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Presentation to the Child Phonology Conference, ASU, Tempe AZ May 14, 2004 Development of contrastive and non- contrastive phonological features in African-

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation to the Child Phonology Conference, ASU, Tempe AZ May 14, 2004 Development of contrastive and non- contrastive phonological features in African-"— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation to the Child Phonology Conference, ASU, Tempe AZ May 14, 2004 Development of contrastive and non- contrastive phonological features in African- American English learning children, ages 4 to 12. Barbara Zurer Pearson, Shelley Velleman, Timothy Bryant, Lamya Abdulkarim, & Harry N. Seymour University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA Research supported by NIH contract N01-DC *webpage:www.umass.edu/aae Contact for information:

2 Presentation to the Child Phonology Conference, ASU, Tempe AZ May 14, 2004 With special thanks to The Psychological Corporation The Psychological Corporation, who collected the data, Paul Speckels, who helped archive it, a host of dedicated grad students, and our colleagues in the UMass NIH Working Groups on AAE.

3 Distinguishing two threads of development Specific to AAE NOT characteristic of MAE (Mainstream American English) CONTRASTIVE Common to AAE AND MAE NON- CONTRASTIVE CONTRASTIVE

4 AAE Phon. Features –(prosody/pitch) –(stress patterns) –(common metathesis: “aks”) Segmental features (esp. ,  substitutions, post vocalic /r/) Phonotactic features (final clusters) (medial clusters) CONTRASTIVENON- CONTRASTIVE CONTRASTIVE NON- CONTRASTIVE Late segmental features /r/, /s/. (not ,  ) Clusters (in initial position)

5 IDENTIFIER function Developmental changes (mostly) after 6 or 7 CONTRASTIVENON- CONTRASTIVE CONTRASTIVE NON- CONTRASTIVE DIAGNOSTIC function Developmental changes (mostly) before 6 or 7

6 Research Questions Contrastive Features: How prevalent are contrastive features in a general AAE child population? –Ages 4-6? –Ages 7-12? How different are they from –MAE-TD (typically developing) patterns? –MAE-LI (language-impaired) patterns on the same set of features?

7 Questions Non-Contrastive Features : On Non-Contrastive features, how equivalent are MAE and AAE typical development? Do we see any effect of contrastive patterns in non-contrastive development, e.g. in substitution patterns, sequence of acquisition?

8 To test segmental development: Children tested individually for TPC by SLPs. TDLITotal AAE MAE Total

9 Other characteristics of the sample: M/F 51-49% South (58%), North Central (26%), Northeast (7%), West (9%) Parent Education Level 79% ≤ HS Identified as “articulation disorder” 168

10 Sample of Phonologically Impaired Children 151 in the 4 major groups, all but 7 in LI groups 17 extra children By age: 4-6 average n = 40; 7-12 average n= 10 (8 and 10, n= 16, other ages < 10)

11 Format Sentence repetition, target embedded in carrier phrase “I see……..” 66 words, 2 targets each = 132 targets 44 Contrastive: 88 Non-contrastive Copyright 2000 The Psychological Corporation ….a mask; ….that fish breathe under water; …..a dentist

12 Singleton stimuli Initial21 types 31 tokens All (but /p/) Non Contrastive Final19 types 33 tokens All Contrastive Also contrastive, 8 post-vocalic /r/ in clusters (tallied by phone as well as cluster) + theta and eth

13 Cluster Stimuli (types/tokens) Non-ContrastiveContrastive CC initial 16/ (21) Kr-, fr-, pr-, tr-, gr- Sm-, st-, sk-, sp-, kr-, kl-, gl  r-,  r- CCC initial 3/(4) Skr-, spl-Str- CC medial 14/ (16) -nd-, -nt-, -st-, -l  -, -ld- -fr-, -sk--kt-, -ft-, -br- -  -t-, -rp- CCC medial 4 -r  -d-, -  -br-, -ntr-, -str- CC final 15/ (19) -st, -sk, -r , -rd, -rt, - rl, -rs, -lt, -nt, -ks, -mp, -ft, -ld, -lt, -rf

14 Coding for Contrastive Features Match to MAE – Match to predicted AAE -- Other --NR –We have child’s production (but not in IPA) –(Some actual protocols, but mostly files with responses, scoring, and coding for each element in cluster.) TALLY Dialect Identifiers: # of MAE; # of AAE (“other” ignored)

15 Coding for Non-Contrastive Features Match -- Substitution -- Omission -- Distortion -- Addition -- Other --NR NON CONTRASTIVE - Diagnostic –Match = correct = 1 –Substitution (any) = incorrect = 0 –Omission (any) = incorrect = 0 –Other = 0 TALLY: # of correct –(also can recover % correct by position, type, target, etc.)

16 Contrastive Results, Overall

17 Contrastive Results, Overall (cont.)

18 Contrastive Results by FEATURE

19 Contrastive Results by FEATURE (cont.) Medial Clusters Medial position gives some facilitation, but clusters are still not non- contrastive.

