Children’s Identification and Reproduction of /w/, /r/, and /l/ The purpose of this study was to examine preschool children’s identification and reproduction of the speech sounds /w/, /r/, and /l/, and to compare the performance of children and adults in these tasks. The stimuli consisted of three sets of synthetically produced CVC syllables that ranged in equally spaced formant ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 01, 1969
Children’s Identification and Reproduction of /w/, /r/, and /l/
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paula Menyuk
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Suzan Anderson
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 01, 1969
Children’s Identification and Reproduction of /w/, /r/, and /l/
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1969, Vol. 12, 39-52. doi:10.1044/jshr.1201.39
History: Received July 15, 1968
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 1969, Vol. 12, 39-52. doi:10.1044/jshr.1201.39
History: Received July 15, 1968

The purpose of this study was to examine preschool children’s identification and reproduction of the speech sounds /w/, /r/, and /l/, and to compare the performance of children and adults in these tasks. The stimuli consisted of three sets of synthetically produced CVC syllables that ranged in equally spaced formant contour changes from “light” to “white” /wait/, “light” to “write,” and “white” to “write.” Subjects were asked to reproduce the word they heard, and to identify it by pressing a button under a picture of the word. Neither children nor adults observed sharp boundaries between the speech sounds in this set. The responses of children were different in the reproduction and identification tasks. More children observed speech sound boundaries in the identification than in the repetition task, and significantly more frequently produced /w/ in response to the stimuli than the other two sounds, but they did not identify /w/ significantly more often. These results were not found with the adult population. We hypothesized that the developmental sequence in the acquisition of the members of this speech sound set is, first, the ability to identify differences between the members of the set and, second, the ability to reproduce the differences.

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