No AccessEditor's AwardAmerican Journal of Speech-Language PathologyTutorial1 May 1998

An Overview of Prosody and Its Role in Normal and Disordered Child Language

    This tutorial presents an overview of prosody and its application to specific language impairment. First, prosody is defined as both a phonological and acoustic phenomenon. Prosody is further explored through a review of research concerning perception and production of prosody in the normally developing child and in the child with specific language impairment. The tutorial concludes with a discussion of clinical implications and directions for future research.

    References

    • Abercrombie, D. (1965). Studies in phonetics and linguistics. London: Oxford University Press.
    • Abercrombie, D. (1973). A phonetician’s view of verse structure.In W. E. Jones & J. Laver (Eds.), Phonetics in linguistics. London: Longman.
    • Allen, G., & Hawkins, S. (1980). Phonological rhythm: Definition and development.In G. Yeni-Komshian, J. Kavanagh & G. Ferguson (Eds.), Child phonology, vol I: Production. New York: Academic Press.
    • Beckman, M., & Edwards, J. (1990). Lengthening and shortening and the nature of prosodic constituency.In J. Kingston & M. Beckman (Eds.), Papers in laboratory phonology I: Between grammar and the physics of speech (pp. 152–178).
    • Bedore, L. M., & Leonard, L. B. (1995). Prosodic and syntactic bootstrapping and their applications: A tutorial.American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 4(1), 66–72.
    • Bloom, L. (1973). One word at a time. The Hague: Mouton.
    • Bishop, D. V. M., & Edmundson, A. (1987). Language-impaired 4-year-olds: Distinguishing transient from persistent impairment.Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 52, 156–173.
    • Bortolini, U., & Leonard, L. B. (1996). Phonology and grammatical morphology in specific language impairment: Accounting for individual variation in English and Italian.Applied Psycholinguistics, 17, 85–104.
    • Branigan, G. (1979). Some reasons why successive single word utterances are not.Journal of Child Language, 6, 411–421.
    • Carter, A. (1996). An acoustic analysis of weak syllable omissions: Evidence for adult prosodic representations in young children’s speech. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Arizona, Tucson.
    • Carter, A., & Gerken, L. A. (in press). Evidence of adult prosodic representation in weak syllable omissions of young children.In E. Clark (Ed.), Papers and reports on child language development (Vol. 29). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
    • Chiat, S., & Hirson, A. (1987). From conceptual intention to utterance: a study of impaired language output in a child with developmental dysphasia.British Journal of Disorders of Communication, 22, 37–64.
    • Clark, E. V., Gelman, S., & Lane, N. (1985). Compound nouns and category structure in young children.Child Development, 56, 84–94.
    • Clark, H. H., & Haviland, S. E. (1977). Comprehension and the given-new contract.In R. O. Freedle (Ed.), Discourse production and comprehension. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
    • Cooper, R. P., & Aslin, R. N. (1990). Preference for infant directed speech in the first month after birth.Child Development, 61, 1584–1595.
    • Cooper, W. E., & Sorensen, J. M. (1981). Fundamental frequency in sentence production. New York: SpringerVerlag.
    • DeCasper, A. J., & Spence, M. J. (1986). Prenatal maternal speech influences newborns’ perception of speech sounds.Infant Behavior and Development, 9, 133–150.
    • Demuth, K. (1996). The prosodic structure of early words.In J. Morgan & K. Demuth (Eds.), Signal to syntax. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    • Demuth, K., & Fee, J. E. (1995). Minimal prosodic words in early phonological development. Manuscript submitted for publication.
    • Echols, C. H. (1993). A perceptually-based model of children’s earliest productions.Cognition, 46, 245–296.
    • Echols, C. H., & Newport, E. L. (1992). The role of stress and position in determining first words.Language Acquisition, 2, 189–220.
    • Ellis Weismer, S. (1997). The role of stress in language processing and intervention.Topics in Language Disorders, 17, 41–52.
    • Ellis Weismer, S., & Hesketh, L. J. (1993). The influence of prosodic and gestural cues on novel word acquisition by children with specific language impairment.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 1013–1025.
    • Fee, E. J. (1997). The prosodic framework for language learning.Topics in Language Disorders, 17, 53–62.
    • Fernald, A. (1985). Four-month-old infants prefer to listen to motherese.Infant Behavior & Development, 8, 181–195.
    • Fernald, A., & Kuhl, P. K. (1987). Acoustic determinants of infant preference for motherese speech.Infant Behavior and Development, 10, 279–293.
    • Fikkert, P. (1994). On the acquisition of prosodic structure. Dordrecht: Holland Institute of Generative Linguistics.
    • Gee, J., & Grosjean, F. (1983). Performance structures: A psycholinguistic and lingustic appraisal.Cognitive Psychology, 15, 411–458.
    • Gerken, L. (1991). The metrical basis for children’s subjectless sentences.Journal of Memory and Language, 30, 431–451.
    • Gerken, L. A. (1994a). A metrical template account of children’s weak syllable omissions.Journal of Child Language, 21, 565–584.
