Children learn from their environments and their caregivers. To capitalize on learning opportunities, young children have to recognize familiar words efficiently by integrating contextual cues across word boundaries. Previous research has shown that adults can use phonetic cues from anticipatory coarticulation during word recognition. We asked whether 18-24. month-olds (n= 29) used coarticulatory cues on the word "the" when recognizing the following noun. We performed a looking-while-listening eyetracking experiment to examine word recognition in neutral vs. facilitating coarticulatory conditions. Participants looked to the target image significantly sooner when the determiner contained facilitating coarticulatory cues. These results provide the first evidence that novice word-learners can take advantage of anticipatory sub-phonemic cues during word recognition.
Coarticulation, Eye tracking, Language development, Lexical development, Word learning, Word recognition
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Mahr, Tristan; McMillan, Brianna T.M.; Saffran, Jenny R.; Ellis Weismer, Susan; and Edwards, Jan, "Anticipatory Coarticulation Facilitates Word Recognition in Toddlers" (2015). Psychology: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.