Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences
Research into adult learning of natural and unnatural pairs of artificial languages have demonstrated that it is easier to learn a phonological rule that is based on naturalness in language than a similar, but unnatural, version of the same rule (Wilson 2006, Carpenter 2010). Infants' learning of natural and unnatural phonology has produced mixed results (Gerken and Boltt, 2008; Seidl and Buckley, 2005). The present study focuses on older children's learning of a natural and unnatural version of a stress rule based on vowel height. The results show that 9- and 10-year-olds exhibit a bias towards the natural rule. I suggest that the bias develops from an interaction between general cognition and a language-specific one.
Carpenter, A. C. (2016). Learning natural and unnatural phonological stress by 9- and 10-year-olds: A preliminary report. Journal of Child Language Acquisition and Development, 4(2), 62-77.