Phonological and Prosodic Bootstrapping

Marieke van Heugten, Isabelle Dautriche & Anne Christophe

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Phonological and Prosodic Bootstrapping

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  • Around their first birthday, most infants start producing words. However, it is typically not until children have acquired some 50 words in their productive vocabulary that they start combining words into utterances. Early theories of syntactic development—based primarily on corpus work—were consequently developed to account for children's early (syntactically deprived) utterances. By contrast, more recent work has started to focus on children's comprehension of grammatical structures at ages that precede productive evidence of syntactic development. Such work has suggested that, within their first two to three years of life, infants gain sensitivity to many aspects of the syntactic structure of their native language. This sensitivity is thus in place even before children have acquired a rich vocabulary that may help them tune into the complexities ...

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