Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


Sorry About That

By Edwin L. Battistella

Sorry About That "explores why we apologize or don't and how our apologies succeed or fail."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sociolinguistics from the Periphery

By Sari Pietikäinen, Alexandra Jaffe, Helen Kelly-Holmes, Nik Coupland

Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users"

Review of  Phonological Development and Disorders in Children

Reviewer: Leah R. Paltiel-Gedalyovich
Book Title: Phonological Development and Disorders in Children
Book Author: Zhu Hua Barbara Dodd
Publisher: Multilingual Matters
Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics
Subject Language(s): Arabic, Egyptian
Chinese, Mandarin
Panjabi, Mirpur
Chinese, Yue
Issue Number: 17.3577

Discuss this Review
Help on Posting
EDITORS: Hua, Zhu; Dodd, Barbara
TITLE: Phonological Development and Disorders in Children
SUBTITLE: A Multilingual Perspective
SERIES: Child Language and Child Development
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2006
ISBN: 1853598895

This volume is a collection of articles describing typical and atypical
articulatory and phonological development in a variety of languages of very
different types. As part of the Multilingual Matters' series on Child
language and child development: Multilingual-multicultural perspectives,
the book aims to use multilingual studies to deepen our understanding of
universals of developmental phonology. Its stated aim is ''to integrate
research on a range of languages to examine phonological acquisition and


The book is divided in to four sections, the first is an introduction to
the multilingual research paradigm, the second, contains eight reports of
typical and atypical phonological development in a variety of languages,
the third addresses bilingual development, and the final section returns to
the idea of language universals and serves as a conclusion.

Section 1 consists of 2 chapters. Chapter 1 by Hua and Dodd, explains the
theoretical importance of multilingual studies, briefly reviews the ideas
of universals of phonological development and challenges to these
universals. Explanations of phonological development such as markedness,
articulatory complexity and functional load are presented. Then differences
and similarities of monolingual and bilingual development are reviewed.
Clinical populations are briefly mentioned. Chapter 2 by Hua gives criteria
and guidelines for multilingual research, which facilitate multilingual
research which can be integrated into a single body of knowledge.

Section 2, entitled 'Monolingual context', begins with a report on English
phonology by Dodd, Holm, Hua, Crosbie and Broomfield. The structure of this
chapter is consistent for all the chapters in this section. The geographic
location of the language is shown on a map, the phonological system of the
language is described, typical acquisition is reported based on previous
research, the current research into typical acquisition is presented, and a
perspective on atypical development is given. Lack of data on developmental
error patterns is the motivation for the current study, this lack largely
resulting from differences in methodologies used. A large (over 600) sample
of British children aged 3-6 years old were tested on articulation and
phonological tests (DEAP, Dodd, et al, 2002). Results were summarized as:
phonetic inventory, error patterns (age appropriate, delayed, unusual), and
percentage of phonemes correct. Phonological accuracy was found to improve
with age, gender did not affect performance until the older ages where
girls performed better than boys, and socioeconomic status did not affect
accuracy. The theoretical account does not provide a rationale why gender
and socio-economic status would or would not be predicted to affect
phonological accuracy. The clinical application of these data is perhaps
the most pertinent information provided in this chapter. Four
classifications of developmental disorders are defined: articulatory
disorder, phonological delay, consistent phonological disorder, and
inconsistent phonological disorder. The validity for the classification
system based on a study of speech pathology services in England is given.

Chapter 4 by Fox provides evidence from developmental German. The basic
structure of the previous chapter is followed. The current investigation
results in normative data on children's phonetic inventories, phonemic
inventories, and developmental processes. I found some comments surprising,
for instance the reported rarity of the substitution of interdental
fricatives for dental fricatives (an interdental lisp) a process common in
English (which has interdental fricatives) and for instance in Hebrew
(which does not). The explanation given for this phenomenon seems to me
unnecessary. Furthermore, the note that this does not improve over time
does not take into account the young age of the oldest children in this
study and the relatively late age this inhibition of interdental lisping
has been found in some populations. Differences in age of acquisition of
specific phoneme groups are noted, but the consistent sequence of
acquisition is not emphasized. The use of the same classification system as
for the English study in the previous chapter promotes cross-linguistic
comparison of the error patterns found and the clinical populations described.

