chapter  15
16 Pages

Speech Development: Contributions of Cross-Linguistic Studies: Bénédicte de Boysson-Bardies and Pierre Hallé

In the structuralist model ( Jakobson, 1941 ), linguistics-more precisely phonology-was supposed to provide the child speech researcher with carefully defined concepts and units of analysis for investigating speech development. The guideline for universal speech development was to be found in the notion of distinctive features. The child was said to use universal principles for distinguish-


The empirical data presented to substantiate these claims were not truly convincing. The claim that babbling bears no relation to the child's later productions was not supported by data analysis (Oller, Wieman, Doyle, & Ross, 1976; Vihman, Macken, R. Miller, Simmons & J. Miller, 1985), and neither was the alleged universality of patterns of phonological development (Ingram, 1979; Macken & Ferguson, 1983; Stoel-Gammon & Cooper, 1984; Vihman, Ferguson, & Elbert, 1986).