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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Nonlinear phonological analysis in assessment of phonological development in Tagalog Lim, Rachelle Kay


Nonlinear phonological theories emphasize a hierarchical and multi-tiered representation, which describe all aspects of a phonological system. In terms of clinical application, a client's system-wide strengths and needs can be evaluated, and, where necessary, addressed through intervention (Bernhardt, 1992). The population of Tagalog-speaking individuals outside the Philippines is increasing, yet research regarding the language is limited, placing clinicians in a difficult situation during the assessment and treatment of Tagalog-speaking children. This paper aims to bridge the gap by creating a Nonlinear Phonological Scan Analysis (Tagalog) in conjunction with a Tagalog word list, in order to allow clinicians to evaluate a child’s phonological system. The full Tagalog word list (109 words) consists of three separate sets, each containing words with different characteristics (e.g., Extension A contains multisyllabic words, Extension B includes mainly disyllabic words). In order to evaluate the word sets and analysis method, the word list was administered to a 4-year-old child who primarily speaks Tagalog in a picture-naming activity on the computer. The same list was administered to the child’s mother, whose pronunciations then served as the adult targets for analysis. The child’s productions were recorded, transcribed and analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively using the Scan Analysis (Tagalog), which was adapted from the English version (Bernhardt & Stemberger, 2000). Data collected from the child exhibited some similarities and differences in terms of expected patterns from both monolinguals and bilinguals. The child showed evidence of typical development due to the high matches for different evaluations of prosodic structure (e.g. word length, word shape). On the other hand, he exhibited difficulties with whole word, word stress and vowel matches, /r/ and clusters involving /r, l/. Difficulties were suggested to be a result of the child’s Tagalog-English bilingual environment or because of the balance of the word list in terms of /r/ targets, a phoneme which he had not yet mastered. This paper provide some initial steps toward understanding phonological development of typically developing Tagalog-speaking children in a bilingual context outside the Philippines, and by extension, as a basis for future research with children with typical and protracted phonological development.

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