292 , 2015-03-31 , 東京大学大学院教育学研究科 , The Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo , 東京大学大学院教育学研究科教育心理学コース
In Japanese, pitch accent information related to words is useful for comprehending degraded speech sounds. During language development, therefore, can Japanese children utilize pitch accent for word recognition when speech sounds are degraded? In the present research, 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds were presented with low-pass filtered words, for which frequency components apart from fundamental frequency contours (pitch accent) had been erased, and asked to choose the picture that represented the meaning of each word. Although the percentage of correct answers was above chance in all age groups, 4- and 5-year-olds performed better than 3-year-olds. Moreover, the children's performance was correlated with their vocabulary size. These data suggest that children's skill in utilizing pitch accent is acquired by the age of 3 and develops with chronological age and vocabulary growth.