Planning of Hiatus-breaking inserted /ɹ/ in the speech of Australian english–Speaking children

Ivan Yuen*, Felicity Cox, Katherine Demuth

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: Non-rhotic varieties of English often use /ɹ/ insertion as a connected speech process to separate heterosyllabic V1. V2 hiatus contexts. However, there has been little research on children’s development of this strategy. This study investigated whether children use /ɹ/ insertion and, if so, whether hiatus-breaking /ɹ/ can be considered planned, as evidenced by F3 lowering on V1. Method: Thirteen Australian English–speaking children (7 girls, 6 boys; mean age 6;1 [years;months]) participated in an elicited production task. The stimuli included carrier sentences containing 4 test words (linking /ɹ/ context: door, floor; intrusive /ɹ/ context: paw, claw) followed by of (e.g., “This is the paw of the cat”). After familiarization containing auditory and picture prompts, children produced test sentences upon presentation of picture prompts alone. Results: Eight children produced /ɹ/ insertion; the others used (some) glottalization. The incidence of /ɹ/ did not vary across linking or intrusive contexts, and inserted /ɹ/ was associated with F3 lowering at V1 onset relative to control items without /ɹ/. Conclusion: Six-year-old Australian English–speaking children who use /ɹ/ insertion show evidence of planning ahead and inserting /ɹ/ as a segment. The implications for the development of speech-planning processes and phonological and lexical representations are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)826-835
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2017


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