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Phonetic and phonological contrasts in the acquisition of voicing: voice onset time production in Hindi and English*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Katharine Davis
Affiliation:
University of Washington

Abstract

The present study examines adult and child word-initial voice onset time productions in English and Hindi (10 adults and 20 children in each language) to determine the age of acquisition of the phonemic voice contrast. Cross-linguistic differences in patterns of acquisition were found, but these need not be traced to the different phonological Systems per se. An examination of the data indicates that the best predictor of age of voice contrast acquisition across languages is one which rests on the actual acoustic differences between members of phonologically contrastive pairs. In general it was found that the larger the post-release voice onset time differences between pair members in the adult model, the earlier the contrast is reliably produced by child language learners.

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Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995

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Footnotes

[*]

This study was conducted while the author was a doctoral student at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Selected preliminary results were presented at the Twenty-second Annual Child Language Research Forum held at Stanford University in April, 1990 and then published in Papers and Reports on Child Language Development (29, July 1990). Subsequent revisions owe much to Arjun Kapur, my dissertation committee, and anonymous reviewers. Collection of the Hindi data was supported by a grant from the American Institute of Indian Studies. The preparation of this article was supported by NIH grant No. 1 T32 DC00033–01, Research Training in the Speech and Hearing Sciences.

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