The acquisition of word prosody

Paula Fikkert, Liquan Liu, Mitsuhiko Ota

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter, we outline the developmental changes during infancy and early childhood in the perception and production of lexical tone, pitch accent and word stress. A necessary but not sufficient condition for learning word prosody is the ability to discriminate the relevant phonetic correlates. Children also need to learn to use each type of word prosody in meaningful situations, i.e. for word recognition and word production, and hence encode it in lexical representations (sections 2, 3, 4). The review does not extend to the role of word prosody in infant word segmentation, which is covered in chapter 36. The final section summarises our current understanding of three overarching issues concerning the acquisition of word prosody: the relationship between perception and production, the representation of word prosody and the factors driving the development in word prosody.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Language Prosody
EditorsCarlos Gussenhoven, Aoju Chen
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198832232
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks


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