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Clin Linguist Phon. 2014 May;28(5):297-315. doi: 10.3109/02699206.2013.862863. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Transcription-based and acoustic analyses of rhotic vowels produced by children with and without speech sound disorders: further analyses from the Memphis Vowel Project.

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  • 1Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, University of Alberta , Edmonton, AB , Canada.


The acquisition of rhotic monophthongs (/ɝ/ and /ɚ/) and diphthongs (/ɪ͡ɚ, ɛ͡ɚ, ɔ͡ɚ and ɑ͡ɚ/) was examined in 3- and 4-year-old children with and without speech sound disorders (SSDs), using both transcription-based and acoustic analyses. African-American (AA) and European-American (EA) participants (n = 40) with and without SSD were selected from archival data collected as part of the Memphis Vowel Project. Dialect variation influenced rhotic vowels differently for EA and AA children, thus their data were reported separately. Transcription-based analyses showed wide variation in the accuracy of different rhotic vowels. The most frequent error pattern for children with SSD was Derhoticization to a Back Rounded Vowel (e.g. /ɝ/ → [ʊ]; /ɪ͡ɚ/ → [ɪ͡о]). Rhotic diphthong reduction errors were less frequent; however, Coalesence (/ɑ͡ɚ/ → [ɔ]) was often observed for /ɑ͡ɚ/. F2, F3 and F3-F2 spectral movement patterns revealed differences between productions transcribed as correct and incorrect.

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