    • Gerken, L. A. (1994b). Young children’s representation of prosodic structure: Evidence from English-speakers’ weak syllable omissions.Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 19–38.
    • Gerken, L. A. (1996a). Phonological and distributional cues to syntax acquisition.In J. Morgan & K. Demuth (Eds.), Signal to syntax. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    • Gerken, L. A. (1996b). Prosodic structure in young children’s language production.Language, 72, 683–712.
    • Gerken, L. A., Jusczyk, P. W., & Mandel, D. R. (1994). When prosody fails to cue syntactic structure: 9-month-olds’ sensitivity to phonological versus syntactic phrases.Cognition, 51, 237–265.
    • Gleitman, L., & Wanner, E. (1982). The state of the state of the art.In E. Wanner & L. Gleitman (Eds.), Language acquisition: The state of the art (pp. 3–48). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    • Goodglass, H., Fodor, I., & Schulhoff, C. (1967). Prosodic factors in grammar—Evidence from aphasia.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 10, 5–20.
    • Halle, M., & Vernaud, J. R. (1987). An essay on stress. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    • Hargrove, P. M. (1997). Prosodic aspects of language impairment in children.Topics in Language Disorders, 17, 76–85.
    • Hayes, B. (1982). Extrametricality and English stress.Linguistic Inquiry, 13.
    • Hayes, B. (1989). The prosodic hierarchy in meter.In P. Kiparsky & G. Youmans (Eds.), Phonetics and phonology: Rhythm and meter. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
    • Hirsh-Pasek, K., Kemler Nelson, D. G., Jusczyk, P. W., Wright Cassidy, K., Druss, B., & Kennedy, L. (1987). Clauses are perceptual units for prelinguistic infants.Cognition, 26, 269–286.
    • Hogg, R., & McCully, C. B. (1987). Metrical phonology. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
    • Jackendoff, R. (1977). X′-syntax: A study of phrase structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    • Johnson, J., Lewis, L., & Antone, C. (1996). The role of stress and position on syllable omission. Unpublished manuscript, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
    • Jusczyk, P. W., Cutler, A., & Redanz, N. (1993). Infants’ sensitivity to predominant word stress patterns in English.Child Development, 64, 675–687.
    • Jusczyk, P. W., Friederici, A. D., Wessels, J., Svenkerud, V. Y., & Jusczyk, A. M. (1993). Infants’ sensitivity to the sound pattern of native language words.Journal of Memory and Language, 32, 402–420.
    • Jusczyk, P. W., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Kemler Nelson, D., Kennedy, L., Woodward, A., & Piwoz, J. (1992). Perception of acoustic correlates of major phrasal units by young infants.Cognitive Psychology, 24, 252–293.
    • Kehoe, M., & Stoel-Gammon, C. (1996). Truncation patterns in English-speaking children’s word productions. Unpublished manuscript, University of Washington, Seattle.
    • Kehoe, M., & Stoel-Gammon, C. (1997). The acquisition of prosodic structure: An investigation of current accounts of prosodic development.Language, 73, 113–144.
    • Kemler Nelson, D., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Jusczyk, P. W., & Wright Cassidy, K. (1989). How prosodic cues in motherese might assist language learning.Journal of Child Language, 16, 53–68.
    • Kent, R. D., & Forner, L. L. (1980). Speech segment duration in sentence recitations by children and adults.Journal of Phonetics, 8, 157–168.
    • Kiparsky, P. (1979). Metrical structure assignment is cyclic.Linguistics Inquiry, 10, 421–441.
    • Klein, H. B. (1981). Production strategies for the pronunciation of early polysyllabic lexical items.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 24, 535–551.
    • Klein, H. B. (1984). Learning to stress: A case study.Journal of Child Language, 11, 375–390.
    • Kracke, I. (1975). Perception of rhythmic sequences by receptive aphasic and deaf children.British Journal of Disorders of Communication, 10, 43–51.
    • Kubaska, C. A., & Keating, P. A. (1981). Word duration in early child speech.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 24, 615–621.
    • Lahey, M. (1972). The role of prosody and syntactic markers in children’s comprehension of spoken sentences. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Columbia University Teacher’s College, New York.
    • Le Normand, M. T., Leonard, L. B., & McGregor, K. K. (1993). A cross-linguistic study of article use by children with specific language impairment.European Journal of Disorders of Communication, 28, 153–163.
    • Leonard, L. B. (1992). The use of morphology by children with specific language impairment: Evidence from three languages.In R. Chapman (Ed.), Child talk: Processes in language acquisition. Chicago: Mosby-Yearbook.
    • Leonard, L. B., Bortolini, U., Caselli, M. C., McGregor, K. K., & Sabbadini, L. (1992). Morphological deficits in children with specific language impairment: The status of features in the underlying grammar.Language Acquisition, 2, 151–179.
    • Leonard, L. B., McGregor, K. K., & Allen, G. D. (1992). Grammatical morphology and speech perception in children with specific language impairment.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 1076–1085.
