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Academic Paper


Title: Prosodic patterns in Hebrew child-directed speech
Author: Osnat Segal
Institution: Tel Aviv University
Author: Bracha Nir
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://hw2.haifa.ac.il/index.php/staff-communication/472-bracha-nir
Institution: University of Haifa
Author: Liat Kishon-Rabin
Institution: Tel Aviv University
Author: Dorit Diskin Ravid
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.tau.ac.il/education/homepg/dorit-ravid.htm
Institution: Tel Aviv University
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Phonology
Subject Language: Hebrew
Abstract: The study examines prosodic characteristics of Hebrew speech directed to children between 0 ; 9–3 ; 0 years, based on longitudinal samples of 228,946 tokens (8,075 types). The distribution of prosodic patterns – the number of syllables and stress patterns – is analyzed across three lexical categories, distinguishing not only between open- and closed-class items, but also between these two categories and a third, innovative, class, referred to as between-class items. Results indicate that Hebrew CDS consists mainly of mono- and bisyllabic words, with differences between lexical categories; and that the most common stress pattern is word-final, with parallel distributions found for all categories. Additional analyses showed that verbs take word-final stress, but nouns are both trochaic and iambic. Finally, a developmental analysis indicates a significant increase in the number of iambic words in CDS. These findings have clear implications regarding the use of prosody for word segmentation and assignment of lexical class in infancy.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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