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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Understanding the developing sound system: interactions between sounds and words

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Over the course of the first 2 years of life, infants are learning a great deal about the sound system of their native language. Acquiring the sound system requires the infant to learn about sounds and their distributions, sound combinations, and prosodic information, such as syllables, rhythm, and stress. These aspects of the phonological system are being learned simultaneously as the infant experiences the language around him or her. What binds all of the phonological units is the context in which they occur, namely, words. In this review, we explore the development of phonetics and phonology by showcasing the interactive nature of the developing lexicon and sound system with a focus on perception. We first review seminal research in the foundations of phonological development. We then discuss early word recognition and learning followed by a discussion of phonological and lexical representations. We conclude by discussing the interactive nature of lexical and phonological representations and highlight some further directions for exploring the developing sound system. WIREs Cogn Sci 2014, 5:589–602. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1307 This article is categorized under: Linguistics > Language Acquisition Psychology > Language
Time course of early language development. (Reprinted with permission from Ref )
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