Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study
Children often mispronounce words when learning their first language. Is it because they cannot perceive the differences that adults make or is it because they can't produce the sounds involved? Neither hypothesis is sufficient on its own to explain the facts. On the basis of detailed analyses of his son's and grandson's development, Neil Smith explains the everyday miracle of one aspect of first-language acquisition. Mispronunciations are now attributed to performance rather than to competence, and he argues at length that children's productions are not mentally represented. The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts. Smith provides an important and engaging update to his previous work, The Acquisition of Phonology, building on ideas previously developed and drawing new conclusions with the aid of fresh data.
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ability acquisition of phonology adult form adult language adult surface forms affricates allophonic appeared articulation articulatory babbling Bob the Builder characterised child’s child’s lexical representations child’s output Chomsky claim clusters coda competence consistently consonant harmony consonantal contrast coronal correct correctly deleting discussion evidence examples faithfulness constraints ﬁnal consonant ﬁnally ﬁrst ﬂapjack free variation generalisation gestures grammar Grandpa Hale and Reiss imitation initial innateness input instance intervocalic labio-dental lexicon linguistic markedness metalinguistic minimal pairs months morpheme nasal neural network neutralisation non-initial obstruents occurred onsets output representation perceptual phonological hierarchy plural post-consonantal sonorants postulate problem produced pronoun reversal pronounced pronunciation realisation rules reﬂect reﬂex rule-based secondary articulation segments sequences Session signiﬁcant simpliﬁcation Smith sonorant speciﬁc sporadic stage strident suggested syllable structure systematically theory unchanged usage-based usage-based models velars voiceless voicing vowel words Z’s output