The organization of gestures was examined in children’s and adults’ samples of consonant–vowel–stop words differing in stop voicing. Children (5 and 7 years old) and adults produced words from five voiceless/voiced pairs, five times each in isolation and in sentences. Acoustic measurements were made of vocalic duration, and of the first and second formants at syllable center and voicing offset. The predicted acoustic correlates of syllable-final voicing were observed across speakers: vocalic segments were shorter and first formants were higher in words with voiceless, rather than voiced, final stops. In addition, the second formant was found to differ depending on the voicing of the final stop for all speakers. It was concluded that by 5 years of age children produce words ending in stops with the same overall gestural organization as adults. However, some age-related differences were observed for jaw gestures, and variability for all measures was greater for children than for adults. These results suggest that children are still refining their organization of articulatory gestures past the age of 7 years. Finally, context effects (isolation or sentence) showed that the acoustic correlates of syllable-final voicing are attenuated when words are produced in sentences, rather than in isolation.

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