Prelexical phonetic and early lexical development in German-acquiring infants: canonical babbling and first spoken words

Sigrun Lang*, Klaus Willmes, Peter B. Marschik, Dajie Zhang, Annette Fox-Boyer

*Corresponding author for this work
8 Citations (Scopus)


Prelexical phonetic capacities have widely been described to be a precursor for later speech and language development. However, studies so far varied greatly in the measurements used for the detection of canonical babbling onset or the description of infants’ phonetic capacities at one or more set time points. The comparability of results is, therefore, questionable. Thus, the aims of this study were to investigate the associations between (1) different measurements of CBO, (2) different aspects of phonetic capacity at the age of 9 months and (3) age of CBO and phonetic capacities at 9 months. A further aim (4) was to explore whether one of the measures would be suitable to predict the age of word onset (WO) in 20 healthy German-acquiring individuals. The data were derived from monthly recorded spontaneous speech samples between 0 and 18 months. It was found that the different applied prelexical measures equally well serve as valid estimators for the detection of CBO or of infants’ phonetic capacities. Further, age of CBO and phonetic capacities at 9 months were significantly associated even though the age of CBO did not reliably predict phonetic capacities. Prelexical measures and WO were not related. Reasons for no indication of a significant association are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)185-200
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Health Sciences

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 206-08 Cognitive and Systemic Human Neuroscience
  • 205-20 Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine

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