This paper presents a study of vocal imitation during the early stages of the language acquisition process. Utterances were extracted from recordings of adult-infant interactions in controlled but naturalistic experimental settings. For each recording session, utterances were used to create pairs of adult-infant samples that were presented to a panel of listeners, whose task was to judge whether the samples in a pair could be considered as imitations of each other or not. The results suggest an age-dependent hierarchy for the impact of different phonetic dimensions on imitation judgments and provide a basis for a quantitative model of vocal imitation.
Bibliographic reference. Gustavsson, Lisa / Lacerda, Francisco (2008): "Vocal imitation in early language acquisition", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 1976-1979.