Serial production trends in the early lexicon

By B.L. Davis and P.F. MacNeilage


Analysis of production patterns in babbling and early speech suggests that infants are producing early lexical items using patterns already available to the production system rather than inventing cognitive rules related to lexical targets. Comparison of serial trends in targets attempted in the early word period with actual productions indicates similar intrasyllabic CV co-occurrence patterns in both. Patterns within syllables are stronger in actual productions than in attempted targets suggesting that imitation is not so strong a factor in early lexical attempts as are the production patterns the infant already has available for producing serial output. These serial patterns are seen as based on rhythmic mandibular oscillations that produce syllabic regularities as an emergent percept of the open-close cycles of the mandible.