Edited by Pilar Prieto and Núria Esteve-Gibert
[Trends in Language Acquisition Research 23] 2018
► pp. 145–164
Chapter 8. Early development of intonation
Perception and production
This chapter focuses on early development of intonation. Together with a precocious sensitivity to prosody documented in the literature, recent research has shown that infants’ early perception of pitch-based categories is already language-specific by 4–5 months, and that their discrimination abilities differ not only according to ambient language but also as a function of pitch properties (e.g., pitch direction, or pitch alignment). On the production side, and focusing on studies within the Autosegmental-Metrical framework, findings suggest that key landmarks in intonational development precede and constrain the acquisition of other aspects of grammar (e.g., word and phrase size, and combinatorial speech). Both from a perception and production point of view, language specific effects emerge very early on in development, underlying cross-linguistic differences.