Phonology and Language Development in Italian Children: An Analysis of Production and Accuracy PurposeThe principal aims of this study were to detect phonetic measures (consonant inventory, intelligibility, frequency, and types of phonological errors) associated with lexical and morphosyntactic ability and to analyze the types of phonological processes in children with different language skills.MethodThe sample was composed of 30 children between the ages of ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2012
Phonology and Language Development in Italian Children: An Analysis of Production and Accuracy
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mirella Zanobini
    Università di Genova, Italy
  • Paola Viterbori
    Università di Genova, Italy
  • Francesca Saraceno
    Università di Genova, Italy
  • Correspondence to Mirella Zanobini: mirella.zanobini@unige.it
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Jessica Barlow
    Associate Editor: Jessica Barlow×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language
Article   |   February 01, 2012
Phonology and Language Development in Italian Children: An Analysis of Production and Accuracy
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2012, Vol. 55, 16-31. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0228)
History: Received August 18, 2010 , Revised January 26, 2011 , Accepted June 11, 2011
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2012, Vol. 55, 16-31. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0228)
History: Received August 18, 2010; Revised January 26, 2011; Accepted June 11, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

PurposeThe principal aims of this study were to detect phonetic measures (consonant inventory, intelligibility, frequency, and types of phonological errors) associated with lexical and morphosyntactic ability and to analyze the types of phonological processes in children with different language skills.

MethodThe sample was composed of 30 children between the ages of 36 and 42 months. Two tests were administered, one investigating phonological ability and one investigating general linguistic ability.

ResultsA strong relationship between phonetic measures and language performance was found. The proportion of unintelligible productions and simplified words correlated with all the linguistic measures considered. A comparison of the phonological processes used by children with low, average, and high linguistic performance showed that phonotactic structure errors discriminated better than did system errors between the three groups. In particular, the less competent talkers were more likely to delete weak syllables, omit consonants and vowels, reduce diphthongs, and make consonant harmony errors.

ConclusionsThe results emphasize the importance of phonetic measures in explaining differences in language performance and suggest the possibility of identifying children with low linguistic competence on the basis of phonetic measures, such as the level of intelligibility and the type of errors committed.

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