UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Prosodic structure patterns in multisyllabic word productions of Granada Spanish-speaking children with typical versus protracted phonological development Schretlen, Christine Elaine


The primary aim of this study was to determine whether monolingual Granada Spanish-speaking children with protracted phonological development (PPD) perform differently from their typically-developing (TD) peers on measures of word stress, word length and word shape in multisyllabic words (MSWs). Previous research has shown that MSW productions can indicate PPD in English-speaking children (James, 2006). However there is no evidence to date of direct comparisons between monolingual Spanish-speaking children with typical and protracted phonological development on MSW productions. Fifty-nine monolingual Spanish-speaking children ages 3;0 to 5;11 were recruited for an original cross-linguistic study in Granada, Spain: 30 with TD and 29 with PPD. All MSW productions in the original data were extracted to create an analysis set for the current study. A total of 36 multisyllabic and 6 disyllabic single word elicitations were analyzed for each participant. A multisyllabic rubric based on principles of non-linear phonology was used to score MSW productions on word stress, word length and word shape. The rubric produced three types of mismatch scores for each child, including a word structure mismatch score, a segment-structure interaction mismatch score and a combined word structure and segment-structure interaction mismatch score. Descriptive and inferential analyses were performed on all three types of mismatch scores. Overall, children in the PPD group showed significantly more mismatches than their aged-matched TD peers. Word structure mismatch scores decreased as age increased, while mismatch scores increased with increased word length. No effect of gender was found. Common mismatch patterns in both the PPD and TD groups were syllable deletion, single vowel deletion and assimilation. Consonant deletion was also frequent, both for singleton consonants and for consonants in word-initial and word-medial sequences. Mismatch patterns were more common in initial unstressed syllables than in non-initial stressed syllables. The results of this study underscore the importance of using MSWs in analysis of children’s phonological productions, because group and age effects were found in 3- and 4-syllable targets that were obscured in 2-syllable targets. Further research is necessary to allow generalization of the results to other populations and to find potential clinical applications of the scoring rubric.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported