AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Cross-Linguistic Regularities in Babbling

by Mariska Scheel

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 2015
Keywords: babbling; reduplication; variegation; PhonBank; regular expressions
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2064698
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/34679


In the present study I expand on existing studies on syllabic patterns in babbling in two ways. First, I present two large-scale studies of babbling patterns from, respectively, eight and nine different languages. Second, I analyse babbling patterns – the “phonetic syntax” of babbling (Lipkind et al., 2013) – beyond the terms ‘reduplicated’ and ‘variegated’; a sequence “babadi”, for example, could be an example of either reduplicated or variegated babbling, and possible subpatterns become even more complex when considering four-syllable utterances. The conclusion is that that full variegation is preferred over any other form of reduplication in 0-24-months-olds – XY, XYZ, and XYZW. When infants do reduplicate they prefer to do so at the end of the utterance. From a cross-linguistic point of view it can be concluded that Polish and Germanic speaking infants use variegated patterns more frequently than infants of other languages. As regards to reduplicated patterns, languages such as French, Portuguese and Romanian have the highest distribution of reduplication. With regard to development of distribution of the syllabic patterns within the first two years of life, variegated utterances are produced at the very beginning of babbling and the frequency in which they occur increases while the infants grow older. Advisors/Committee Members: Levelt, C.C (advisor).