Welsh speaking children’s productions of fricatives: comparison of production in single words and connected speech
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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It is essential to gather information on normal phonological development so that Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) working with children can assess, diagnose and plan treatment appropriately. However, there is little information on patterns of phonological development in Welsh. While there have been studies which have aimed to gather information on the ages of acquisition, there is very little information on the error patterns which are to be expected in normal phonological development in Welsh. In addition, there is a debate surrounding the best method of assessing phonology that gives the most accurate representation of a child’s phonological system. Many studies have compared single word naming assessments and analysis of connected speech samples and have found conflicting results. Although it is still unclear which method provides the most accurate representation of a child’s phonological abilities, the findings suggest that different methods of assessment can produce different results. This study focused on the production of syllable-initial fricatives in twelve pre-dominantly Welsh speakers in Reception and Year One, and investigated the possible effects age, fricative type and the context may have on their accuracy. Significant context and fricative type effects were found for the fricatives; however, results revealed no significant age effects on production. The study found that fricatives were produced with higher accuracy in single word naming than in connected speech. This suggests that SLTs should administer a comprehensive phonology assessment that includes connected speech as well as standardised single word naming assessments. In addition, error patterns and phonological processes were identified for the fricatives, which is an unexplored area in Welsh phonological development. These findings warrant further investigation so that normal patterns of phonological development can be identified which would be beneficial to SLTs working with Welsh speaking children.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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