Constituent Syllable Effects in a Nonsense-Word Repetition Task Multisyllabic nonsense-word repetition tasks have been used to provide evidence on the phonological processing operations of children with language impairment, independent of their lexical knowledge (Gathercole & Baddeley, 1990; Kamhi, Catts, Mauer, Apel, & Gentry, 1988). However, recent evidence (Gathercole, Willis, Emslie, & Baddeley, 1991) and speculation (Snowling, Chiat, & ... Research Note
Research Note  |   October 01, 1993
Constituent Syllable Effects in a Nonsense-Word Repetition Task
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christine Dollaghan
    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • Maureen Biber
    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • Thomas Campbell
    Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • Contact author: Christine Dollaghan, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1109 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. E-mail: dollagha@vms.cis.pitt.edu OR dollagha@pittvms
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Notes
Research Note   |   October 01, 1993
Constituent Syllable Effects in a Nonsense-Word Repetition Task
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1993, Vol. 36, 1051-1054. doi:10.1044/jshr.3605.1051
History: Received August 17, 1992 , Accepted March 26, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1993, Vol. 36, 1051-1054. doi:10.1044/jshr.3605.1051
History: Received August 17, 1992; Accepted March 26, 1993

Multisyllabic nonsense-word repetition tasks have been used to provide evidence on the phonological processing operations of children with language impairment, independent of their lexical knowledge (Gathercole & Baddeley, 1990; Kamhi, Catts, Mauer, Apel, & Gentry, 1988). However, recent evidence (Gathercole, Willis, Emslie, & Baddeley, 1991) and speculation (Snowling, Chiat, & Hulme, 1991) suggest that the nonsense words employed in such tasks may not be equally “nonsensical.” The present investigation directly tested the effect on repetition performance of one previously uncontrolled characteristic of multisyllabic nonsense words: the lexical status (word or nonword) of their stressed syllables. Normally achieving school-age boys repeated nonsense words with lexical stressed syllables significantly more accurately than nonsense words with nonlexical stressed syllables. These results suggest the need to control, at a minimum, the lexical status of constituent syllables in constructing nonsense-word stimuli.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants DC 01328 and ES 05015. Thanks are extended to Cynthia Gaulin and Lisa LaRue for their assistance with this study. The support of Herbert Needleman and Julie Riess in recruiting subjects is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks also to two anonymous reviewers. An earlier version of this manuscript was presented at the 1992 University of Wisconsin-Madison Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders.
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