Regional Dialect Variation in the Vowel Systems of Typically Developing Children PurposeTo investigate regional dialect variation in the vowel systems of typically developing 8- to 12-year-old children.MethodThirteen vowels in isolated h_d words were produced by 94 children and 93 adults (males and females). All participants spoke American English and were born and raised in 1 of 3 distinct dialect regions in ... Article
Article  |   April 01, 2011
Regional Dialect Variation in the Vowel Systems of Typically Developing Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ewa Jacewicz
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Robert Allen Fox
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Joseph Salmons
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Correspondence to Ewa Jacewicz: jacewicz.1@osu.edu
  • Editor: Anne Smith
    Editor: Anne Smith×
  • Associate Editor: Melanie Matthies
    Associate Editor: Melanie Matthies×
Article Information
Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   April 01, 2011
Regional Dialect Variation in the Vowel Systems of Typically Developing Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2011, Vol. 54, 448-470. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0161)
History: Received June 11, 2010 , Accepted September 8, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2011, Vol. 54, 448-470. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0161)
History: Received June 11, 2010; Accepted September 8, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

PurposeTo investigate regional dialect variation in the vowel systems of typically developing 8- to 12-year-old children.

MethodThirteen vowels in isolated h_d words were produced by 94 children and 93 adults (males and females). All participants spoke American English and were born and raised in 1 of 3 distinct dialect regions in the United States: western North Carolina (Southern dialect), central Ohio (Midland dialect), and southeastern Wisconsin (Northern Midwestern dialect). Acoustic analysis included formant frequencies (F1 and F2) measured at 5 equidistant time points in a vowel and formant movement (trajectory length).

ResultsChildren’s productions showed many dialect-specific features comparable to those in adult speakers, both in terms of vowel dispersion patterns and formant movement. Different features were also found, including systemic vowel changes, significant monophthongization of selected vowels, and greater formant movement in diphthongs.

ConclusionsThe acoustic results provide evidence for regional distinctiveness in children’s vowel systems. Children acquire not only the systemic relations among vowels but also their dialect-specific patterns of formant dynamics. Directing attention to the regional variation in the production of American English vowels, this work may prove helpful in better understanding and interpreting the development of vowel categories and vowel systems in children.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Research Grant R01 DC006871.
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