Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Speech-Language Pathology


Vanessa Mueller


The intricacies involved in learning language are astounding, nonetheless, infants are more than capable of accomplishing this feat within their first few years of life. This unbelievable achievement is carried out through numerous milestones and exposure to multiple modalities of stimuli all around them. Through the use of these modalities, be it auditory or visual, infants begin their journey to learn language with the task of extracting words from fluent speech, speech segmentation. Researchers have found that infants as young as 6-months can segment words from the speech stream by using their own name or highly familiar words like momma as a cue (Bortfeld, Golinkoff, & Rathbun, 2005). This can also be accomplished by using a speaker's face as a cue (Mueller & Acosta, 2015). Mueller and Acosta (2015) used baby sign as an additional cue for the six-month-old infants in their study. They were the first to report data which demonstrated that prior exposure to baby sign aided infants in extracting unfamiliar words from the speech stream. The purpose of the current study is to expand Mueller and Acosta's (2015) study to examine the impact that baby sign has on the speech segmentation abilities of typically developing hearing infants between the ages of four to18-months. The research questions asked are 1.) Can four to 18-month old children use signing cues and facial cues to facilitate speech segmentation of non-words in running speech? and 2.) Are there age differences related to a child's speech segmentation abilities?




Received from ProQuest

File Size

43 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Johanna Puga-Martinez