Prosodic patterns in Hebrew child-directed speech

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Abstract

The study examines prosodic characteristics of Hebrew speech directed to children between 0 ; 93 ; 0 years, based on longitudinal samples of 228,946 tokens (8,075 types). The distribution of prosodic patterns the number of syllables and stress patterns is analyzed across three lexical categories, distinguishing not only between open- and closed-class items, but also between these two categories and a third, innovative, class, referred to as between-class items. Results indicate that Hebrew CDS consists mainly of mono- and bisyllabic words, with differences between lexical categories; and that the most common stress pattern is word-final, with parallel distributions found for all categories. Additional analyses showed that verbs take word-final stress, but nouns are both trochaic and iambic. Finally, a developmental analysis indicates a significant increase in the number of iambic words in CDS. These findings have clear implications regarding the use of prosody for word segmentation and assignment of lexical class in infancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-656
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2009

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