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The phonological acquisition of German

Lookup NU author(s): Annette Fox, Professor Barbara Dodd


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177 monolingual children acquiring German as their first language between the age of 1;6 and 5;11 years were assessed by a German Speech and Language Therapist using a picture naming task in order to describe the pattern of phonological acquisition, concerning age and order of phonetic and phonemic inventory as well as phonological processes. The purpose of the study was to present a complete picture of the acquisition of German phonology, based on a representative number of children within the main age range of speech development. Results basically followed jakobsons [14] model of universal sound acquisition, with /m, n, d, t, b, p/ representing the first phonemes to be acquired and /c/, /ts/ and/∫/ the last. The phonemic inventory can be accepted to be completed between the ages of 4.0-5.0. The main phonological processes found were: (1) Structural Simplifications: Assimilation, Cluster Reduction, Initial and Final Consonant Deletion, Weak Syllable Deletion and (2) Systemic Simplifications: Velar and Sibilant Fronting, Backing of Sibilants, Stopping, Voicing, Glottal Replacement, and Interdentality. The process of interdentality was defined as the replacement of /s/ and /z/ by /θ/ and /δ/, which were valued as allophones of the first sounds, since the substitutions are not part of the German phonemic inventory and even in the final age group up to 35% of children showed this process.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fox AV, Dodd BJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sprache Stimme Gehor

Year: 1999

Volume: 23

Issue: 4

Pages: 183-191

Print publication date: 01/01/1999

ISSN (print): 0342-0477

ISSN (electronic): 1439-1260

Publisher: Georg Thieme Verlag