Reduplication facilitates early word segmentation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


This study tested the role of adjacent repetition in early lexical acquisition by comparing infants’ word segmentation ability for reduplicated versus non-reduplicated words. Twenty-four 9-month-olds were familiarized with two passages, one containing a novel reduplicated C1V1C1V1 word (e.g., neenee) and the other a non-reduplicated novel C1V1C2V2 word (e.g., bolay). A central fixation paradigm was then used to measure the infants’ looking times in response to four word types: 1) the familiarized reduplicated word, 2) the familiarized non-reduplicated word, 3) a newly introduced reduplicated word (e.g., foofoo), and 4) a newly introduced non-reduplicated word (e.g., yahdaw). Looking times were significantly longer for the familiarized reduplicated word compared to all other types of words. These results suggest that words consisting of repeated syllables are preferentially segmented in running speech. We discuss the implications of this finding for the role of perceptual biases in early lexical development and its relation to infant-directed vocabulary.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
EventBoston University Conference on Language Development - Boston, United States
Duration: 13 Nov 201515 Nov 2015


ConferenceBoston University Conference on Language Development
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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