The late babbling productions of a French child are analysed and compared with a similar study of English-speaking children. English-speaking and French children are shown to share such universal phonetic preferences as cluster reduction, final devoicing, etc. However, there are also noticeable differences which may be ascribed to corresponding differences in the target language. Thus a selective, language-specific, phonetic acquisition has been taking place during the babbling stage. A comparison of the phonetic repertoires of French, English, Thai and the late babbling corpus confirmed the close similarity between the latter and French. This study reinforces the view that babbling is relevant to the study of linguistic performance.