20 Contrastive Results by FEATURE (cont.) /θ/ substitutions A clear pattern through the age range, although 8s and 9s are about 50% for θ.

21 Contrastive Results by FEATURE (cont.) Pattern 1 difference after 7; Pattern 2 difference before 9.

22 Summary of Contrastive Results Yes, there is a small group of segmental items that can effectively separate AAE from MAE (better identification uses Morphosyntax as well) Phonologically impaired group differs significantly from AAE TD on these features, but not hugely so. CONTRASTIVE for DIALECT IDENTIFICATION NOT Diagnosis of Disorder

23 Non-contrastive Results

24 Non-contrastive Results (cont.)

25 Non-contrastive Results from Charko & Velleman, 2003a, 2003b AAE/MAE children number of errors not different By age 6 (but not 4 and 5), AAE children making more phonotactic errors than MAE –TD (at 6): AAE 43% vs MAE 26% (p <.0001) –LI (at 6): AAE 62% vs MAE 38% (p =.03) Flip side of the coin: MAE make more significantly more segmental errors (by age 6) Which segments?

26 Non-Contrastive Results by FEATURE initial /  / Small AAE advantage for /r/ p =.034 by chi-square

27 Non-Contrastive Results by FEATURE (cont.) /  / in initial clusters Similar pattern as rope, difference at 5 and 6 years, (not tractor, truck, drive, present)

28 Non-Contrastive Results by FEATURE (cont.) /  / in contrastive clusters Even in contrastive phonemes, /r/ is relatively preserved.

29 Highly contrastive feature / θ/ in “non- contrastive” position Note that by 8, AAE are at target, whereas MAE are at target at 6 years, ie. It’s less contrastive, but still delayed.

30 Results: Same phone /s/ in contrastive (C#) and non-contrastive (#C) positions AAE slight advantage at age 5 both initially and finally for /s/.

31 Do Substitution Patterns differ by dialect? Ex. do AAE-learning children lisp less (substitute “theta” for /s/)? i.e. This might be an expected pattern, given the rarity of theta in the AAE phonological system. No. AAE % of s-->  117/668 = 18% MAE % 42/333 = 12%

32 Substitution Patterns Are AAE-learning children more likely to substitute [f] for /  / in “think”? i.e. This might be an expected pattern, given the prevalence of  --> f in the AAE phonological system No. AAE % of  --> f 4/565 = < 1% MAE % of  --> f 9/364 = 2.5%

33 Diagnostic Implications CONTRASTIVE features should be avoided in diagnostic situations. Most phonemes are not contrastive per se, but are by virtue of their position or participation in a consonant cluster. Some phonemes are contrastive no matter where they occur. Use only NON-CONTRASTIVE features in non- contrastive positions for Initial Diagnosis. (Once a disorder has been determined, fuller evaluation of all phones in all positions is in order.)

34 Diagnostic Proposal The DELV screener contains morphosyntax and phonology Identifier Items on which AAE-speaking children produce systematically different responses from MAE. This is not part of the diagnostic scoring. It also contains a set of dialect-neutral Diagnostic Items designed to tell the clinician whether further testing is needed because the child is at risk for language delay or impairment.

35 How does this help? By avoiding areas that are different across dialects, we attempt to reduce the problem of false representation of children who speak dialects such as AAE. Give up some phonemes (elements of morpho-syntax) that distinguish disorder in the MAE population, but those children also show disorders on the non-contrastive items. Fortunately, we find rich evidence for alternatives!

36 Interventions implications: That’s another talk! But, see discussion of this topic (choosing the order of intervention according to dialect issues) in Seymour, H.N. (2004). A non-contrastive model for assessment of phonology. In H. Seymour & B. Z. Pearson (Eds.), Evaluating language variation: Distinguishing dialect and development from disorder. Seminars in Speech and Language, 25 (1), pp

37 References Charko, T. & Velleman, S. (2003, July). The influence of dialect of children’s phonotactic constraint rankings (ND children). Poster presented at the Child Phonology Conference, UBC. Charko, T. & Velleman, S. (2003, Nov.). The influence of dialect of children’s phonotactic constraint rankings (LI children). Poster presented at the Child Phonology Conference, UBC. Seymour, H.N. & Pearson, B. Z. (Eds.), Evaluating language variation: Distinguishing dialect and development from disorder. Seminars in Speech and Language, 25 (1), DELV (next slide). Craig, H. K. & Washington,J. A. (2004). Grade-related changes in the production of African American English. JSHR, 47(2),

38 Shameless Commerce Division Seymour, Roeper & de Villiers, DELV Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation, Screening Test and Criterion-Referenced. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation, Harcourt Assessment, Inc. –(Includes phonology domain, 25 dialect-neutral, non-contrastive items. If it identifies a problem, one needs to do a fuller evaluation. Focused on later-developing areas (clusters with liquids or /s/. Not geared to pick up garden variety developmental errors)


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