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LINGUIST List 20.720

Sat Mar 07 2009

Diss: Lang Acq/Phonetics: Oh: 'Articulatory Characteristics of ...'

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        1.    Sunyoung Oh, Articulatory Characteristics of English /l/ in Speech Development


Message 1: Articulatory Characteristics of English /l/ in Speech Development
Date: 07-Mar-2009
From: Sunyoung Oh <sunyohcityu.edu.hk>
Subject: Articulatory Characteristics of English /l/ in Speech Development
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Institution: University of British Columbia
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Sunyoung Oh

Dissertation Title: Articulatory Characteristics of English /l/ in Speech Development

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition
                            Phonetics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Joseph Stemberger
Janet Werker
Bryan Gick

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation investigates articulatory characteristics of English /l/
in child speech. The study is primarily based on experimental data
collected using ultrasound imaging techniques from eight English children
ages 3;11 to 5;9. Replicating previous articulatory studies of
syllable-based allophones of /l/ in adult speech production, the
articulatory components of /l/ in child speech production are analyzed for
the static information and relative timing between tongue movements.
Secondarily, the acoustic analysis of this data and its perception
judgments by adults are presented.

One of the major findings of this study is that children at these ages
produce /l/ using different spatial and temporal coordination than adult
speech production, although some children produce /l/ more similar to adult
/l/ in terms of articulatory organization. Further, the findings are
addressed in relation to speech motor development, and hypotheses are
tested to see which motor developmental process(es) (differentiation,
integration, refinement) can describe the acquisition of /l/. The
ultrasound results of the tongue movements in children's /l/ indicate that
all general motor developmental processes are active in these children, and
the spatial and temporal coordination of the articulatory gestures of /l/
is rather simplified or modified, and needs to be further refined. I argue
that the tendency toward late acquisition of /l/ is due directly to the
articulatory complexity of its spatial and temporal characteristics.

This work contributes much-needed empirical data of the articulatory
characteristics of /l/ to both language acquisition and speech sciences,
and constitutes a novel application of ultrasound imaging to child speech
research.



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