Intonation Abilities of Children With Speech and Language Impairments Intonation has been little studied in children with speech and language impairments, although deficits in related aspects of prosody have been hypothesized to underlie specific language impairment. In this study a new intonation battery, the Profiling Elements of Prosodic Systems-Child version (PEPS-C), was administered to 18 children with speech and/or ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2003
Intonation Abilities of Children With Speech and Language Impairments
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Bill Wells
    University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K.
  • Sue Peppé
    Queen Margaret, University College, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Contact author: Bill Wells, DPhil, Department of Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TA, U.K.
    Contact author: Bill Wells, DPhil, Department of Human Communication Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TA, U.K.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: bill.wells@sheffield.ac.uk
Article Information
Language Disorders / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2003
Intonation Abilities of Children With Speech and Language Impairments
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2003, Vol. 46, 5-20. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/001)
History: Received January 30, 2002 , Accepted July 22, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2003, Vol. 46, 5-20. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/001)
History: Received January 30, 2002; Accepted July 22, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 55

Intonation has been little studied in children with speech and language impairments, although deficits in related aspects of prosody have been hypothesized to underlie specific language impairment. In this study a new intonation battery, the Profiling Elements of Prosodic Systems-Child version (PEPS-C), was administered to 18 children with speech and/or language impairments (LI). PEPS-C comprises 16 tasks (8 x 8, Input x Output) tapping phonetic and functional aspects of intonation in four areas: grammar, affect, interaction, and pragmatics. Scores were compared to a chronological age (CA) matched group of 28 children and a group of 18 children matched for language comprehension (LC). Measures of language comprehension, expressive language, nonverbal intelligence, and segmental phonology were also taken. The LI group did not score significantly below the LC group on any PEPS-C task. On 5 of 16 tasks, the LI group scored significantly lower than the CA group. In the LI group, there were just 2 significant correlations between a PEPS-C task and 1 of the nonprosodic measures. The results support the view that intonation is relatively discrete from other levels of speech and language while suggesting some specific areas of possible vulnerability: auditory memory for longer prosodic strings and the use of prosody for pragmatic/interactional purposes.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by award R000222809 from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC; U.K.) to Bill Wells and Sue Peppé, both then at the Department of Human Communication Science, University College London. Preparation of this article has been supported by an ESRC Senior Research Fellowship to Bill Wells (R000271063). We are grateful to the children who participated in this research, to the speech-language pathologists, teachers, and parents who facilitated their participation, and especially to Harriet Lang for assistance with recording and data collection.
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