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Acquisition of variable rules: /s/-lenition in the speech of Chilean Spanish-speaking children and their caregivers

  • Karen Miller (a1)

Abstract

This paper examines the acquisition of the variable rules constraining Spanish syllable-final /s/-lenition in Chilean Spanish–speaking children, and whether adult-to-adult speech differs from child-directed speech in the production of s-lenition. The data of 10 children (ages 2;04–5;09) and their caregivers is presented. Tokens of syllable final /s/ were coded for pronunciation and a variable-rule analysis examining the effect of various linguistic and extralinguistic constraints was carried out. The results show that child and caregiver use of s-lenition is similar to that found in adult-to-adult speech; however, two of the youngest children showed near-categorical behavior. This paper highlights the important role of caregiver input on acquisition of s-lenition and proposes that production of s-lenition in utterance-final position in the input (caregiver's speech) is linked to young children's acquisition of s-lenition; young children exposed to an input with high rates of [s] in utterance-final position acquire s-lenition earlier.

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Acquisition of variable rules: /s/-lenition in the speech of Chilean Spanish-speaking children and their caregivers

  • Karen Miller (a1)

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