Chapter 5 by Hua reports on developmental standard Chinese. Again, first
there is a useful description of the phonological system of the language,
including both phonemic and syllabic information. Previous research is
summarized in a table then discussed in the text including the development
of accuracy and developmental error patterns. As opposed to previous
chapters, in this chapter a case study is brought to illustrate each
subtype of phonological disorder. The principle of phonological saliency
being related to frequency of occurrence (i.e. the more frequent a phoneme
in the language the more salient it is) and the related idea that languages
which have fewer phonemes in a particular position will have greater
saliency for this position is presented to explain differences between
development in different languages. Note that this is directly opposed to
the idea (e.g. by the theory of phonology as human behavior, e.g. Tobin
1997), that the communicative importance, and therefore saliency of a
syllabic position will be greater if the phonemic options for filling that
syllabic position are greater.

Chapter 6, by So, goes on to examine Cantonese. A phonological profile of
Cantonese is provided. Before presenting data on phonological development
in Cantonese, So surveys speech pathology services in Hong Kong. The
current study reports data from 268 children aged 2 through 6 years.
Results were similar to English developmental patterns. Error patterns were
found to be syllabic, primarily affecting syllable initial consonants.
Criteria for an error pattern were use by more than 10% of the sample at
any age group. For Cantonese (and previously for standard Chinese) a
consistent developmental sequence for tonal languages emerges – tones are
acquired first then vowels, followed by syllable final consonants and
lastly syllable initial consonants. It is suggested that although sequence
of phoneme acquisition appears consistent across languages, differences in
rate of acquisition may reflect the 'functional load' or communicative
importance of different phonemic contrasts for a particular language. The
same classification system is used as in previous chapters, facilitating
cross-linguistic comparison of the impaired population. An interesting
point is made that inconsistent phonological behavior may occur in the
course of intervention. The similarity of disorder patterns across
languages is emphasized.

Chapter 7 by Grech continues with a report of the acquisition of Maltese.
There is the brief review of the history of Maltese and its phonological
characteristics. The overview is distinguished by its very clear definition
of terms and the explicit theoretical orientation given for the
characterization of Maltese chosen. The fact that most Maltese speakers are
bilingual (English) speakers is noted. Phonological processes and
morpho-phonological rules are listed. In describing the methodology of the
main study reported here, Grech points out that the two different aims of
developmental study require conflicting methodologies. Research into
phonological processes is best suited to longitudinal studies while
cross-sectional studies are more appropriate for collecting developmental
norms. Grech studied 21 children's development of Maltese in spontaneous
speech (to allow for cross word processes) and in a picture naming test (to
promote inter-subject consistency and longitudinal intra-subject
consistency). Spontaneous speech samples were minimally 50 one-word
utterances and a few multiple word utterances. Criteria for defining
processes, the phonetic inventory, and phoneme mastery are clearly given.
Development is seen as acquisition of feature distinctions for phonemes and
the development of syllable structures (which approximated the adult model
earlier than did the phonemes). Development of phonological process is
described in detail but only minimally compared to other languages. A
section relating the interaction of Maltese morphological structure and
development serves as an example of the possible interaction between the
developments of different subsystems of language. A brief survey of two
cases of phonological disorders and a summary of available speech therapy
services follow.

