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I'm looking for answers to the following questions about language acquisition, as far as phonetics are concerned. I'm particularly interested in American English, though failing that any language would do.

  • In which order do children acquire the phonetic features of their native language?
    e.g.:
    • How much language do they pick up before birth?
    • What happens before they start talking? (e.g. motherese, mouthing the words...)
    • The role of motherese in language acquisition.
    • When do they pick up a given feature? (intonation, word stress, phones and allophones, first words... sentence stress, stress shift, assimilation and coarticulation... etc.)
    • Which words do they speak first? Which phrases? Sentences?
    • The transition from baby talk to child and then adult speech.
    • The role of schooling in language acquisition.

I'm assuming there's something of a typical developmental order, and I'd like to know what it is in details, with examples. I can find partial answers to some of these questions in research, but I'd like an overview of the whole process.

Does anyone have any book to recommend on the matter?

I'm interested in a descriptive approach (rather than theoretical.) I figure there must be, at the very least, some linguists out there who documented their child's development in details :)

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  • What do you mean by "phonetic"? There is a huge literature where linguists anecdotally not things about their childrens speech via impressionistic transcriptions, and much less that is based on acoustic analysis of recordings. Your questions are kind of all over the map. A more reasonable question would be e.g. "Using acoustic data, when do children master the distribution of aspirated vs. unaspirated stops".
    – user6726
    Jun 24 at 14:35
  • I'm interested in the whole process, with details. By "phonetic" I mean that I'd love to see, for example, when children pick up various allophones (e.g. the many allophones in the realization of /t/.) I understand that's a lot of questions. Jun 25 at 6:34

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