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Perception of fricatives in an AX paradigm by children 3-4 1/2 years old Barker, Dorothy Kathleen


In the field of child language acquisition, in particular phonological acquisition, many have queried the role played by perception. The present study was undertaken to examine the perception of some speech sounds by children in the process of phonological development. Perception of the group of sounds known as fricatives was examined in a group of subjects aged 3;0 to 4;11. Pairs of nonsense syllables were presented to eight subjects in an AX paradigm. Results were examined for each fricative pair in terms of mean error rate. Some discussion of individual subjects was also included. Results showed that children find it more difficult to discriminate between some pairs of fricatives than others. In particular, the three voiced/voiceless minimal pairs: [sə-zə, ʃə- ʒə, fə-və] were found to be significantly more difficult to discrjurdnate than other pairs of fricatives. Findings were for the most part in agreement with the results of other similar studies. In addition, methodological problems inherent to the nature of the investigation were encountered and discussed.

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