The acquisition of word prosody
Book chapter by Paula Fikkert, Liquan Liu & Mitsuhiko Ota in The Oxford Handbook of Language Prosody, published December 2020.
This chapter provides a state-of-the-art overview regarding the acquisition of three aspects of word prosody: lexical tone, pitch accent, and word stress. It also addresses word-learning studies where these prosodic features have been manipulated. Across these features, infants show evidence for perceptual tuning in the course of their first year: they prefer their native language patterns over non-native and infrequently encountered ones. Yet, it may take infants longer to use such receptive knowledge of word prosody for word learning, word recognition, and word production, and the timing of accurate utilization depends on the specific tones, pitch accents, and word-stress patterns. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the gaps in our knowledge, which involve longitudinal development and insight into the developmental triggers, the relationship between perception and production studies, and the interaction of word prosody with other domains of linguistics.