Phonotactic probabilities in young children's speech production

Tania S. Zamuner, Louann Gerken, Michael Hammond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


This research explores the role of phonotactic probability in two-year-olds' production of coda consonants. Twenty-nine children were asked to repeat CVC non-words that were used as labels for pictures of imaginary animals. The CVC non-words were controlled for their phonotactic probabilities, neighbourhood densities, word-likelihood ratings, and contained the identical coda across low and high phonotactic probability pairs. This allowed for comparisons of children's productions of the same coda consonant in low and high phonotactic probability environments. Children were significantly more likely to produce the same coda in high phonotactic probability non-words than in low phonotactic probability non-words. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that phonotactic probability is a predictor of coda production in English. Moreover, this finding provides further evidence for the role of the input and distribution of sound patterns in the ambient language as a basis for phonological acquisition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-536
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of child language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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