Danish presents several challenges for language learners, such as a very densely packed upper portion of the acoustic vowel space, and a sibilant contrast that is acoustically less distinct than in e.g. English. The present study examined whether Danish caregivers enhance Danish contrasts when speaking to their 18 month old children (infant directed speech - IDS) as opposed to an adult (adult directed speech - ADS). Caregivers were recorded talking about toy animals in conversations with their child and with an adult interlocutor. The toy names were designed to elicit Danish contrasts differing in voice onset time and in place of articulation for sibilants, and vowels which are close neighbors in the crowded Danish vowel space. The dependent variables for the comparison of IDS to ADS were: VOT differences for homorganic stop consonants, the frequency at the amplitude peak for the sibilants, the Euclidean F1/F2 differences between vowels, F0 of the stressed (first) syllable in the toy name, as well as the duration of the stressed syllable, the vowels, and the fricatives. Results of the acoustic differences between ADS and IDS were compared to the results of parents' reports on the children's receptive vocabulary knowledge.
Meetings on Acoustics. Proceedings, 2013
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165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society f America, 2013