Infants' early phonetic perception is hypothesized to play an important role in language development. Previous studies have not assessed this potential link in the first 2 years of life. In this study, speech discrimination was measured in 6-month-old infants using a conditioned head-turn task. At 13, 16, and 24 months of age, language development was assessed in these same children using the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory, Results demonstrated significant correlations between speech perception at 6 months of age and later language (word understanding, word production, phrase understanding). The finding that speech perception performance at 6 months predicts language at 2 years supports the idea that phonetic perception may play an important role in language acquisition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas