Grammatical Morphology and Perception of Synthetic and Natural Speech in Children With Specific Language Impairments Studies investigating the relationship between the use of inflectional morphology and speech-perception abilities in children with SLI traditionally have employed synthetic speech stimuli. The purpose of this study was to replicate the findings reported in Leonard, McGregor, and Allen (1992)  with an older group of children with SLI and to ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2002
Grammatical Morphology and Perception of Synthetic and Natural Speech in Children With Specific Language Impairments
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julia L. Evans, PhD
    Department of Communicative Disorders Waisman Center University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Kert Viele
    Department of Statistics University of Kentucky Lexington
  • Robert E. Kass
    Department of Statistics Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
  • Feng Tang
    Department of Statistics Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA
  • Contact author: Julia L. Evans, PhD, Waisman Research Center, Room 445, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53705.
    Contact author: Julia L. Evans, PhD, Waisman Research Center, Room 445, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53705.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: jevans2@facstaff/wisc.edu
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2002
Grammatical Morphology and Perception of Synthetic and Natural Speech in Children With Specific Language Impairments
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2002, Vol. 45, 494-504. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/039)
History: Received August 2, 2001 , Accepted January 22, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2002, Vol. 45, 494-504. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/039)
History: Received August 2, 2001; Accepted January 22, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 18

Studies investigating the relationship between the use of inflectional morphology and speech-perception abilities in children with SLI traditionally have employed synthetic speech stimuli. The purpose of this study was to replicate the findings reported in Leonard, McGregor, and Allen (1992)  with an older group of children with SLI and to determine if the pattern of deficits seen for synthetic speech extends to perception of natural speech stimuli. The speech-perception abilities of 27 children between the ages of 6;11 and 8;11 (15 SLI and 12 NL) were compared using natural and synthetic versions of the [das]-[da∫], [dabiba]-[dabuba], and [i]-[u] contrast pairs originally used in Leonard et al. The findings reported by Leonard et al. were replicated with synthetic speech but not for the natural speech. Use of inflectional morphology in obligatory contexts by the children with SLI was not significantly correlated with their perception abilities for any of the natural or synthetic speech-contrast pairs. Further, although both groups' ability to maintain the target contrast in memory declined over the span of the trials for all target contrasts for both natural and synthetic speech, the rate of decline did not differ significantly between the SLI and NL groups. Findings are discussed with respect to possible deficits in linking phonological representations to grammatical representations in children with SLI.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by NIDCD Research Grant 5K08-DC900068 (Computational Models of Language Disorders) from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, to Dr. Evans and by Grant CA54852-08 from the National Institutes of Health to Dr. Kass. The authors would like to thank Dr. Laurence Leonard for his kindness and generosity in sharing the synthesized speech stimuli files and to the children in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan area who participated in the study.
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