Now you hear it, now you don't: Vowel devoicing in Japanese infant-directed speech

LAUREL FAIS, SACHIYO KAJIKAWA, SHIGEAKI AMANO, JANET F. WERKER
2009 Journal of Child Language  
A B S T R A C T In this work, we examine a context in which a conflict arises between two roles that infant-directed speech (IDS) plays : making language structure salient and modeling the adult form of a language. Vowel devoicing in fluent adult Japanese creates violations of the canonical Japanese consonant-vowel word structure pattern by systematically devoicing particular vowels, yielding surface consonant clusters. We measured vowel devoicing rates in a corpus of infant-and adultdirected
more » ... and adultdirected Japanese speech, for both read and spontaneous speech, and found that the mothers in our study preserve the fluent adult form of the language and mask underlying phonological structure by devoicing vowels in infant-directed speech at virtually the same rates as those for adult-directed speech. The results highlight the complex [*] The authors would like to thank Tomoko Kawaguchi for transcribing the data, Lorella Chan, Nozomi Kido, Amber Lo and Nicole Stringer for their hard work in coding the data, and Tracy Cassells for assistance with statistical analysis. Address for correspondence : Laurel Fais,
doi:10.1017/s0305000909009556 pmid:19490747 fatcat:5jmawybq45hoja7ckov5ndn3o4