Self-organisation in phonological development: templates in Brazilian and European Portuguese

Susana Correia, Maria de Fátima Baia

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This study investigates the emergence of early phonological templates in the linguistic development of two children, one acquiring Brazilian Portuguese (BP) and the other acquiring the European variety (EP). We follow the dynamic perspective of phonological development, which understands language development as a process of evolution characterised by variability. According to this view, although there is instability in development there are adjustments in the system due to the self-organization principle, which can be understood as a spontaneous pattern formation. The Whole-Word Phonology/Templates model is adopted in the analysis of early phonological patterns. The model claims that the organising principle in early phonological development is the whole word, not features or segments. These early word patterns are understood as templates, i.e. systematic shapes that facilitate expansion of the lexicon. A preliminary longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the early templates in BP and EP. We observed variability between the subjects regarding the type of template. In addition, we observed that moments of use and disuse of templates vary from child to child. The preliminary results suggest that there are templates operating in the variability in phonological development. Also, the manifestation of a template characterises instability in the development. In moments of instability, templates are formed due to the principle of self-organisation, namely the spontaneous formation of patterns. The system organises itself due to its inherent ability to find patterns from some type of interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Symposium on Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 2017
EditorsElena Babatsouli
Place of PublicationChania/Greece
PublisherInstitute of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-618-82351-1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational Symposium of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech - Great Arsenali Conference Cente, Chania, Greece
Duration: 4 Sep 20177 Sep 2017


ConferenceInternational Symposium of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech
Abbreviated titleISMBS 2017
Internet address


  • Brazilian and European Portuguese
  • Dynamic systems
  • Self-organisation
  • Templates


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