In Chapter 8 Vasanata provides the first chapter concentrating on
disordered phonology with evidence from hearing impairment in the Dravidian
language, Telegu. As previously the introduction includes a sociolinguistic
and structural overview of Telegu. The overview includes sections on
consonants and consonant clusters, vowels, phoneme frequencies and syllable
structures. Available developmental data from one study shows vowel
contrasts developing before consonant contrasts. Nasals and voiceless stops
precede voiced stops, affricates and semi-vowels. The retroflex distinction
develops relatively late, as do clusters and multi-syllabic syllable
structures. The role of sonority in determining a CV syllable structure
with a non-sonorant C as the earliest developing syllable structure is
discussed. As opposed to previous chapters, this chapter devotes more space
to orthography and the relationship between phonology and literacy. The
nature of speech-language pathology services in India is brought as
explanatory of the (lack of) diagnosis of phonological disorders in India.
The chapter then concentrates on a study of the developmental phonology of
three oral pre-lingual hearing impaired children. Assessment is based on
naming 100 pictures, a specially designed test of phonological
contrastiveness and reading and spelling tests. Vasanata concludes with the
importance of phonological tests which take into account orthography and
that are geared to the nature of the target language. Furthermore,
treatment goals should also consider phonotactics. The importance of
syllable level assessment and intervention as opposed to segment level is

Chapter 9 returns to the format of chapters 3 through 7. Ammar and Morsi
provide an account of typical and atypical development of colloquial
Egyptian Arabic. Geographic and linguistic information and a review of
previous research provide the background for the present study. The method
for the current study was picture/object naming or delayed imitation).
Children were 3 - 5 years old. For the first time in this volume, a
quantitative threshold for phonological process therapy, 25%, is suggested.
The only process reaching the therapy criterion is devoicing, a process
also occurring in developing English. This study was duplicated with
phonologically disordered children, aged up to 9 years. The majority showed
phonological patterns similar to their younger typically developing peers.
Two cases with deviant – as opposed to delayed – patterns are described. A
short paragraph relates the data to language universals.

Chapter 10 on development and disorders of Turkish phonology by Topbas and
Yavas concludes the section on monolingual phonological development. This
chapter is set up in a slightly different order with the survey of the
phonology of Turkish following a brief description of speech-language
therapy serviced in Turkey. A table summarizes previous research into
Turkish phonological development. The four-way classification presented in
previous chapters is adopted here as well for atypical Turkish
phonetic-phonological development. The current study aims to provide norms
for Turkish development and includes longitudinal, cross-sectional and
atypical data. Longitudinal data were collected using pictures and toys
from an articulation-phonology test during a play session with parents.
Cross-sectional data were collected by students in nurseries and primary
schools. Atypical data were collected by students in the university
diagnostic clinic. The test tasks include naming (and imitation if
necessary), discrimination and picture description. The criteria for
acquisition were consistent with those reported in previous chapters.
Discrepancies between children's production on naming tasks and on
spontaneous speech are noted. The use of tables and graphs to show
phonological development is especially successful in this chapter. The
patterns found are compared only generally to other languages.

Part 3 deals with bilingual phonological development. It begins with a
study of Spanish-English bilingual (SEB) phonology by Yavas and Goldstein.
The introduction begins with the importance of recognizing where typical
bilingual phonology differs from typical monolingual phonology in order to
allow atypical bilingual phonology to be recognized. As in the previous
section of this book, before entering into a discussion of the phonological
development of the languages under discussion, a comparative survey of the
phonetics and phonology of these languages is provided. The implications
of dialectical differences are emphasized. Previous studies have showed
that bilingual development of Spanish and English differs from monolingual
development for both populations. The first current study investigates the
English phonology of the SEBs. The authors provide clear definitions of who
they consider to be bilingual for this study, important for allowing
comparison with other studies of 'bilingual' children. Data were collected
using a single word productive task. There was a trend towards greater
phonological stability and accuracy, and more accurate cluster production
with increased age from 4 to 6 years. The second study concentrates on the
universality of the sonority sequencing principle for bilingual
development. Data were collected using picture descriptions. Results
support the application of the sonority sequencing principle to the
productions of this bilingual population in English. Difficulty children
may have in acquiring two sound systems becomes evident particularly in
more difficulty to produce sound classes like glides, while earlier
developing sounds are unaffected. Norms from monolingual children cannot be
applied to bilingual children speaking the same language(s).

