Rythme des langues et acquisition du langage

Abstract : Within the phonological bootstrapping framework, we have investigated the hypothesis that from birth, infants are sensitive to speech rhythm, and that this sensitivity is one of the very first steps of language acquisition. We made acoustic-phonetic measurements in eight
languages, showing that a consonant/vowel segmentation of speech can allow determining certain rhythmic properties of languages. This led us to a computational model of rhythm perception, and to simulations predicting which languages can be distinguished on the basis of their rhythmic properties. In order to test these predictions, we
ran a series of language discrimination experiments on adult subjects, which showed consistency between the model and the empirical data. To ensure that subjects could not use any other cue than rhythm, we designed a technique based on speech resynthesis allowing to de-
grade stimuli and preserve their rhythmic properties exclusively. This technique allowed us to show that newborns can discriminate between Dutch and Japanese utterances, on the sole basis of their rhythmic differences. Finally, we questioned the speech-specifity of this sensitivity to rhythm, by running pilot experiments showing language discrimination by monkeys. We conclude that newborn infants have a capacity to process speech rhythm, and we hypothesize that this capacity may help them learning the syllable structure of their native
language.
Document type :
Theses
Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC]. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), 1999. French


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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 2:06:56 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 2:15:34 PM

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Franck Ramus. Rythme des langues et acquisition du langage. Neurons and Cognition [q-bio.NC]. Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), 1999. French. <tel-00242452>

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