Rate and Phonological Variation in Preschool Children: Effects of Modeling and Directed Influence PurposeTo explore the effect of modeling and explicit elicitation of slow and accurately produced speech in typically developing preschool children. Optional phonological reductions (e.g., deleted final stops) and changes in speech rate were examined in response to an adult conversational speaker's speech style.MethodForty 3- and 4-year-olds (20 each) were tested ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2013
Rate and Phonological Variation in Preschool Children: Effects of Modeling and Directed Influence
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Catherine Torrington Eaton
    University of Maryland at College Park
  • Nan Bernstein Ratner
    University of Maryland at College Park
  • 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 Catherine Torrington Eaton: ceaton12@umd.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Megha Sundara
    Associate Editor: Megha Sundara×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Article
Research Article   |   December 01, 2013
Rate and Phonological Variation in Preschool Children: Effects of Modeling and Directed Influence
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2013, Vol. 56, 1751-1763. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0171)
History: Received March 31, 2012 , Revised September 27, 2012 , Accepted March 26, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2013, Vol. 56, 1751-1763. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0171)
History: Received March 31, 2012; Revised September 27, 2012; Accepted March 26, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

PurposeTo explore the effect of modeling and explicit elicitation of slow and accurately produced speech in typically developing preschool children. Optional phonological reductions (e.g., deleted final stops) and changes in speech rate were examined in response to an adult conversational speaker's speech style.

MethodForty 3- and 4-year-olds (20 each) were tested in 3 tasks: (a) immediate repetition of a model, (b) spontaneous speech, and (c) directed speech style (cueing to correct “sloppy” speech). In Task 1, half of each group heard fast and hypoarticulated versus slow and hyperarticulated speech for a between-group response-to-model comparison. Tasks 2 and 3 were compared within subjects.

ResultsTask 1 demonstrated that both age groups aligned with the speaker's rate and phonological variants usage when repeating a model. Tasks 2 and 3 revealed that 4-year-olds varied phonological reduction patterns according to the task demands, whereas 3-year-olds maintained consistent patterns of usage. In addition, neither group successfully realigned with the rapid speech rate in Task 3.

ConclusionsThese results contribute to an evidence base supporting the practice of modeling slow and clear speech to children with various production disorders. Further research is needed to explore the cognitive–linguistic processes underlying alignment before findings are applied to clinical populations.

Acknowledgments
We are grateful to the National Science Foundation (Grant BCS0745412) for funding this study as part of a research assistantship. We also thank Rochelle Newman for her invaluable suggestions regarding the research design and analysis. Many thanks also go to Yi Ting Huang, Andrea Zukowski, and Megha Sundara for their feedback. Finally, we are grateful to Gina Seebachan and her staff at the Playseum, Judy McClimans, Michael Crumble, Carole Trone, the members of the Language Development Laboratory at the University of Maryland, day care center staff, and the families for their assistance with recruitment and participation.
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