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Functional asymmetry between consonants and vowels from birth to 6 months of age: Cerebral imaging and behavioral data.

Abstract : Speech is composed of two categories of sound, i.e. consonants and vowels, which have different properties and serve different linguistic functions. This consonant/vowel asymmetry, which is established in adults, has led Nespor, Peña and Mehler (2003) to suggest a division of labor present from birth, whereby consonants would facilitate lexical acquisition while vowels would help to learn grammatical rules of language. We have explored the developmental validity of this hypothesis by studying its origins in French-learning infants. First, our optical brain imaging studies show that both consonants and vowels provide input for precursory mechanisms of syntax processing (Exp. 1 - 3). Secondly, our studies on own-name recognition at 5 months demonstrate sensitivity to a vowel mispronunciation in monolingual infants (Alix/Elix), but fail to show a reaction to a consonant mispronunciation in initial position (Victor/Zictor) for monolinguals and bilinguals, or in final position (Luca/Luga) for monolinguals (Exp. 4 - 9). Thus, vowels are a better input for lexical processing in first familiar words. Our results contribute to the understanding of the developmental origin of consonant/vowel functional asymmetry, hence the influence of the native input on its emergence.
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Submitted on : Monday, December 18, 2017 - 3:16:56 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01666567, version 1

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Camillia Bouchon. Functional asymmetry between consonants and vowels from birth to 6 months of age: Cerebral imaging and behavioral data.. Psychology. Université Paris Descartes (Paris 5), 2014. English. ⟨tel-01666567⟩

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