Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 November 2012
The aim of this study was to determine, using speech error and articulatory analyses, whether the binary distinction between iambs and trochees should be extended to include additional prosodic subcategories. Adults, children who are normally developing, and children with specific language impairment (SLI) participated. Children with SLI were included because they exhibit prosodic and motor deficits. Children, especially those with SLI, showed the expected increase in omission errors in weak initial syllables. Movement patterning analyses revealed that speakers produced differentiated articulatory templates beyond the broad categories of iamb and trochee. Finally, weak–weak prosodic sequences that crossed word boundaries showed increased articulatory variability when compared with strong–weak alternations. The binary distinction between iamb and trochee may be insufficient, with additional systematic prosodic subcategories evident, even in young children with SLI. Findings support increased interactivity in language processing.
We are grateful to Janna Berlin, LouAnn Gerken, Bill Saxton, Amanda Seidl, and David Snow for invaluable assistance with many phases of this work. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Deafness and other Communicative Disorders) grant DC04826.