Distributional Characteristics of VOT in Children's Voiceless Aspirated Stops and Interpretation of Developmental Trends Numerous researchers have measured voice onset time (VOT) in children. Authors attempting to trace developmental trends in consonant voicing have frequently framed their hypotheses in terms of how children's VOT means and/or standard deviations compare to adult norms. However, data from previous studies suggest that children's VOTs may not be ... Research Note
Research Note  |   October 01, 2001
Distributional Characteristics of VOT in Children's Voiceless Aspirated Stops and Interpretation of Developmental Trends
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura L. Koenig
    Haskins Laboratories New Haven, CT
  • Contact author: Laura L. Koenig, PhD, Haskins Laboratories, 270 Crown Street, New Haven, CT, 06511.
    Contact author: Laura L. Koenig, PhD, Haskins Laboratories, 270 Crown Street, New Haven, CT, 06511.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: koenig@haskins.yale.edu
  • Currently also affiliated with New York University
    Currently also affiliated with New York University×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Notes
Research Note   |   October 01, 2001
Distributional Characteristics of VOT in Children's Voiceless Aspirated Stops and Interpretation of Developmental Trends
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2001, Vol. 44, 1058-1068. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/084)
History: Received November 11, 2000 , Accepted June 5, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2001, Vol. 44, 1058-1068. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/084)
History: Received November 11, 2000; Accepted June 5, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

Numerous researchers have measured voice onset time (VOT) in children. Authors attempting to trace developmental trends in consonant voicing have frequently framed their hypotheses in terms of how children's VOT means and/or standard deviations compare to adult norms. However, data from previous studies suggest that children's VOTs may not be normally distributed. Specifically, rightward skew is observed in the voiceless aspirated stops, such that mean values exceed the medians. The current work presents detailed distributional analyses of VOTs in /p, t/ from 7 five-year-old children and 14 adults. Distributional non-normality was common in both the adult and child data, as measured by Shapiro and Wilk's W statistic. The children showed an insignificant but consistent tendency towards higher values of skew than the adults and greater differences between VOT mean and median values. The results suggest that theories of VOT development should not be based solely on means and standard deviations, but need to address the distributional characteristics of the data more fully.

Acknowledgments
The work reported here was supported by NIH grants DC-00865 and DC-00121 to Haskins Laboratories. Portions of these data were presented in an unpublished doctoral thesis submitted to the Department of Speech and Hearing at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center. Special thanks to Marsha Zlatin Laufer for her comments on an earlier version of this article. Thanks also to Alice Faber and Melanie Campbell for assistance in recording the child subjects; to Sylvia Yudicé Walters for reviewing the children’s speech samples; to Einar Mencl and Len Katz for advice on statistical treatments; to my subjects and the parents of my child subjects; and to Arthur S. Abramson, Katherine S. Harris, Leigh Lisker, Anders Löfqvist, Christine Sapienza, Richard G. Schwartz, and three anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.
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