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ERIC Number: EJ1067897
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1092-4388
Quantifying the Robustness of the English Sibilant Fricative Contrast in Children
Holliday, Jeffrey J.; Reidy, Patrick F.; Beckman, Mary E.; Edwards, Jan
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, v58 n3 p622-637 Jun 2015
Purpose: Four measures of children's developing robustness of phonological contrast were compared to see how they correlated with age, vocabulary size, and adult listeners' correctness ratings. Method: Word-initial sibilant fricative productions from eighty-one 2- to 5-year-old children and 20 adults were phonetically transcribed and acoustically analyzed. Four measures of robustness of contrast were calculated for each speaker on the basis of the centroid frequency measured from each fricative token. Productions that were transcribed as correct from different children were then used as stimuli in a perception experiment in which adult listeners rated the goodness of each production. Results: Results showed that the degree of category overlap, quantified as the percentage of a child's productions whose category could be correctly predicted from the output of a mixed-effects logistic regression model, was the measure that correlated best with listeners' goodness judgments. Conclusions: Even when children's productions have been transcribed as correct, adult listeners are sensitive to within-category variation quantified by the child's degree of category overlap. Further research is needed to explore the relationship between the age of a child and adults' sensitivity to different types of within-category variation in children's speech.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). 10801 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. Tel: 800-638-8255; Fax: 301-571-0457; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD); National Science Foundation (NSF); Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01-02932; BCS-0729140; P30-HD03352; BCS-0729306