In Chapter 12 Holm and Dodd describe the case of Cantonese – English
bilingualism. The authors take advantage of previous research into
monolingual Cantonese and English development to provide a succinct
comparative summary of the adult phonological systems and developmental
patterns of the two languages. They then present the current study which
expands knowledge of Cantonese – (Australian) English bilingual
phonological acquisition between 2 and 5 years. Data collected included
spontaneous speech samples and standardized (single word) assessments for
each of the languages. Data from the two languages was collected
separately, by different speech pathologists. In addition a rough measure
of English language comprehension was obtained. Classifications for
phonetic inventory and phonological processes in the data analysis are
consistent with those reported in previous chapters. The phonetic
repertoires of only three quarters of the bilingual children were age
appropriate by English monolingual norms, primarily due to young children's
devoicing of voiced stops. Cantonese accuracy for the bilinguals did not
differ from the monolinguals, however, English accuracy did. Note that the
children had all begun to acquire Cantonese before being exposed to
English. Analysis of phonological processes showed that the children used
different processes in the two languages. Overall, only age significantly
affected the various systems of phonological development. More atypical
processes were used by bilinguals than monolinguals. A second longitudinal
study of one child in the first year of exposure to English is also
reported. Data was collected separately in Cantonese and in English
throughout the study. Data included spontaneous speech samples and
standardized tests. Three stages are described: silence, English heard
mainly by elicited imitation; beginning of use of imitated expressions in
rituals; use of spontaneous English. It appears that the phonetic
development for each language paralleled monolingual development; however,
the limited use of English makes a comparison possible only form the third
stage. The conclusion is that articulatory maturity parallels maturation,
and therefore affects different languages at the same time in the same way.
The advent of English affected the phonological processes detrimentally in
Cantonese. Atypical processes were found for both languages, although, the
basic phonotactic rules of the language were preserved. Two distinct
phonological systems are evident, leading to the conclusion that the
bilingual children use a single articulatory system and distinct
phonological systems (p.307). Up to two years appear necessary to obtain
accuracy in second language akin to accuracy in first. A concept of 'normal
bilingual processes' which may be atypical for monolinguals is introduced.
The comprehension of the language is found to affect speech accuracy. Two
explanations are suggested: overburden results in errors or an inability to
process both phonological systems in sufficient detail.
A third study presented investigated intervention with a bilingual child.
Articulation therapy for /s/ distortion is described. Therapy in English
rendered improvement in Cantonese. Then phonological therapy for cluster
reduction and gliding was introduced in English. There was no transfer to
Cantonese. Clinical implications are clearly stated.

Chapter 13 by Stow and Pert describes the case of three Pakistani heritage
languages and English. As for previous chapters we are given a survey of
the sociolinguistic history of the population and its languages and
dialects. To achieve a base of normal bilingual Pakistani heritage –
English phonological behavior, children aged 1;7 through 7 were screened
using a one word naming task. Two clinical cases are described, but no
analysis of the data is given. There are basic normative data for clinical
comparison. But the evaluation and analysis are far less detailed than in
previous chapters.

