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Subject: Greek Babbling
Question: When infants begin babbling, the first sounds after vowels are usually the stops. First of those are the labials. Because they are very productive in world languages, [b], [p], and [d] are usually the first. In Greek, [b] and [d] are infrequent phones. In fact, there are no letters for these phones; instead, combinations are made: μπ for [b] and ντ for [d]. Does this mean, then, that Greek babies, when they begin babbling, do not begin with the sounds [b] and [d]? And if they do, is that just further proof that much of language acquisition is innate and there is some sort of Universal Grammar?
Reply: In Modern Greek, as you say, the voiced stops [b d] are infrequent. But so far as I know (I am no expert on child language) the claim is that labial stops tend to be some of the first consonants produced by children – not voiced labial stops in particular. Modern Greek surely does have plenty of labial stops, [p], and also [m] if nasal consonants are counted as "stops" (and in connexion with child speech they surely ought to be, they are also produced early). Geoffrey Sampson
Reply From: Geoffrey Richard Sampson      click here to access email
 
Date: 31-Oct-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Greek Babbling    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (01-Nov-2012)
  2. Re: Greek Babbling    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (31-Oct-2012)
  3. Re: Greek Babbling    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (31-Oct-2012)
  4. Re: Greek Babbling    James L Fidelholtz     (01-Nov-2012)

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