Does early phonetic differentiation predict later phonetic development? Evidence from a longitudinal study of /ɹ/ development in preschool children

Benjamin Munson, Mara K. Logerquist, Hyuna Kim, Alisha Martell, Jan Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: We evaluated whether children whose inaccurate /ɹ/ productions showed evidence phonetic differentiation with /w/ at 3.5–4.5 years of age improved in /ɹ/ production over the next year more than children whose inaccurate productions did not show evidence of such differentiation. We also examined whether speech perception, inhibitory control, and vocabulary size predicted growth in /ɹ/. Method: A set of typically developing, monolingual English-speaking preschool children (n = 136) produced tokens of /ɹ/− and /w/−initial words at two time points (TPs), at which they were 39–52 and 51–65 months old. Children’s productions of /ɹ/ and /w/ were narrowly phonetically transcribed. Children’s productions at the earlier time point were rated by naïve listeners using a visual analog scale measure of phoneme goodness; these ratings were used to assess the degree of phonetic differentiation between /ɹ/ and /w/. Results: Accuracy for both phonemes varied considerably at both TPs. The growth in accuracy of /ɹ/ between the two TPs was not predicted by any individual-differences measures, nor by the degree of differentiation between /ɹ/ and /w/at the earlier time point. Conclusion: Low vocabulary size, low inhibitory control, poor speech perception, and the absence of early phonetic differentiation are not necessarily limiting factors in predicting /ɹ/ growthinindividualchildrenintheagerange we studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2417-2437
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume64
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 16 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 DC02932 to Edwards (lead PI), Munson (MPI), and Mary E. Beckman (MPI); by Daniel L. McFadden and Beverlee T. Simbioli Lab Research Awards to Logerquist and Martell; and by University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grants to Katie Bartel and Elizabeth Batman. We are very grateful to all of the research assistants on the Learning to Talk Project for their work in collecting the child talker data. We are grateful to the following people for invaluable assistance with data coding and analysis, and VAS data collection: Katie Bartel, Elizabeth Bat-man, and Felicia Herlevi. Portions of this work were conducted as the second author?s 2018 summa cum laude thesis at University of Minnesota?Twin Cities, the third author?s 2016 M.S. thesis at University of Wisconsin?Madison, and the fourth authors? 2017 summa cum laude thesis at University of Minnesota?Twin Cities. We thank the individuals who contributed to those documents.

Funding Information:
This work was funded by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 DC02932 to Edwards (lead PI), Munson (MPI), and Mary E. Beckman (MPI); by Daniel L. McFadden and Beverlee T. Simbioli Lab Research Awards to Logerquist and Martell; and by University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grants to Katie Bartel and Elizabeth Batman. We are very grateful to all of the research assistants on the Learning to Talk Project for their work in collecting the child talker data. We are grateful to the following people for invaluable assistance with data coding and analysis, and VAS data collection: Katie Bartel, Elizabeth Batman, and Felicia Herlevi. Portions of this work were conducted as the second author’s 2018 summa cum laude thesis at University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, the third author’s 2016 M.S. thesis at University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the fourth authors’ 2017 summa cum laude thesis at University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. We thank the individuals who contributed to those documents.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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