Onomatopoeia in Canadian Mothers' Input: Exploratory Pilot Study

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  • We designed an exploratory pilot study to examine the nature of onomatopoeia use in Canadian 8mother’s speech to infants (12-18 months old) on the brink of a period of rapid productive vocabulary development​ ​with prevalent individual variation in vocabulary size (Fenson et al, 1994). The study included the use of a novel design for eliciting onomatopoeia in semi-spontaneous child directed speech (CDS). The study aims to build on previous findings regarding the nature of onomatopoeia in British mothers’ CDS to 8 month old infants (Laing et al, 2017). We aimed to create a method of eliciting
    onomatopoeia and associated conventional words in CDS, in order to analyze prosodic features including pitch, pitch range, and duration. We additionally aimed to analyze the nature of onomatopoeia use in semi-spontaneous CDS discourse, including analyzing the proportion of target words produced in isolation, proximity of onomatopoeic words to associated conventional words, target word utterance position, reduplication and repetition, and frequency of target word use. Finally, we aimed to explore the possible role of onomatopoeia in word learning by analyzing maternal onomatopoeia use compared to
    infant vocabulary size. The results from the data revealed a number of differences between onomatopoeia and conventional word use in CDS. We discuss future research directions based on the findings from the current pilot study.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International