooth voicing

  Tongue comes into contact with the back of the throat


Early Laughter

Quick, sudden bursts in response to external stimuli, no repetition


Marginal babbling

Primitive ill-timed syllables


Reduplicated/canonical babbling

Produce adult-like syllables, in repetitive sequences


Non-reduplicated/variegated babbling

Produce adult-like syllables in non-repetitive sequences


Phonotactic knowledge

Speakers have a sense of how sounds can combine to form words in their native tongue



The larger pattern of rhythm and melody produced when syllables and words are combined

Can be used to emphasize words, indicate a question or command, or indicate attitude (i.e. sarcasm)


Categorical perception

Sounds vary across continuous dimensions and yet they are perceived, not as continuous sound waves but as phones that vary categorically. 

Cannot differentiate between sounds within categories


Two techniques that take advantage of kids’ novelty bias to determine if kids can discriminate between two sounds

High amplitude sucking technique

  Sucking more means greater excitement


Head turn technique

  Parent in headphones holding child on their lap
  Two speakers
  Train the child to look at a change in sound


Do infants perceive sound categorically?

Eimas et al
Used the high amplitude sucking procedure to determine whether infants perceive sounds categorically.

Varied voice onset time
From 20-40 ms, within /b/ /p/ change
From 60-80 ms, perceived as /p/

Children perceive sounds categorically

  Babies have an innate ability to perceive sounds categorically
  Discreteness is an innate feature of human language, so we must be specially designed to acquire language

However, categorical perception is not unique to language (chinchilla’s have it)
Not unique to sound (also shape or color)


How experience affects sound perception

(3 studies)


  38-week-old fetuses had increased heart rate in response to their mother’s voice vs. a stranger

  Suggests that even before birth they were sensitive to the sounds of their language.


  Played recordings of French and of Russian to newborns.
  The newborns sucked more in response to French that to Russian.

Werker and Tees

  6-8 month old English babies could discriminate between consonant contrasts that English does not have, but 10-12 month olds could not

  Children whose native language has those contrasts are still able to distinguish them at 11-12 months

  Suggests that children begin with the ability to perceive a wider range of sounds, but that their speech perception adapts to the sounds that are important in their language and they lose the ability to discriminate.

This emphasizes the importance of both innate abilities and adaptation.

  Humans are adapted specifically for language

  Just because categories are innate doesn’t mean that language is innate
  Humans are meant to learn, but the ability to tell two things apart is not specific to language



Children have innate knowledge of sounds, universal categories, and rules

Children must adapt by suppressing those that are not part of the target language



The child is made by his/her environment

The development of speech production occurs in the following way:

  Infants produce sounds either as part of the exploration of their vocal apparatus or by imitating others.

  If they are rewarded then the will produce it again - through this reward and reinforcement process that children build up competence with their native language.

  Concerned only with describing how children’s behavior is shaped by the environment, not with what they “know” about the language or what is going on in their heads.

  Later in development children will be rewarded either indirectly through successful communicating their needs or directly by their caregivers for successfully developing language.


Constructivism/Cognitive Perspective

Children learn the sounds of their language as part of their larger attempt to understand their environment and take part in social life.

Before the child can create the sounds of the language, they must understand that others have minds and intentions; language develops because they want to use it for a purpose/to communicate

Concerned with how they mentally represent their language

Child is often assumed to be actively building and up knowledge of the sounds of the sounds they hear and attempting to translate them into procedures for producing sounds.

Children must identify the phonetic categories and rules of their native language and learn articulatory procedures to produce them.


Cons of the nativist model

Unfalsifiable because of the distinction between performance and competence



Cons of the behaviorist model

There are cultures that don’t speak to their kids until they are verbal

Parents don’t punish their kids for saying things incorrectly


Cons of the constructivist model

Children start babbling very early, but single phonemes don’t have meaning, so how can meaning be fundamental?


Olmstead behaviorist experiment

Food is a primary reward

When being fed children hear their mother’s voice
They begin to associate her voice with food.

Speech then takes on a “secondary reinforcing power” – it basically becomes a reward in and of itself

They hear their mother’s voice and experience same pleasure as ingesting food

Child will begin to sound like their mother


Are infant vocalizations affected by the language they hear?


Nativism, Behaviorism, Constructivism Explanations

15 second samples of vocal productions from 8 and 10 month olds whose caregivers spoke French, Cantonese and Arabic to adult French native speakers.

These judges were very good at distinguish French exposed kids from Arabic exposed kids at both ages, and able to distinguish French from Cantonese exposed kids at 8 months but not 10.

Follow-up study presented recordings from French and Arabic exposed kids at 6 months.

Only trained phonologists were able to distinguish the difference.

Suggests that infant babbling is affected by the sounds they hear and that the effect of the environment becomes more pronounced with age.

Nativist explanation
  Kids are learning to distinguish phonemes in their own language

Behaviorist explanation
  The environment plays a gradual role

Constructivist explanation
  The child has learned to imitate their parents because they want to communicate with them


Are infant vocalizations affected by the language they hear?


Nativism, Behaviorism, Constructivism Explanations

Little variation between the repertoires of sounds produced in babbling over children acquiring each of 15 languages.

For instance, /h/ is among the sounds most frequently produced by French children even though French contains no /h/ sounds

So aspects of speech development are independent of the environment

Nativist explanation
  Kids already know all the sounds, just need to narrow it down to their language

Behaviorist explanation
  Kids are exploring the sounds they can create, haven’t had behavior reinforcement yet

Constructivist explanation
  Kids are exploring the sounds they can create, when they fail to communicate effectively, they will stop using those sounds


Are infant vocalizations affected by the language they hear?

Oller & Eilers

Nativism, Behaviorism, Constructivism Explanations

Deaf children do not produce canonical babbling in their first year, compared to 10 months for hearing kids

Suggests that hearing language determines whether one sees babbling

Nativist explanation
  Just because they aren’t babbling doesn’t mean they don’t have the innate knowledge

Behaviorist explanation
  Not hearing the sounds, so not producing them
Constructivist explanation

  Sounds are not useful to them to communicate; they have other communication tools


Is children’s developing speech production affected by the social contexts in which it occurs?

3 Studies


Infants increase their vocalizations when there is an adult vocally responding

Infants’ vocalizations were more “speech- like” when the adults’ vocalizations were contingent on the infants’ vocalizations.

Suggests that social context does affect children’s early speech behaviors

Similar pattern with non-verbal adult response (clicks)

Suggests that it is contingency and not the speech itself that is determining how the children behave

Behaviorist: rewards, kids learn through the positive reinforcement

Constructivist: Kids want to communicate, interact, have a purpose

Kuhl & Meltzoff

3 month olds imitate the pitch of adult vocalizations

Papoušek, M. & Papoušek

Analyzed recordings of a number of natural mother infants interactions

At 2 months of age 27% of infant vocalizations were produced as matches (similar in terms of pitch, rhythm or vowel or consonant use) of maternal utterances.

At 5 months of age 43% of infant vocalizations were produced as matches

Constructivist: enjoy interacting with another mind