• Bénédicte BOYSSON-BARDIES (DE) (CNRS-Paris)
    Que nous apprennent les enfants en babillant ?
    (What do babbling children teach us?)
    1996, Vol. I-1, pp. 55-64

    Study of rythmic and temporal properties of babbling of infants aged between 8 and 10 months that were recorded in Paris, London, Hong-Kong and Algiers, shows that, from that age on, the schemes of pitch and syllable organisation tend to approach the characteristic forms of final syllables in the language of the environment. An interlingual comparative study of the phonetic organisation and the syllable structure of babbling shows in the same way that the processes of perceptual selection interact with the motor performance of the infants. So babbling appears as an exercise which reveals a selection by the infants of the forms of the phonetic and phonotactic space that is proper to their language.

  • Barbara DAVIS (Austin, États-Unis)
    Des babils à Babel : les premiers pas de la parole
    (From babbling to Babel: first steps in speech development)
    2008, Vol. XIII-2, pp. 81-91

    The first year of development of the human infant is a period during which speech perception and production capacities evolve with very distinct and asynchronous paths. While many studies about perception have revealed extremely precocious processing skills, speech production has been less explored, being a much less manageable field of research. We are reviewing here recent studies about the emergence of speech production capacities, and we will show how longitudinal as well as transversal data can bring out the anatomical and motor constraints that shape the first utterances of babies, and the strategies that these babies elaborate to utter their first linguistic units.

  • Annie MANSY (Lille 2)
    Capacités motrices et capacités langagières d'enfants de 5 à 8 ans : leurs interrelations
    (Interrelations between motor processes and language skills in 5-8 year old children)
    2001, Vol. VI-1, pp. 7-20

    Speech production involves motor processes, which raise several questions. Are they organized in a specific manner? Is the motor organization of phonation related to some general motor organization? We opted for the hypothesis of an effector-free sequential representation, in accordance with Keele's modular theory (1995), which assumes that sequence representations are stored as ordered collections of abstract tokens, and independent from any particular motor system. Difficulties in the functioning of this module should appear in various forms of motricity involving production of sequences, in speech as well as in various motor activities. Interrelations between results obtained at several language tasks and motor tasks were studied with 67 children from 5 to 8 years old. The most obvious result is the significant difference in the ability of reproducing rhythms depending on whether the child has language difficulties or not. These data lead to a stronger reliance in a motor approach of the language difficulties.

  • Séverine MILLOTTE (Genève, Suisse)
    Le jeune enfant à la découverte des mots
    (Young children discovering words)
    2008, Vol. XIII-2, pp. 93-102

    Infants acquiring their native language have to learn, among other things, the words of this language. To this end, they have to extract word forms from the continuous speech stream, therefore they need to segment it. In a first section, we will show that several low-level cues, directly accessible through a surface analysis of the speech signal, may allow young infants to find words in sentences even before the end of their first year of life. In addition, infants have to assign a meaning to these phonological forms. In the second section, we will see that this task may be facilitated by syntactic knowledge. Once again, we will investigate the role of cues that are directly available in the speech signal, function words and prosodic cues.