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Development of stop consonants in three- to six-year-old Mandarin-speaking children

  • Jing YANG (a1)

This study compared the temporal measurements of stop consonants in 29 three- to six-year-old Mandarin-speaking children and 12 Mandarin-speaking adults. Each participant produced 18 Mandarin disyllabic words which contained six stop consonants /p, pʰ, t, tʰ, k, kʰ/ each followed by three vowels /a, i, u/ at the word-initial position in the first syllable. The temporal measurements of VOT, overall burst duration, average duration per burst, number of bursts, and VOT-lag duration were obtained. Although adult-like short-lag VOTs were achieved in all children, the long-lag VOTs were widespread in the younger group and gradually developed to a concentrated distribution in the older children. Further analysis of the burst and VOT-lag revealed that these children tended to produce shorter average duration per burst and longer VOT-lag than the adults. These results indicate that children in this age range may not have developed adult-like laryngeal–oral timing pattern and airflow control for stop production.

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Jing Yang, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Central Arkansas, 201 Donaghey Ave, Conway AR 72035. tel: 501-450-5486.

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Journal of Child Language
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