Preschoolers’ Imitation of Intonation Contours This study evaluated normally developing preschoolers’ imitation of intonation contours modeled in a sentence elicitation task. Three intonation contours (declarative, interrogative, and monotone) were presented to 3- and 5-year-old children. Acoustic analyses using the Visi-Pitch and Apple ile computer system, along with perceptual ratings, measured the extent to which preschoolers ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1993
Preschoolers’ Imitation of Intonation Contours
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Diane Frome Loeb
    Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
  • George D. Allen
    Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: Diane Frome Loeb, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing: Sciences and Disorders, 3044 Dole, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Language Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1993
Preschoolers’ Imitation of Intonation Contours
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1993, Vol. 36, 4-13. doi:10.1044/jshr.3601.04
History: Received September 16, 1991 , Accepted May 19, 1992
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1993, Vol. 36, 4-13. doi:10.1044/jshr.3601.04
History: Received September 16, 1991; Accepted May 19, 1992

This study evaluated normally developing preschoolers’ imitation of intonation contours modeled in a sentence elicitation task. Three intonation contours (declarative, interrogative, and monotone) were presented to 3- and 5-year-old children. Acoustic analyses using the Visi-Pitch and Apple ile computer system, along with perceptual ratings, measured the extent to which preschoolers imitated a modeled intonation contour. The results indicated that, as a group, the children were perceived to imitate or partially imitate the preceding intonation contour modeled by the adult. The 5-year-old children imitated modeled contours more frequently than did the 3-year-old children. In contrast, the 3-year-old children primarily partially imitated the intonation contours. Further analysis revealed that between-group differences were due largely to accuracy in imitating the interrogative contour. These findings establish reference data on normal children and implicate the use of both acoustic and perceptual analyses in order to develop and interpret intervention strategies aimed at children with prosodic problems.

Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Jennifer Windsor. We appreciate John Saxman, Kim Wilcox, John Michel, Barbara S. W. Solomon, and three anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. We are also indebted to the parents and the children who participated in this study.
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