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Journal of Child Language

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Abstract/ Summary

Final Syllable Lengthening (FSL) has been extensively examined in infant vocalizations in order to determine whether its basis is biological or learned. Findings suggest there may be a U-shaped developmental trajectory for FSL. The present study sought to verify this pattern and to determine whether vocal maturity and deafness influence FSL. Eight normally hearing infants, aged 0 ; 3 to 1 ; 0, and eight deaf infants, aged 0 ; 8 to 4 ; 0, were examined at three levels of prelinguistic vocal development: precanonical, canonical, and postcanonical. FSL was found at all three levels suggesting a biological basis for this phenomenon. Individual variability was, however, considerable. Reduction in the magnitude of FSL across the three sessions provided some support for a downward trend for FSL in infancy. Findings further indicated that auditory deprivation can significantly affect temporal aspects of infant speech production.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Nathani, S., Oller, D.K., & Cobo-Lewis, A.B. (2003). Final Syllable Lengthening (FSL) in Infant Vocalizations. Journal of Child Language, 30, 3-25. Available on publisher's site at

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Copyright 2003 Cambridge University Press




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