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Development of Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin) speech phase 1 : developing a word list to evaluate speech development Kidd, Anne-Marie Elizabeth


First Nations children across Canada and the United States run the risk of being over-diagnosed or misdiagnosed for speech and/or language disorders due in part to a lack of knowledge about the culturally and linguistically relevant speech and language patterns of First Nations communities (Ball,Bernhardt, & Deby, 2007). Some children may speak a dialect of Ojibwe or a First Nations English Dialect influenced by Ojibwe and thus, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and other educators need to ensure that each child receives linguistically and culturally suitable service. There are no linguistically and culturally relevant tools to assist in assessment and treatment of speech difficulties in Ojibwe-speaking children. This paper provides the first phase in the creation of a tool for speech (phonological) analysis of single-word elicitations from children for the Odawa dialect of Ojibwe. The tool is built on nonlinear phonology, whereby all aspects of the phonological system are represented in a multi-tiered hierarchy allowing for the analysis of speech patterns of both consonants, vowels and their features plus syllable and word structures (Bernhardt, et al., 2010). This paper had two purposes: to better understand the phonological system of this dialect; and to create a word list that could be used to examine the speech development of Odawa-Ojibwe speaking children. The full Ojibwe word list (n=90) consists of three word lists: a basic word list (with representation of most phonemes in all positions and word shapes); Extension A (with larger and more complex multisyllabic words); and Extension B (with smaller words). The phonological data showed some patterns that do not occur in English (or in some dialects of Ojibwe) that SLPs and educators should be aware of when working with this language: vowel syncope, complex consonant clusters; prevalance of nasals; and a fortis/lenis distinction. This paper provides the first phase in the development of an evaluation tool for use with Ojibwe-speaking children, and the template for other word list creations in other First Nations languages/dialects. The word list can be used clinically for descriptive purposes, though more research on use of this word list with children is needed.

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