    • Leonard, L. B., Sabbadini, L., Volterra, V., & Leonard, J. (1988). Some influences on the grammar of English- and Italian-speaking children with specific language impairment.Applied Psycholinguistics, 9, 39–57.
    • McDaniel, D., & Maxfield, T. (1992). Principle B and contrastive stress. Special issue: The development of binding.Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, 2, 337–358.
    • McGregor, K. K. (1994). Article use in the spontaneous samples of children with specific language impairment: The importance of considering syntactic contexts.Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 8, 153–160.
    • McGregor, K. K. (1996, November). Prosody-syntax relations in impaired language development: Data and clinical implications. Paper presented at the Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Seattle, WA.
    • McGregor, K. K., & Leonard, L. B. (1994). Subject pronoun and article omissions in the speech of children with specific language impairment: A phonological interpretation.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 37, 171–181.
    • Mehler, J., Jusczyk, P. W., Lambertz, G., Halsted, N., Bertoncini, J., & Amiel-Tison, C. (1988). A precursor of language acquisition in young infants.Cognition, 29, 143–178.
    • Morgan, J. L., Allopenna, P., & Shi, R. (1996). Perceptual bases of rudimentary grammatical categories: Toward a broader conception of bootstrapping.In J. L. Morgan & K. Demuth (Eds.), Signal to syntax. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    • Morgan, J. L., Meier, R. P., & Newport, E. L. (1987). Structural packaging in the input to language learning.Cognitive Psychology, 22, 498–550.
    • Morgan, J. L., Swingley, D., & Miritai, K. (1993, April). Infants listen longer to extraneous noises inserted at clause boundaries. Paper presented at the Society for Research in Child Development, New Orleans, LA.
    • Nespor, M., & Vogel, I. (1986). Prosodic phonology. Dordrecht: Foris.
    • Nickels, L. (1997). Spoken word production and its breakdown in aphasia. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.
    • Nicol, J. L. (1996). What can prosody tell a parser?.Journal of Psycholinguistics Research, 25, 179–192.
    • Panagos, J. M., & Prelock, P. A. (1997). Prosodic analysis of child speech.Topics in Language Disorders, 17, 1–10.
    • Price, P., Ostendorf, M., Shattuck-Hufnagel, S., & Fong, C. (1991). The use of prosody in syntactic disambiguation.Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 90, 2956–2970.
    • Reuvers, M., & Hargrove, P. M. (1994). A profile of speech-language pathologists’ prosody during language therapy.Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 10, 139–152.
    • Rom, A., & Leonard, L. (1990). Interpreting deficits in grammatical morphology in specifically language-impaired children: preliminary evidence from Hebrew.Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 4, 93–105.
    • Selkirk, E. (1984). Phonology and syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    • Selkirk, E. (1996). The prosodic structure of function words.In J. Morgan & K. Demuth (Eds.), Signal to syntax. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    • Shattuck-Hufnagel, S., & Turk, A. (1996). A prosody tutorial for investigators of auditory sentence processing.Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 25, 193–247.
    • Simon, N. (1975). Echolalic speech in childhood autism.Archives of General Psychiatry, 32, 1439–1446.
    • Smith, B. L. (1978). Temporal aspects of English speech production: A developmental perspective.Journal of Phonetics, 6, 37–68.
    • Snow, D. P. (1994). Phrase-final lengthening and intonation in early child speech.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 37, 831–840.
    • Snow, D. P. (1997). A prominence account of syllable reduction in early speech development. Unpublished manuscript, University of Arizona, Tucson.
    • Tallal, P., & Piercy, M. (1974). Developmental aphasia: Rate of auditory processing and selective impairment of consonant perception.Neuropsychologia, 12, 83–93.
    • Tallal, P., & Piercy, M. (1975). Developmental aphasia: The perception of brief vowels and extended stop consonants.Neuropsychologia, 13, 69–74.
    • Tallal, P., & Stark, R. (1981). Speech acoustic-cue discrimination abilities of normally developing and language-impaired children.Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 69, 568–574.
    • Tyler, A. A. (1997). Evidence of linguistic interactions in intervention.Topics in Language Disorders, 17, 23–40.
    • Vihman, M. M. (1980). Sound change and child language.In E. D. Traugott, R. Labrum & S. Shepard (Eds.), Papers from the fourth international conference on historical linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    • Weinert, S. (1992). Deficits in acquiring language structure: The importance of using prosodic cues.Applied Cognitive Psychology, 6, 545–571.
    • Werker, J. F., & McLeod, P. J. (1989). Infant preference for both male and female infant-directed talk: A developmental study of attentional and affective responses.Canadian Journal of Psychology, 43, 230–246.
    • Wheeldon, L., & Lahiri, A. (1995). Prosodic units in speech production. Unpublished manuscript, Birkbeck College, London.

    Additional Resources