Speech and Language Production at Age 2 Evidence for Tradeoffs Between Linguistic and Phonetic Processing Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1991
Speech and Language Production at Age 2
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lauren K. Nelson
    Ohio State University
  • Harold R. Bauer
    Ohio State University
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to Lauren K. Nelson, Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Northern Iowa, Communication Arts Center, Cedar Falls, IA 50614.
  • Currently affiliated with the University of Northern Iowa
    Currently affiliated with the University of Northern Iowa×
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1991
Speech and Language Production at Age 2
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 879-892. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.879
History: Received August 21, 1989 , Accepted November 2, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 879-892. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.879
History: Received August 21, 1989; Accepted November 2, 1990

The purpose of this study was to explore how 2-year-old children manage the relationship between phonetic production and production of word combinations in their spontaneous speech. The subjects were 5 normally developing 2-year-olds who were participants in an ongoing longitudinal study of speech and language acquisition. Three measures were used to estimate phonetic production skills in the children’s spontaneous speech samples. These included a measure of the accuracy of consonant production (Percentage of Consonants Correct), and two estimators of phonetic complexity (phonetic products for utterance and word length units). Regression analyses were used to determine the relationship between complexity of word combinations, as measured by length of utterance in morphemes and a propositional complexity analysis, and utilization of phonetic production skills. The results revealed modest tradeoffs between complexity of word combinations and accuracy of consonant production for 2 of the 5 children. The results also showed tradeoffs between complexity of word combinations and phonetic complexity of individual lexical items (phonetic product for words) for 4 of the 5 children. As the complexity of these 4 children’s multiword combinations increased, the phonetic complexity of individual lexical items decreased. These results are consistent with synergistic theories of language acquisition and language processing that emphasize dynamic tradeoffs in interactions among language processing levels in a limited capacity production system.

Acknowledgments
The data analysis for this research was supported in part by faculty seed grants from The Ohio State University, Office of Research and Graduate Studies to each of the authors. The data collection was supported in part by Public Health Service research grant N516733 and Biomedical Support Grant S07RR05834 to Boys Town National Institute, where the second author had an appointment. We wish to thank R. Kent and M. McGovern for help with data collection, and A. Murray for help with testing.
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