Children’s acquisition of English onset and coda /l/: articulatory evidence

Susan Lin, Katherine Demuth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The goal of this study was to better understand how and when onset /l/ (leap) and coda /l/ (peel) are acquired by children by examining both the articulations involved and adults’ perceptions of the produced segments. Method: Twenty-five typically developing Australian English–speaking children aged 3;0 (years;months) to 7;11 participated in an elicited imitation task, during which audio, video, and lingual ultrasound images were collected. Transcribers perceptually rated audio, whereas video and ultrasound images were visually examined for the presence of adult-like articulations. Results: Data from this study establish that for Australian English–learning children, coda/l /s are acquired later than onset /l/s, and older children produce greater proportions of adultlike /l/s in both onset and coda positions, roughly following established norms for American English–speaking children. However, although perceptibility of coda /l/s was correlated with their articulations, onset /l/s were nearly uniformly perceived as adultlike despite substantial variation in the articulations used to produce them. Conclusions: The disparity in the production and perception of children’s singleton onset /l/s is linked to both physiological and phonological development. Suggestions are made for future research to tease these factors apart.

LanguageEnglish
Pages13-27
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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evidence
speaking
video
imitation
Tongue
Coda
Onset
Learning
Articulation
learning
Australian English
Ultrasound
Phonological Development
American English
Proportion
Imitation

Cite this

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abstract = "Purpose: The goal of this study was to better understand how and when onset /l/ (leap) and coda /l/ (peel) are acquired by children by examining both the articulations involved and adults’ perceptions of the produced segments. Method: Twenty-five typically developing Australian English–speaking children aged 3;0 (years;months) to 7;11 participated in an elicited imitation task, during which audio, video, and lingual ultrasound images were collected. Transcribers perceptually rated audio, whereas video and ultrasound images were visually examined for the presence of adult-like articulations. Results: Data from this study establish that for Australian English–learning children, coda/l /s are acquired later than onset /l/s, and older children produce greater proportions of adultlike /l/s in both onset and coda positions, roughly following established norms for American English–speaking children. However, although perceptibility of coda /l/s was correlated with their articulations, onset /l/s were nearly uniformly perceived as adultlike despite substantial variation in the articulations used to produce them. Conclusions: The disparity in the production and perception of children’s singleton onset /l/s is linked to both physiological and phonological development. Suggestions are made for future research to tease these factors apart.",
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Children’s acquisition of English onset and coda /l/ : articulatory evidence. / Lin, Susan; Demuth, Katherine.

In: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2015, p. 13-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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