Early Prosodic Development

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Studies of emerging prosody from the word to the phrase, integrating various sources of evidence, are scarce, and our understanding of the pathways of prosodic development is still very limited. An investigation of emerging intonation and prosodic phrasing was undertaken on the basis of production data on intonation and duration patterns from the speech of two European Portuguese children between 1;00 and 2;04. The results show that both the development of intonation and phrasing were found to precede the onset of combinatorial speech, and to coincide in time with critical points in lexical development. Prosodic phrasing evolved in three steps, by the unfolding of key prosodic levels. Implications of these results are discussed in relation to early prosodic development across languages.


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