Syllable Onsets II Three-Element Clusters in Phonological Treatment Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2001
Syllable Onsets II
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Judith A. Gierut, PhD
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, 200 South Jordan Avenue, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-7002
  • Annette Hust Champion
    Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, 200 South Jordan Avenue, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-7002
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: gierut@indiana.edu
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2001
Syllable Onsets II
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2001, Vol. 44, 886-904. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/071)
History: Received July 10, 2000 , Accepted March 7, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2001, Vol. 44, 886-904. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/071)
History: Received July 10, 2000; Accepted March 7, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 28

This study extends the application of the Sonority Sequencing Principle, as reported in J. A. Gierut (1999), to acquisition of word-initial 3-element clusters by children with functional phonological delays (ages in years;months: 3;4 to 6;3). The representational structure of 3-element clusters is complex and unusual because it consists of an s-adjunct plus a branching onset, which respectively violate and conform to the Sonority Sequencing Principle. Given the representational asymmetry, it is unclear how children might learn these clusters in treatment or whether such treatment may even be effective. Results of a single-subject staggered multiple-baseline experiment demonstrated that children learned the treated 3-element cluster in treatment but showed no further generalization to similar types of (asymmetric) onsets. Treatment of 3-element clusters did, however, result in widespread generalization to untreated singletons, including affricates. Moreover, there was differential generalization to untreated 2-element clusters, with individual differences being traced to the composition of children’s singleton inventories. Theoretically, the results suggest a segmental-syllabic interface that holds predictive potential for determining the effectiveness and effects of clinical treatment as based on the notion of linguistic complexity.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by Grant DC01694 from the National Institutes of Health to Indiana University. We are grateful for input and discussion provided by Daniel Dinnsen, Michele Morrisette, Kathleen O’Connor, and Holly Storkel. Carol Stoel-Gammon, Conxita Lleó, and two anonymous reviewers provided insightful comments and suggestions in the editorial review. Michele Morrisette and Laura McGarrity assisted with interjudge transcription reliability. Portions of this paper were presented at the 1998 Boston University Conference on Language Development and the 1999 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention.
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