The ethologic model of phonetic development: II. The closant curve

Michael P. Robb, Harold R. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The ratio of closants-to-vocants (C: V), a phonetic diversity estimator proposed by the ethologic model of phonetic development, was examined to test the 'closant curve' hypothesis (Bauer, 1988). The closant curve reflects a regular increase in the ratio of consonants (closants) to vowels (vocants) in early vocal and speech productions of young children. C:V ratios were plotted for seven children's monthly vocalizations covering the period of 8 to 25 months of life. The results revealed a closant curve developmental function, reflecting a systematic increase in closant use according to chronological age. The hypothesis was further tested and validated in the vocalizations of a cross-sectional sample of 21 children. The findings support the closant curve hypothesis and the application of an ethologic model to evaluate early phonetic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-353
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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