Majorano, M., & D’Odorico, L. (2011). The transition into ambient language: A longitudinal study f babbling and first word production of Italian children. First Language, 31,47-66. doi:10.1177/0142723709359239
Abstract.The present study investigates the appearance of certain phonetic, phonological, and prosodic aspects of Italian in the early language of native speakers; a longitudinal analysis of babbling and word production in 11 Italian children ranging in age from 0;10 to 2;0 is reported. It focuses in particular on the syllabic frequency of babbling utterances and the distribution of consonant sounds in relation to their place of articulation in babbling and first words. It analyzes also the role of phonotactic characteristics and accentual patterns of word targets in production correctness and word shape constraints. Results show that the relationships with the frequency characteristics of the Italian lexicon become increasingly evident in language production from age 0;11 on. The data also provide substantiation for the role of phonotactic characteristics and accentual patterns in influencing correct word production. Finally, a continuity between babbling and words emerged from an analysis of individual differences. The discussion focuses on the role of ambient characteristics of language versus universal articulatory constraints in early phonological development.