Chapter 14 by Ball, Muller and Munro discusses Welsh-English bilingualism.
This chapter begins with a survey of Welsh phonology, specifying
segmental level, phonotactic and suprasegmental characteristics as well as
mutational processes. A description of speech therapy services and current
assessment procedures precedes the section on previous acquisition
research. Children aged 2;6 to 5, divided by 6 month intervals participated
in the normative study. Children were classified according to which
language (Welsh or English was dominant. Data was analyzed for the
phonological system for each child for each language and for the
simplifying processes used in each language. Data were from a single word
naming task. Children's spontaneous multi-word utterances during the naming
task were recorded. Criteria for acquisition of a sound were somewhat
different than in the other studies reported in this volume. Substitution
patterns for the two languages differed. Also, there was increased
variability in the phonological system of the non-dominant language. A
dominance effect was seen and this has obvious implications for evaluating
bilingual phonology where the child's performance needs be compared not
only to bilingual normative data (as opposed to monolingual norms for each
spoken language) but also the dominant language must be considered. Two
case studies of disordered phonology form an older study are brought. For
the first case, the articulatory disorder found, was similar for both
languages. In addition there were phonological processes which differed for
the two languages. For the second case, the child demonstrated an
'inconsistent speech disorder' a phonological disorder in both languages
although the manifestations of the disorder in the two languages were
different. Both children would be considered delayed and disordered in
terms of phonological processes of English as compared to monolingual data.
The restrictions on the assessment and remediation of little studied
languages are emphasized and further research is encouraged.

Chapter 15 by Khattab follows with an account of Arabic-English
bilingualism. In the introduction to this chapter the author presents how
the present study differs from others presented in this volume and gives
the rationale for the unique presentation. In the background given for the
study, the author raises theoretical and practical issues in using
contrastive phonemic inventories as evidence of phonological systems and
emphasizes the non-phonemic distinctions which may distinguish two
languages and mark a speaker as typical or atypical. The emphasis here is
sociolinguistic with the target for the child's production in each language
being the speakers of the languages in his/her communicative environment.
There follows a comparative survey of Lebanese Arabic consonants. Data
collection involved naming, narrative and spontaneous play situations for
children and naming narrative and interview situations for the adults.
Bilingual children were recorded twice, once in each language. Code
switching utterances were analyzed separately. By comparison of children's
productions with adults in their environment it becomes apparent that some
cases of inconsistency are related not only to developmental but also to
environmental factors. Especially interesting was a familial tendency to
use emphatics which highlights accent (even family accent) influence.
Similarly, a pre-voicing nasalization pattern which was found in one
bilingual child was also apparent in his mother's speech. The articulatory
difficulty of voicing lead explains a cross-linguistic developmental effect
for this feature. VOT development for the bilinguals in this study did not
parallel that of monolinguals. The important of age of exposure in feature
acquisition is demonstrated by a comparison of two brothers' acquisition of
the voice lead feature.

This is the first chapter in this book to look at socio-phonetic features
or phonetic features affected by non-linguistic factors such as age,
dialect and style. The bilingual children demonstrated similar dialectical
preferences for allophones of English /l/ as did their monolingual peers.
For r-like sounds, bilinguals showed more variability than their
monolingual peers. Data from code-switching were compared with that of
English only productions. VOT and rhotic features varied with the language
context. Input is important especially in dialectical, allophonic variation
which characterized the socio-dialect of his/her language environment.
Furthermore, the children's adaptation of an 'accented' production of
English words while speaking Arabic reflects consideration of their
communicative partner's needs. This chapter does not consider clinical

The last chapter in this section by So and Leung discusses
Cantonese-Putonghua bilingualism. The authors begin with the assertion that
bilinguals begin to differentiate phonological systems at the age of two
years. A survey of Putongha and a comparison of the Cantonese and Putonghan
phonological systems are presented. This is the first chapter where it is
clear that the authors see their contribution as part of a volume, this is
evident in reference to other chapters and refraining from repetition of
information provided in previous chapters. Data was collected form 40
children aged 2;6 to 5;6 in two separate single language sessions. A
segmental phonology test involving picture naming was presented in each
language. Spontaneous speech samples were also obtained for all but the
youngest children. The analysis of the data was similar though not
identical to that used in most of the studies in this book. A phonemic
inventory and phonological processes were described for each language. The
bilinguals acquired Cantonese consonant phonemes later but according to the
same sequence as their monolingual peers. Vowel acquisition ages paralleled
monolinguals. Phonological patterns persisted later for bilingual speakers
and some atypical processes were demonstrated. A similar pattern emerged
for Putonghua, although some sounds emerged earlier for the bilinguals.
Atypical phonology in the bilinguals is attributed to decreased exposure to
each of the two languages. Interference was also considered a contributing
factor with children acquiring features present in only one language more
slowly than those present in both languages. In general, Putonghua was less
affected, probably because it was the dominant language.

