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The Role of Audition in Infant Babbling

D. Kimbrough Oller and Rebecca E. Eilers
Child Development
Vol. 59, No. 2 (Apr., 1988), pp. 441-449
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130323
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130323
Page Count: 9
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The Role of Audition in Infant Babbling
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Abstract

The traditional belief that audition plays only a minor role in infant vocal development depends upon evidence that deaf infants produce the same kinds of babbling sounds as hearing infants. Evidence in support of this position has been very limited. A more extensive comparison of vocal development in deaf and hearing infants indicates that the traditional belief is in error. Well-formed syllable production is established in the first 10 months of life by hearing infants but not by deaf infants, indicating that audition plays an important role in vocal development. The difference between babbling in the deaf and hearing is apparent if infant vocal sounds are observed from a metaphonological perspective, a view that takes account of the articulatory/acoustic patterns of speech sounds in all mature spoken languages.

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