A Phonemic Implicational Feature Hierarchy of Phonological Contrasts for English-Speaking Children

Stokes, Stephanie F.; Klee, Thomas; Carson, Cecyle Perry; Carson, David
August 2005
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2005, Vol. 48 Issue 4, p817
Academic Journal
Contrastive feature hierarchies have been developed and used for some time in depicting typical phonological development and in guiding therapy decisions. Previous descriptions of feature use have been based on independent analyses and usually phonetic inventories. However, recent trends in phonology include a relational analysis of phonemic inventories (D. Ingram & K. D. Ingram, 2001). The current investigation was a relational analysis of the phonemic inventories of 40 typically developing 2-year-old American-English-speaking children. Consonant inventories were derived from spontaneous speech samples using the Logical International Phonetics Programs computer software (D. K. Oller & R. E. Delgado, 1999). Cluster analysis was used to determine the grouping of contrastive features. Four levels emerged. Level I included [consonant], [sonorant], and [coronal], Level II included [voice], Level III included [anterior], [continuant], and [nasal], and Level IV included [lateral] and [strident]. Results suggested that the resulting 4-level phonemic feature hierarchy might be used to classify the phonological systems of children with phonological disorders.


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