Word recognition by Japanese infants

P. A. Halle, T. Deguchi, Y. Tamekawa, B. Boysson-Bardies, S. Kiritani

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Building a lexicon is a necessary step in the process of language acquisition. The emergence and development of vocabulary have usually been observed in naturalistic settings through their external manifestations: the first attempts at producing words, and the various signs showing that an infant comprehends words. Naturalistic approaches, however, may underestimate the productive lexicon on one hand, and overestimate the receptive lexicon on the other hand. An experimental approach, using the Headturn Preference Procedure, has been used to show that 11-to-12-month-old French infants can recognize familiar words without specific training. The spontaneous preference for familiar words, interpreted as word recognition, revealed the formation of an early receptive lexicon comprising a significant part of the familiar words that were used. At 12 months, recognition seemed to be firmly established, while it seemed to be just emerging at 11 months. Using the same procedure, the present study examined familiar word recognition in Japanese infants: Twelve-month-olds, but not 10-month-olds, showed a preference for familiar words, similar in intensity to that shown by 11-month-old French infants. These results are again interpreted as revealing the formation of a nascent receptive lexicon in Japanese infants by 12 months of age. Commonalities and differences between the two language groups are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1996 International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, ICSLP. Part 1 (of 4) - Philadelphia, PA, USA
Duration: 1996 Oct 31996 Oct 6


OtherProceedings of the 1996 International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, ICSLP. Part 1 (of 4)
CityPhiladelphia, PA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)

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