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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton February 5, 1999

Relationship between Rhythmic Behavior and Canonical Babbling in Infant Vocal Development

  • Keiko Ejiri
From the journal Phonetica


The onset of canonical babbling (CB) is a landmark event in infants’ vocal development for spoken language. Previous research has suggested that the onset of CB coincides with the peak period of rhythmic activities. To examine this phenomenon in detail, 28 Japanese infants (14 girls, 14 boys) were observed longitudinally from the age of 5 to 9 months. In the experimental sessions, an audible or an inaudible rattle was placed into a hand of each tested infant. Then the number of times that the infant shook the rattle was counted. In the observational sessions, infants’ spontaneous rhythmic activities under natural conditions were observed. The result shows that rhythmic activities reached their peak around the onset of CB. When the infants began to babble, they shook whichever rattle was in their hand, regardless of its audibility. After this period, they shook the audible rattles more frequently than the inaudible ones. These findings suggest that, around the onset of CB, infants learn to control their motor activities based on auditory feedback.



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Published Online: 1999-02-05
Published in Print: 1998-12-01

© 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

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