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Putonghua (modern standard Chinese)-speaking children with speech disorder

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Hua Li, Professor Barbara Dodd


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Developmental speech disorder affects up to 10% of the pre-school English-speaking population. However, speech disorder in Putonghua or Modern Standard Chinese (MSC)-speaking children has not been described. In this study the phonological systems of 33 Putonghua-speaking children with speech disorder were described. Quantitative measures (severity; inconsistency) as well as qualitative measures (phonetic and phonemic inventories; phonological processes) were presented. Of the 33 children, one child had articulation disorder, 18 had delayed phonological development, eight consistently used unusual error patterns, and six children's speech was characterized by inconsistency of production. The findings provided further cross-linguistic support for the 'four subgroup categorization system'. The phonological systems of the Putonghua-speaking children with speech disorder were compared to those of normally developing children and those of children with speech disorder from other language backgrounds. Similar to normally developing children, Putonghua-speaking children with speech disorder were sensitive to the structure of the ambient language. They also shared the characteristics common to disordered children speaking other languages, such as persisting delayed processes, unusual error patterns, variability, restricted phonetic or phonemic inventory, and systematic sound or syllable preference.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Zhu H, Dodd B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics

Year: 2000

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 165-191

ISSN (print): 0269-9206

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5076

Publisher: Informa Healthcare