Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Young Children's Speech This study examined the acoustic correlates of stress in children’s productions of familiar words. Previous research has employed experimental words rather than familiar words to examine children’s phonetic marking of stress, or has not adequately controlled for phonetic environment. Subjects in this study included 22 children, aged 18–30 months, and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1995
Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Young Children's Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Margaret Kehoe
    University of Washington Seattle
  • Carol Stoel-Gammon
    University of Washington Seattle
  • Eugene H. Buder
    University of Washington Seattle
  • Contact author: Margaret M. Kehoe, MSc, PhC, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, 1417 N.E. 42nd Street, JG-15, Seattle, WA 98195. E-mail: csg@u.washington. edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1995
Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Young Children's Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1995, Vol. 38, 338-350. doi:10.1044/jshr.3802.338
History: Received June 20, 1994 , Accepted November 3, 1994
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1995, Vol. 38, 338-350. doi:10.1044/jshr.3802.338
History: Received June 20, 1994; Accepted November 3, 1994

This study examined the acoustic correlates of stress in children’s productions of familiar words. Previous research has employed experimental words rather than familiar words to examine children’s phonetic marking of stress, or has not adequately controlled for phonetic environment. Subjects in this study included 22 children, aged 18–30 months, and 6 adults. Fundamental frequency, duration, and amplitude measures were extracted from stressed and unstressed syllables in two types of comparisons: one that controlled phonetic environment and syllable position (interword) and one that measured the relative effects of stress within the same word (intraword). When the tokens were analyzed on the basis of target stress pattern, results revealed no differences between adults and children in their acoustic marking of stress. Listener judgments showed that approximately 30% of children’s two-syllable productions were coded unreliably or were perceived as inaccurately stressed. Overall findings indicate that children control fundamental frequency, amplitude, and duration to derive perceptually identifiable stress contrasts in the majority of their productions but they are not completely adult-like in their marking of stress.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by grants from NIDCD: DC00033 and DC00525. The authors wish to thank David Snow for his significant contribution toward an earlier version of this study; Marilyn Vihman, Bruce Smith, and two other anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on the manuscript.
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