Unusual Phonological Behavior and the Avoidance of Homonymy in Children Young children sometimes make use of unusual phonological patterns even when they already possess the appropriate sound or a suitable substitute in their phonological systems. In this investigation, we attempted to determine whether in such instances unusual sound changes enable children to avoid potential homonymy with other words in their ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 01, 1989
Unusual Phonological Behavior and the Avoidance of Homonymy in Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    Purdue University
  • George D. Allen
    Purdue University
  • Lori A. Swanson
    Purdue University
  • Diane Frome Loeb
    Purdue University
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 01, 1989
Unusual Phonological Behavior and the Avoidance of Homonymy in Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1989, Vol. 32, 583-590. doi:10.1044/jshr.3203.583
History: Received May 6, 1988 , Accepted January 9, 1989
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1989, Vol. 32, 583-590. doi:10.1044/jshr.3203.583
History: Received May 6, 1988; Accepted January 9, 1989

Young children sometimes make use of unusual phonological patterns even when they already possess the appropriate sound or a suitable substitute in their phonological systems. In this investigation, we attempted to determine whether in such instances unusual sound changes enable children to avoid potential homonymy with other words in their lexicons. Novel words were presented to children, half serving as potential homonyms, half as unlikely homonyms. The children's acquisition of these words was monitored. For a group of normally developing children, unusual sound changes were found to be more frequent in the words with the potential for homonymy. In contrast, a group of children with specific language impairment showed the same degree of unusual usage for both types of words. The findings suggest that children with specific language impairment are especially limited in their ability to capitalize on the phonetic regularities of the language.

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