Edited by Pilar Prieto and Núria Esteve-Gibert
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research 23] 2018
► pp. 79–100
Chapter 5. The role of prosody in early speech segmentation and word-referent mapping
This chapter reviews electrophysiological studies on early word-form segmentation and word-referent mapping, with a focus on the role of prosody in these early abilities closely related to vocabulary acquisition. First, we will review event-related brain potential (ERP) studies on word segmentation showing the impact of lexical stress cues, infant-directed speech (IDS) properties and melodic information on word-form extraction. Then, we will review research on word-referent mapping, revealing the scarcity of ERP studies specifically exploring the contribution of prosody in this domain. Throughout the chapter we will emphasize how electrophysiological methods offer a more fine-grained perspective of the brain processes supporting segmentation and mapping abilities, often revealing infants’ sensitivities to auditory input before overt responses from behavioral methods can be obtained.