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Academic Paper

Title: Density, frequency and the expressive phonology of children with phonological delay
Author: Judith A. Gierut
Institution: Indiana University
Author: Michele L. Morrisette
Institution: Indiana University
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Phonology; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: The effect of word-level variables on expressive phonology has not been widely studied, although the properties of words likely bear on the emergence of sound structure (Stoel-Gammon, 2011). Eight preschoolers, diagnosed with phonological delay, were assigned to treatment to experimentally induce gains in expressive phonology. Erred sounds were taught using stimulus words that varied orthogonally in neighborhood density and word frequency as the independent variables. Generalization was the dependent variable, defined as production accuracy of treated and untreated (erred) sounds. Blocked comparisons showed that dense neighborhoods triggered greater generalization, but frequency did not have a clear differential effect. Orthogonal comparisons revealed graded effects, with frequent words from dense neighborhoods being optimal for generalization. The results contrast with prior literature, which has reported a sparse neighborhood advantage for children with phonological delay. There is a suggestion that children with phonological delay require greater than usual cue redundancy and convergence to prompt expressive phonological learning.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 39, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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