Chapter 17. In this final chapter, Hua and Dodd provide the first really
unifying discussion of the volume. The mass of data presented in the
previous sections is summarized by tables and in the accompanying
discussion according to the topics covered: phonetic inventories of the
languages studied, developmental data (by phonemic and phonological process
development), bilingual phenomena, and atypical developmental data
(classified by the four point classification system used in various
chapters). Explanations for patterns that emerged and exceptions to these
patterns are brought forward.


I found it difficult to determine the target audience for this volume. I
found a mass of interesting information on typical and atypical,
monolingual and bilingual phonological development on primarily little
studied languages, with occasional insights that have very practical
implications for my clinical work. On the one hand the theoretician will
find interest in the wealth of detail on a range of languages and language
combinations in language acquisition. On the other hand the clinician
working in a specific language will find a major source of normative data
for monolingual and bilingual phonological development, in many cases
previously unavailable or inaccessible. This data can form the basis of
comparison in the evaluation and treatment of children in these less
studied languages. As a reference book for clinicians, in each case,
usually only one or two chapters will be relevant. The generalizations
given in the final chapter will be helpful to theoreticians and clinicians,
no matter their language of study.

Differences in therapeutic practices resulting from different
classifications are not discussed, perhaps being beyond the scope of this
volume. This would certainly be a next step in the research program.
Despite the attempt to form a unified body of knowledge using parallel
methodologies, definitions and criteria, discrepancies still remain in the
systems and criteria used to describe the typical and atypical development.

As a speech-language pathologist, I have treated a large number of
bilinguals. In my current practice, probably 50% of the children I see are
bilingual. Still the various language combinations I have met
(Arabic-Hebrew, English-Italian, English-Greek, English-Hebrew,
Russian-Hebrew, Argentinean-Hebrew, Italian-Hebrew, French-Hebrew) are not
addressed. This is perhaps indicative of just how widespread bilingualism
is and how much is left to study!

I would have expected more careful editing. Some chapters are written with
awkwardly expressed English, in some cases, to the extent that the authors'
intention is unclear. For instance in Chapter 12 we are consistently
referred to the results for 'each child' when the results of only one child
are brought. Apparently because of data reported elsewhere. A dotted line
is referred to on p. 370 which I couldn't find. These and other examples of
inexact editing detract from the cohesion of the volume and make reading

In summary, this volume contributes a vast amount of information on the
phonological development of little studied languages and language
combinations. It provides data for the researcher into monolingual and
bilingual typical and atypical phonological development. As well, the
clinician will find useful normative data and therapy guidelines. The
intensity of the book makes it heavy reading, but the effort is worth-while.

Dodd, B., Zhu, H., Crosbie, S., Holm, A. and Ozanne, A. 2002. Diagnostic
Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology London: Psychological Corporation.

Tobin, Yishai 1997. Phonology as Human Behavior: Theoretical implications
and clinical applications. Durham, N.C./London. Duke University Press
Leah Gedalyovich is currently assisting in research into Hebrew G-SLI at
the Department of Foreign Literatures and Linguistics, Ben-Gurion
University of the Negev. She combines research with part-time work as a
speech-language pathologist in pre-school and school settings. In addition,
she teaches an introductory course in phonetics and phonology, and academic
English. Research interests include normative first language acquisition
(primarily of Hebrew), language disorders, the interaction of semantics and
pragmatics and the clinical application of linguistic theory.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 1853598895
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 488
Prices: U.K. £ 49.95
U.S. $ 89.95