Children's Acquisition of English Onset and Coda /l/: Articulatory Evidence Purpose The goal of this study was to better understand how and when onset /l/ (leap) and coda /l/ (peel) are acquired by children by examining both the articulations involved and adults' perceptions of the produced segments. Method Twenty-five typically developing Australian English–speaking children aged 3;0 (years;months) to ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2015
Children's Acquisition of English Onset and Coda /l/: Articulatory Evidence
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Lin
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Katherine Demuth
    ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    Santa Fe Institute, NM
  • 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 Susan Lin: susanlin@berkeley.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Megha Sundara
    Associate Editor: Megha Sundara×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2015
Children's Acquisition of English Onset and Coda /l/: Articulatory Evidence
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2015, Vol. 58, 13-27. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-14-0041
History: Received February 10, 2014 , Revised August 15, 2014 , Accepted September 19, 2014
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2015, Vol. 58, 13-27. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-14-0041
History: Received February 10, 2014; Revised August 15, 2014; Accepted September 19, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose The goal of this study was to better understand how and when onset /l/ (leap) and coda /l/ (peel) are acquired by children by examining both the articulations involved and adults' perceptions of the produced segments.

Method Twenty-five typically developing Australian English–speaking children aged 3;0 (years;months) to 7;11 participated in an elicited imitation task, during which audio, video, and lingual ultrasound images were collected. Transcribers perceptually rated audio, whereas video and ultrasound images were visually examined for the presence of adult-like articulations.

Results Data from this study establish that for Australian English–learning children, coda /l/s are acquired later than onset /l/s, and older children produce greater proportions of adultlike /l/s in both onset and coda positions, roughly following established norms for American English–speaking children. However, although perceptibility of coda /l/s was correlated with their articulations, onset /l/s were nearly uniformly perceived as adultlike despite substantial variation in the articulations used to produce them.

Conclusions The disparity in the production and perception of children's singleton onset /l/s is linked to both physiological and phonological development. Suggestions are made for future research to tease these factors apart.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders Grant CE110001021 (Stephen Crain), Australian Research Council Discovery Projects Grant ARC DP110102479 (Felicity Cox), and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant NICHD R01 HD057606 (Katherine Demuth, Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel). Portions of this work were presented previously at the 38th Annual Boston University Conference on Child Phonology (Boston, MA) and the 87th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (Boston, MA). We thank members of the Macquarie University Child Language Lab, especially Ben Davies, Kelly Miles, and Nan Xu, for assistance during data collection and analysis.
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