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Attempted sounds are sometimes not: an expanded view of phonological selection and avoidance*

  • Richard G. Schwartz (a1), Laurence B. Leonard (a1), Diane M. Frome Loeb (a1) and Lori A. Swanson (a1)
Abstract

Young children readily acquire new words with consonants and syllable structures already used accurately (IN words). They have more difficulty acquiring new words with consonants or syllable structures never before produced or attempted (OUT words). In the present study, we examined children's acquisition of a third type of word, containing consonants the children had attempted in the past but never produced accurately (ATTEMPTED words). IN, OUT and ATTEMPTED words and their object referents were presented to 11 young children in a series of play sessions. The children's production and comprehension of the words were then assessed. No comprehension differences among the three types of words were observed. However, ATTEMPTED words as well as OUT words were less likely to be acquired in production than IN words. Some revisions in models of child phonology are proposed to accommodate these findings.

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Audiology and Speech Sciences, Heavilon Hall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
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*

This research was supported by Grant No. NS22395 from the Public Health Service. We wish to thank the children who participated, their parents and Kathleen Sullivan for their assistance with this project.

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References
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Braine, M. (1974). On what might constitute learnable phonology. Language 50. 270–99.
Charles-Luce, J. & Luce, P. (1985). Some structural properties of words in young children. Paper presented to the Child Phonology Meeting, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
Leonard, L. B., Schwartz, R. G., Chapman, K., Rowan, L., Prelock, P., Terrell, B., Weiss, A. & Messick, C. (1982). Early lexical acquisition in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 25. 554–64.
Leonard, L. B., Schwartz, R. G., Morris, B. & Chapman, K. (1981). Factors influencing early lexical acquisition: lexical orientation and phonological composition. Child Development 51. 882–7.
Menn, L. (1976). Pattern, control, and contrast in beginning speech: a case study in the development of word form and word function. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois.
Schwartz, R. G. & Leonard, L. B. (1982). Do children pick and choose: an examination of phonological selection and avoidance in early lexical acquisition. Journal of Child Language 9. 319–36.
Tversky, A. & Hutchinson, J. (1986). Nearest neighbor analysis of psychological spaces. Psychological Review 93. 322.
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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
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