15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


Acoustical Study of the Development of Stop Consonants in Children

Annika Karlsson Imbrie

Harvard University, USA

This study focuses on the acoustic patterns of stop consonants and adjacent vowels as they develop in young children (ages 2;6-3;3). One theory of speech development holds that children initially learn to recognize an entire word or syllable as an approximate pattern, and try to reproduce this pattern by a series of gestures during speech. As a child's speech develops, the gestures become more precise and coordinated, and these patterns are refined. The acoustic properties that are being measured for stop consonants include spectra of bursts, frication noise and aspiration noise, formant movements, labeling of acoustic landmarks, and durations of events determined by these landmarks.
   These acoustic measurements are being interpreted in terms of the supraglottal, laryngeal, and respiratory actions that give rise to them. Preliminary data on one 2;6-year-old child show that some details of the child's gestures are still far from achieving the adult pattern.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Imbrie, Annika Karlsson (2003): "Acoustical study of the development of stop consonants in children", In ICPhS-15, 1943-1946.