Constraints on Phonological Development
One of the issues we have been investigating is the nature of the constraints on the shape of children’s early Prosodic Words. This appears to be depending on the distribution of word and foot structures found in the target language. Recent research has also examined the development of syllable structures. Some of this work finds that coda consonants are more likely to be produced in stressed and final syllables, both of which exhibit increased duration, suggesting that this facilitates the articulation of more segments. Other research has focused on the acquisition of word-final clusters, raising questions about the competing contributions of frequency, morphology, and structural/sonority/articulatory factors in predicting the course of cluster acquisition across languages. These issues are currently being explored acoustically, examining children’s early representation of feature cues to segmental contrasts.