Majorano, M., Vihman, M. M., & Depaolis, R. A. (2014). The relationship between infants’ production experience and their processing of speech. Language, Learning and Development, 10, 179-204. doi: 10.1080/15475441.2013.829740
Abstract. The early relationship between children’s emerging articulatory abilities and their capacity to process speech input was investigated, following recent studies with English-learning infants. Twenty-six monolingual Italian-learning infants were tested at 6 months (no consistent and stable use of consonants, or vocal motor schemes [VMS]) and at the age at which they displayed use of at least one VMS. Perceptual testing was based on lists of nonwords containing one of three categories of sounds each: produced by infant (own VMS), not yet produced but typical of that age (other VMS), or not typically produced by infants at that age (non-VMS). In addition, size of expressive lexicon at 12 months and 18 months was assessed using an Italian version of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI). The results confirmed a relation between infant preverbal production and attentional response to VMS and also between age at first VMS and 12-month vocabulary. Maternal input is shown not to be a specific determinant of individual infant production preferences. A comparison between the English and Italian experimental findings shows a stronger attentional response to VMS in isolated words as compared to sentences. These results confirm the existence of an interaction between perception and production that helps to shape the way that language develops. Article ahead-of-print.