Processing of Phonological Variation in Children With Hearing Loss: Compensation for English Place Assimilation in Connected Speech Purpose In this study, the authors explored phonological processing in connected speech in children with hearing loss. Specifically, the authors investigated these children's sensitivity to English place assimilation, by which alveolar consonants like t and n can adapt to following sounds (e.g., the word ten can be realized as tem ... Research Note
Research Note  |   June 01, 2014
Processing of Phonological Variation in Children With Hearing Loss: Compensation for English Place Assimilation in Connected Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Katrin Skoruppa
    University of Essex, United Kingdom
  • Stuart Rosen
    University College London, United Kingdom
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication×
  • Correspondence to Katrin Skoruppa: kskoruppa@gmail.com
  • Associate Editor: Rachael Holt
    Associate Editor: Rachael Holt×
  • Editor: Craig Champlin
    Editor: Craig Champlin×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing / Research Note
Research Note   |   June 01, 2014
Processing of Phonological Variation in Children With Hearing Loss: Compensation for English Place Assimilation in Connected Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 1127-1134. doi:10.1044/2013_JSLHR-H-12-0371
History: Received November 19, 2012 , Revised July 27, 2013 , Accepted October 3, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2014, Vol. 57, 1127-1134. doi:10.1044/2013_JSLHR-H-12-0371
History: Received November 19, 2012; Revised July 27, 2013; Accepted October 3, 2013

Purpose In this study, the authors explored phonological processing in connected speech in children with hearing loss. Specifically, the authors investigated these children's sensitivity to English place assimilation, by which alveolar consonants like t and n can adapt to following sounds (e.g., the word ten can be realized as tem in the phrase ten pounds).

Method Twenty-seven 4- to 8-year-old children with moderate to profound hearing impairments, using hearing aids (n = 10) or cochlear implants (n = 17), and 19 children with normal hearing participated. They were asked to choose between pictures of familiar (e.g., pen) and unfamiliar objects (e.g., astrolabe) after hearing t- and n-final words in sentences. Standard pronunciations (Can you find the pen dear?) and assimilated forms in correct (… pem please?) and incorrect contexts (… pem dear?) were presented.

Results As expected, the children with normal hearing chose the familiar object more often for standard forms and correct assimilations than for incorrect assimilations. Thus, they are sensitive to word-final place changes and compensate for assimilation. However, the children with hearing impairment demonstrated reduced sensitivity to word-final place changes, and no compensation for assimilation. Restricted analyses revealed that children with hearing aids who showed good perceptual skills compensated for assimilation in plosives only.

Acknowledgments
This work was funded by Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship FP7 Grant agreement nb. 253782 and by British Academy Small Grant SRG 1/2009 to the first author. We are grateful to Célia Demarchi and to Sam Evans for stimulus recording and to Deborah Abrahams for help with transcribing and scoring children's productions. We would also like to thank all parents and children for participating, and all audiologists, speech and language therapists, teachers, special educational needs service providers, and hearing impairment service coordinators for their invaluable help with participant recruitment.
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