Longitudinal Observations of Typical English Voicing Acquisition in a 2-Year-Old Child: Stability of the Contrast and Considerations for Clinical Assessment

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Early assessment of phonetic and phonological development requires knowledge of typical versus atypical speech patterns, as well as the range of individual developmental trajectories. The nature of data reporting in previous literature on typical voicing acquisition left aspects of the developmental process unclear and limited clinical applicability. This work extends a previous four-month group study to present data for one child over 12 months. Words containing initial /b p d t/ were elicited from a monolingual English-speaking 2-year-old child biweekly for 25 sessions. Voice onset time (VOT) was measured for each stop. For each consonant and recording session, we measured range as well as accuracy, overshoot and discreteness calculated for means and individual tokens. The results underscore the value of token-by-token analyses. They further reveal that typical development may involve an extended period of fluctuating voicing patterns, suggesting that the voiced/voiceless contrast may take months or years to stabilise. 2015



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