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Aspects of identifying prosodic impairment

By Sue JE Peppé


This paper concludes the scientific forum on Prosody in Speech-Language Pathology that comprises an introduction Crystal, 2009, a lead article Peppé, 2009 and 11 responses to the lead article. This concluding paper is in part a summary of aspects of prosody that were fleshed out in the responses to the lead article, and in part a reply to some of the points raised by contributors. The concluding paper refers to the differing approaches to the taxonomy of prosody; the more specific material on the neurological bases of prosody; the manifestation of prosodic disorder in specific language impairment and Williams Syndrome; the state of the art of prosodic intervention; and the suggestion for assessing visual prosody. More attention is given to the issues of assessment and transcription, which attracted some differences of opinion. Some general methodological issues of testing e.g., standardization, age-appropriateness, and modelling are considered, as well as the possibility of automated assessment and suggestions for testing the perception of lexical stress. Impressionistic transcription and the techniques of conversation analysis are considered for their ability to identify the role of prosody in conversation, more particularly its effectiveness in achieving successful turnchange and interaction in highly unintelligible speech. The usefulness of acoustic analysis with and without phonological transcription is discussed, as well as the goals of transcription and the purposes it serves in the characterization of atypical prosody. The paper concludes by suggesting that better specification of what constitutes typical prosody is required, and that more attention needs to be paid to rhythmical atypicality and the interaction of segmental with suprasegmental impairment

Year: 2009
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