In this study the effect of phonotactic constraints concerning word-initial consonant clusters in children with delayed phonological acquisition was explored. Twelve German-speaking children took part (mean age 5;1). The spontaneous speech of all children was characterized by the regular appearance of the error patterns fronting, e.g., Kuh "cow" /ku:/ → [tu:], or stopping, e.g., Schaf "sheep" /∫a:f/ → [ta:f], which were inappropriate for their chronological age. The children were asked to produce words (picture naming task, word repetition task) with initial consonant clusters, in which the application of the error patterns would violate phonotactic sequence constraints. For instance, if fronting would apply in /kl-/, e.g., Kleid "dress", it would be realized as the phontactically illegal consonant cluster /tl-/. The results indicate that phonotactic constraints affect word production in children with delayed phonological developments. Surprisingly, we found that children with fronting produced the critical consonants correctly significantly more often in word-initial consonant clusters than in words in which they appeared as singleton onsets. In addition, the results provide evidence for a similar developmental trajectory of acquisition in children with typical development and in children with delayed phonological acquisition.
- Children with delayed phonological acquisition
- Phonotactic constraints
- Word-initial consonant clusters