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Developmental Trajectory for Production of Prosody: Lexical Stress Contrastivity in Children Ages 3 to 7 Years and in Adults
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, ISSN 1092-4388, E-ISSN 1558-9102, Vol. 55, no 6, 1822-1835 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Accurate production of lexical stress within English polysyllabic words is critical for intelligibility and is affected in many speech-language disorders. However, models of speech production remain underspecified with regard to lexical stress. In this study, the authors report a large-scale acoustic investigation of lexical stress production in typically developing Australian English-speaking children ages 3-7 years (n = 73) compared with young adults (n = 24).

Method: Participants named pictures of highly familiar strong-weak and weak-strong polysyllabic words. Of 388 productions, 325 met criteria for acoustic measurement. Relative vowel duration, peak intensity, and peak f(0) over the first two syllables were measured.

Result: Lexical stress was marked consistently by duration and intensity but not f(0). Lexical stress on strong-weak words was adultlike by 3 years. All 3 measures showed significant differences between adults and children for weak-strong words still present at 7 years.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that protracted development of weak-strong stress production reflects physiological constraints on producing short articulatory durations and rising intensity contours. Findings validate treatment that is centered on strong-weak stress production for children >= 3 years with dysprosody. Although intervention for the production of weak-strong words may be initiated before age 7 years, reference to normative acoustic data is preferable to relying on perceptual judgments of accuracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2012. Vol. 55, no 6, 1822-1835 p.
Keyword [en]
lexical stress, prosody, speech production, children, development
National Category
Clinical Medicine General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-67071DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0257)ISI: 000314531600017OAI: diva2:611223
Available from: 2013-03-15 Created: 2013-03-12 Last updated: 2013-03-15Bibliographically approved

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van Doorn, Jan
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Speech and Language Therapy
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