Infants' sensitivity to the sound structure of the native language becomes finely honed during the first year. New studies confirm and extend this fact in the domains of phonetic, metrical, and grammatical processing. First, infants were tested on their ability to discriminate phonetic, but nonmeaningful differences in the native language. Although most 6- to 8-month olds discriminated [d] versus [t], 10- to 12-month olds did not. Thus, by 10–12 months, infants listen to only those phonetic differences that distinguish acceptable native-language syllabic shapes.
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