A Longitudinal Study of Very Young Children's Vowel Production PurposeEcologically realistic, spontaneous, adult-directed, longitudinal speech data of young children were described by acoustic analyses.MethodThe first 2 formant frequencies of vowels produced by 6 children from different American English dialect regions were analyzed from ages 18 to 48 months. The vowels were from largely conversational contexts and were classified according ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2014
A Longitudinal Study of Very Young Children's Vowel Production
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rebecca W. McGowan
    CReSS LLC, Lexington, MA
  • Richard S. McGowan
    CReSS LLC, Lexington, MA
  • Margaret Denny
    CReSS LLC, Lexington, MA
  • Susan Nittrouer
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • 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 Margaret Denny: megdenny@comcast.net
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor and Associate Editor: Jody Kreiman×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Research Article   |   February 01, 2014
A Longitudinal Study of Very Young Children's Vowel Production
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2014, Vol. 57, 1-15. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0112)
History: Received April 6, 2012 , Revised September 4, 2012 , Accepted April 21, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2014, Vol. 57, 1-15. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0112)
History: Received April 6, 2012; Revised September 4, 2012; Accepted April 21, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

PurposeEcologically realistic, spontaneous, adult-directed, longitudinal speech data of young children were described by acoustic analyses.

MethodThe first 2 formant frequencies of vowels produced by 6 children from different American English dialect regions were analyzed from ages 18 to 48 months. The vowels were from largely conversational contexts and were classified according to dictionary pronunciation.

ResultsWithin-subject formant frequency variability remained relatively constant for the span of ages studied. It was often difficult to detect overall decreases in the first 2 formant frequencies between ages 30 and 48 months. A study of the movement of the corner vowels with respect to the vowel centroid showed that the shape of the vowel space remained qualitatively constant from 30 through 48 months.

ConclusionsThe shape of the vowel space is established early in life. Some aspects of regional dialect were observed in some of the subjects at 42 months of age. The present study adds to the existing data on the development of vowel spaces by describing ecologically realistic speech.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants R01 DC001247 (awarded to CReSS LLC) and R01 DC006237 (awarded to the fourth author).
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