Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195900
Title:
The Processing and Acquisition of Two English Contours
Author:
Good, Erin
Issue Date:
2008
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The primary claim of this dissertation is that children and adults process language in the same manner, meaning that when children are acquiring their first language what they are truly doing is perfecting their language processing abilities. Language acquisition and processing both start from the same place. Both work to find patterns in the signal that will, eventually, be paired with meaning. This dissertation argues that differences in how children and adults accomplish these tasks are one of degree and not kind. To show this, three experiments tested how adults and children responded to a conflict between the lexical and prosodic parse of an utterance. The participants’ response to this conflict reveals information about where they are in the language acquisition process. In these experiments, prosody was used to disambiguate phrases that can be interpreted either as a list of two items (e.g., fruit, salad) or as a single compound item (e.g., fruit-salad). Prosody was also made to conflict with the lexical parse of an utterance. When the word cactus is said with List Prosody two non-words /kæk/ and /tʌs/ result. When the words nail and key are said with Compound Prosody, the non-word nailkey is created. By exploiting the overlap between the prosodic system and the lexical system, it is possible to evaluate how language is being processed. The results show that adults tend to parse utterances based on the lexical content, and ignore ambiguities created by a conflict between the prosodic and the lexical interpretation of the phrase. In contrast, children tend to respond based on the prosody, making increasing use of the lexical content as they mature. When the same items are tested with abstract shapes rather than representational images, adults make greater use of prosody. This suggests that visual input plays a role in spoken word processing. The dissertation also proposes a modified model of spoken word recognition that accounts for the difference seen between the adults and the children, and for the effect of visual content. This model integrates phonetic details, prosodic content, lexical knowledge, visual content, and pragmatic understanding during spoken word recognition.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
prosody; processing; spoken word recognition; acquisition
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Linguistics; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Ohala, Diane K; Warner, Natasha
Committee Chair:
Ohala, Diane K; Warner, Natasha

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleThe Processing and Acquisition of Two English Contoursen_US
dc.creatorGood, Erinen_US
dc.contributor.authorGood, Erinen_US
dc.date.issued2008en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe primary claim of this dissertation is that children and adults process language in the same manner, meaning that when children are acquiring their first language what they are truly doing is perfecting their language processing abilities. Language acquisition and processing both start from the same place. Both work to find patterns in the signal that will, eventually, be paired with meaning. This dissertation argues that differences in how children and adults accomplish these tasks are one of degree and not kind. To show this, three experiments tested how adults and children responded to a conflict between the lexical and prosodic parse of an utterance. The participants’ response to this conflict reveals information about where they are in the language acquisition process. In these experiments, prosody was used to disambiguate phrases that can be interpreted either as a list of two items (e.g., fruit, salad) or as a single compound item (e.g., fruit-salad). Prosody was also made to conflict with the lexical parse of an utterance. When the word cactus is said with List Prosody two non-words /kæk/ and /tʌs/ result. When the words nail and key are said with Compound Prosody, the non-word nailkey is created. By exploiting the overlap between the prosodic system and the lexical system, it is possible to evaluate how language is being processed. The results show that adults tend to parse utterances based on the lexical content, and ignore ambiguities created by a conflict between the prosodic and the lexical interpretation of the phrase. In contrast, children tend to respond based on the prosody, making increasing use of the lexical content as they mature. When the same items are tested with abstract shapes rather than representational images, adults make greater use of prosody. This suggests that visual input plays a role in spoken word processing. The dissertation also proposes a modified model of spoken word recognition that accounts for the difference seen between the adults and the children, and for the effect of visual content. This model integrates phonetic details, prosodic content, lexical knowledge, visual content, and pragmatic understanding during spoken word recognition.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectprosodyen_US
dc.subjectprocessingen_US
dc.subjectspoken word recognitionen_US
dc.subjectacquisitionen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineLinguisticsen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorOhala, Diane Ken_US
dc.contributor.advisorWarner, Natashaen_US
dc.contributor.chairOhala, Diane Ken_US
dc.contributor.chairWarner, Natashaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGerken, LouAnnen_US
dc.identifier.proquest2725en_US
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