Amanda C. Walley
Victoria L. Michela
Dept. of Psychol., Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294
James E. Flege
Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294
In comparison to what is known about speech perception in infancy and adulthood, much less is known about perception in childhood. Nevertheless, there is a growing consensus that phonetic/phonemic segments are not present in the ``initial state,'' but only emerge gradually over the course of childhood as units of speech representation and/or processing. How perception may become more segmentally based by virtue of vocabulary growth will be considered---as the mental lexicon grows in overall size, as individual lexical items become more familiar, and as particular regions of the lexicon become more ``crowded'' (i.e., as the acoustic--phonetic similarity among different words increases). The research to be presented includes recent data bearing on children's perception of native and non-native vowels in word and nonword contexts. Age-related changes in spoken word representation and processing may have important consequences for other developmental achievements, such as the growth of metaphonological knowledge/skills and early reading ability, as well as for success in learning a second language. More generally, the purpose is to help set an agenda for future research that will provide a more complete picture of the developmental trend for speech perception. [Work supported by NIH.]
All posters will be on display from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To allow contributors an opportunity to see other posters, contributors of odd-numbered papers will be at their posters from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and contributors of even-numbered papers will be at their posters from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Posters will remain on display until 8:00 a.m. on Friday.