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Korean-learning infant patterns in babbling and single words were compared with those of English-learning infants and with Korean adult-directed and infantdirected speech to evaluate the roles of intrinsic production constraints proposed by the frame dominance hypothesis versus early learning mechanisms based on input regularities. Intrasyllabic patterns in babbling of Korean-learning infants were like those of English-learning infants. These patterns were not present in Korean infant-directed speech, providing evidence for the assertion that they are intrinsic to infants, and not triggered by input. Unlike English-learning infants, however, Korean-learning infants did not show the expected intrasyllabic patterns in their first words, suggesting that the intrinsic constraints can be overcome in first words if they conflict with ambient speech patterns as they do in Korean. Intersyllabic patterns of Korean-learning infants were mostly similar to those of English-learning infants, showing preferences for consonant manner and vowel height variegation in babbling though only a vowel variegation preference in words. Some implications of the results for generative phonology are considered.
© 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel