Statistical learning in a natural language by 8-month-old infants.

TitleStatistical learning in a natural language by 8-month-old infants.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsPelucchi B, Hay JF, Saffran JR
JournalChild Dev
Volume80
Issue3
Pagination674-85
Date Published2009 May-Jun
ISSN1467-8624
KeywordsDiscrimination Learning, Female, Humans, Infant, Language, Language Development, Male, Phonetics, Speech Perception, Statistics as Topic, Verbal Learning
Abstract

Numerous studies over the past decade support the claim that infants are equipped with powerful statistical language learning mechanisms. The primary evidence for statistical language learning in word segmentation comes from studies using artificial languages, continuous streams of synthesized syllables that are highly simplified relative to real speech. To what extent can these conclusions be scaled up to natural language learning? In the current experiments, English-learning 8-month-old infants' ability to track transitional probabilities in fluent infant-directed Italian speech was tested (N = 72). The results suggest that infants are sensitive to transitional probability cues in unfamiliar natural language stimuli, and support the claim that statistical learning is sufficiently robust to support aspects of real-world language acquisition.

DOI10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01290.x
Alternate JournalChild Dev
PubMed ID19489896
PubMed Central IDPMC3883431
Grant ListP30 HD003352 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
F32-HD557032 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD037466 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
P30HD03352 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
R01HD37466 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States