First Advisor

Rhea Paul

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Grammar, comparative and general -- Phonology, Speech disorders in children



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, vii, 43 p.)


Research into the eventual suppression of phonological processes among children has centered on the influence of phonetic context and semantic-syntactic factors. Researchers have described various factors that would account for the variability found in normal and speech-delayed children's use of phonological processes. Researchers have found associations between phonological process use and language form and content, although there is a paucity of information pertaining the effect of language use on phonological performances. This study examined the phonological process use within two pragmatic functions-assertiveand responsive utterances-used by 15 normally developing and 15 speech-delayed 3-year-olds. These groups were matched for age, sex, and socioeconomic status, all passed a hearing screening at 25 dB and scored at least 85 on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. A 10-minute parent/child speech sample of each 3-year-old was orthographically and phonetically transcribed. Each first occurrence utterance was coded as either assertive or responsive, depending on the particular. pragmatic function it served. Percentage of phonological process use was determined for both groups within each pragmatic category, after analysis in the Pepper Program. Data were analyzed for significant differences between the two groups in the percentage of phonological processes used within the assertive and responsive categories. Results indicated that the speech-delayed group used more processes in both categories, although pragmatic function of the utterances did not have a significant effect on percentage of phonological processes used by either group. It was noted that children in the speech-delayed group were only mildly delayed, thus making them fairly intelligible to their listeners. Both groups were more assertive than responsive and used longer utterances during assertive speech acts; however, neither factor appeared to have any bearing on their phonological performances. It was concluded that the two groups appeared to show no significant difference in their phonological performances when comparing one pragmatic category to the other. Results indicated that the assertive speech acts examined held no motivation factors that influence the phonological performance of normal or mildly speech-delayed 3-year-old when compared to responsive speech acts.


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