Infants Use Prosody to Learn About Clauses

Kara E Hawthorne


Many researchers have proposed that infants may be able to use prosody to bootstrap into syntax (e.g., Morgan, 1986). Thus far, researchers have shown that prosodic cues are useful for chunking linear sequences, but have not addressed its usefulness in cuing hierarchical syntactic structure. In this study, we asked if infants treat prosodically-marked units as moveable (moveability is a classic test of syntactic constituency). Our results suggest that they do, providing support for the possibility that prosody is a stronger cue to syntactic structure than has previously been shown.

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