Post-lexical intonation use in early speech
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The present study sought to confirm claims by previous researchers (e.g. Crystal, 1979; Halliday, 1975; Galligan, 1987) that in children’s early productions intonation functions as part of the child’s word-level phonology rather than being dissociated from the words with which it is produced, and to characterize the development of post-lexical intonation use from lexically bound intonation. Unexpectedly, given its documentation in previous work, no evidence was found of a stage of lexically bound intonation in early speech; possible sources of the discrepancy between studies include the use of instrumental rather than perceptual measurement of the intonation contours, different classification system s of intonation contours, individual developmental differences between the children studied, sampling error, not obtaining data from children at an early enough stage of linguistic development, and the decision not to collect information about the pragmatic and attitudinal meanings communicated by the children’s intonation patterns. Additional research with more children, and preferably with speech data collection beginning at an earlier age, is needed to clarify the discrepant findings.