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Spoken word classification in children and adults

By Julia M. Carroll and Joanne M. Myers

Abstract

Purpose: Preschool children often have difficulties in word classification, despite good\ud speech perception and production. Some researchers suggest they represent words\ud using phonetic features rather than phonemes. We examine whether there is a\ud progression from feature based to phoneme based processing across age groups, and\ud whether responses are consistent across tasks and stimuli.\ud Method: In Study 1, 120 3 to 5 year old children completed three tasks assessing use of\ud phonetic features in classification, with an additional 58 older children completing\ud one of the three tasks. In Study 2, all of the children, together with an additional\ud adult sample, completed a nonword learning task.\ud Results: In all four tasks, children classified words sharing phonemes as similar. In\ud addition, children regarded words as similar if they shared manner of articulation,\ud particularly word-finally. Adults also showed this sensitivity to manner, but across\ud the tasks there was a pattern of increasing use of phonemic information with age.\ud Conclusions: Children tend to classify words as similar if they share phonemes or\ud share manner of articulation word finally. Use of phonemic information becomes\ud more common with age. These findings are in line with the theory that phonological\ud representations become more detailed in the preschool years

Topics: P1
Publisher: American Speech - Language - Hearing Association
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:4279

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