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Articulatory skill development at babbling stage

  Contact person
Melanie CANAULT , Sophie KERN , Leslie LEMARCHAND

Scientific framework and objectives

The babbling stage is associated with the emergence of syllables. Early syllables would be generated by a continual jaw open-close alternation (MacNeilage, 1998). Even if the jaw is highly implicated in early productions, its displacements are not yet controlled. This lack of efficiency can be observed through slower movements (Nip et al., 2009, 2011) and more variable movements (Steeve et al., 2008). The weak articulatory skills observed at the beginning of babbling also appear in the Consonant-Vowel combinations (Davis & MacNeilage, 1995). Lingual displacements depend on mandibular oscillation and the lingual position initiated at the beginning of a syllable for the realization of the consonant would be maintained for the production of the vowel.

Nevertheless, the articulatory skills will progress during the babbling stage. The speed of the articulatory gestures (the rhythm of the mandibular oscillation) as well as the dissociation of lingual and mandibular gestures could attest the deployment of the motor skills. These phenomena can be inferred from the observation of the syllable and more precisely from its duration, its temporal variation and its segmental content. 22 full-term children were monthly audio-recorded between the age of 8 months and 14 months with the aim to understand how syllable duration evolves and accounts for developmental patterns of speech rhythm and of segments associations.

  Financial support
  • Fonds France-Canada pour la Recherche
    Mandibular oscillatory rhythm during babbling: a pilot study on an early diagnosis tool

  • Labex ASLAN - Université de Lyon
    BABIROM : Babbling and mandibular oscillatory rhythm

  • Labex ASLAN - Université de Lyon et Labex EFL Paris
    Development of phonological contrasts in children aged from 8 to 14 months old


  • Canault, M., Laboissière, R., 2011, "Le babillage et le développement des compétences articulatoires : indices temporels et moteurs", Faits de Langue, 37, pp. 173-188
  • Canault, M., 2015, "Le développement de la motricité bucco-faciale", Rééducation Orthophonique, 263, pp. 7-35
  • Canault, M., Roy, J.P., Yamaguchi, N., Kern, S., 2017, "Early evolution of syllable duration as a cue for oro-motor control development: a longitudinal study ", IASCL, Lyon, 17-21 juillet 2017

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