Kinematic Differentiation of Prosodic Categories in Normal and Disordered Language Development

Goffman, Lisa
October 2004
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Oct2004, Vol. 47 Issue 5, p1088
Academic Journal
Prosody is complex and hierarchically organized but is realized as rhythmic movement sequences. Thus, observations of the development of rhythmic aspects of movement can provide insight into links between motor and language processes, specifically whether prosodic distinctions (e.g., feet and prosodic words) are instantiated in rhythmic movement output. This experiment examined 4-7- year-old children's (both normally developing and specifically language impaired) and adults' productions of prosodic sequences that were controlled for phonetic content but differed in morphosyntactic structure (i.e., content vs. function words). Primary analyses included kinematic measures of rhythmic structure (i.e., amplitude and duration of movements in weak vs. strong syllables) across content and function contexts. Findings showed that at the level of articulatory movement, adults produced distinct rhythmic categories across content and function word contexts, whereas children did not. Children with specific language impairment differed from normally developing peers only in their ability to produce well-organized and stable rhythmic movements, not in the differentiation of prosodic categories.


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