Voice-onset time in infant-directed speech over the first year and a half

Evamarie Burnham, Jessica L. Gamache, Tonya Bergeson, Laura Dilley

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Previous research in small-N studies has indicated conflicting findings regarding whether mothers modify voice-onset time (VOT) of wordinitial stop consonants in speech to infants compared to speech to adults, as well as the nature of any such modification. In a large-scale study, VOT was measured for voiced and voiceless stop consonants in speech of 48 mothers of infants in one of four cross-sectional age groups (0;3, 0;9, 1;1, 1;8) when they read a phonetically-controlled storybook to their infant (ID speech) or an adult (AD speech). VOT measurements showed enhanced clarity (i.e., longer VOTs) in ID speech compared with AD speech for voiceless stop consonants only. An effect of infant gender was also found, showing that enhanced clarity was only produced by mothers of female infants (N = 19). Infant age was not found to be a significant factor in VOT production. The results have implications for understanding the nature of linguistic development in young children, specifically by elucidating factors apparently related to phonetic modification for clarity, including speech style and gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number060094
JournalProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
StatePublished - Jun 19 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Jun 2 2013Jun 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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