NARROW REVIEW OF LITERATURETool to evaluate phonological representations in Malayalam speaking preschool childrenResearch Candidate: Ranjitha.
RGuide: Dr. Sreedevi. N1.1 Introduction:Phonology deals with the study of speech sounds used in a specific language whereas phonetics deals with the description and classification of speech sounds, particularly how sounds are produced, transmitted and received.
Representation signifies the amount of information which is maintained in a system (Hester & Hodson, 2004). The term phonological representation is widely used to describe the storage of phonological information about words in long-term memory (Sutherland & Gillon, 2005). It describes the underlying sound structure of specific words stored in long-term memory (Locke, 1983). They are considered to be the source for speech sound information that forms the basis of spoken words (Sutherland & Gillon, 2005). These representations include the component phonemes and phoneme combinations and possibly the associated phonetic specifications of the segments.Phonological representations can be described at three levels, namely acoustic, linguistic and cognitive.
At the acoustic level, phonological representations could be studied in terms of its signal, e.g. pitch, loudness or duration. At the linguistic level, in terms of vocal tract and the way it produces speech sounds, e.g. place and manner of articulation and at the cognitive level, in terms of its assumed principal elements, namely consonant phonemes and vowel phonemes (Goswami, 2012).A well-developed phonological representation would consist of auditory and visual information about a word and facilitate it to be perceived and differentiated from other words (Stackhouse & Wells,1997).
During the perception of a word, the received auditory and visual information is matched with data confined in the phonological representation which then enables access to the word’s semantic representation. Phonological representations are closely connected and interact with other linguistic-based representations such as semantic and orthographic representations (Stackhouse ; Wells, 1997). This communication takes place during speaking and reading tasks. By retrieving words phonologically, individuals get access to words’ meanings, their orthographic representations, and their patterns of motoric movements of the articulators. It is mostly the articulatory gestures rather than the sounds produced by these motor patterns that form the basis of phonological representations (Liberman, 1999).
According to the level of reading development of the child the access to phonological representation maybe either semantic or orthographic or both.2.1.
Theoretical perspectivesVarious theories were put forward by researchers in the recent decades to explain the organization of sounds in the brain. At first surface forms were more focussed on. i.e. the analysis of speech of an individual to appreciate the different characteristics of phonology. Later the interest was on abstract representations of brain which could be acoustic , articulatory or function based. Then structuralist theory followed which focussed on the phoneme, which made an attempt to appreciate the contrastive properties and surface phonetic forms and was followed by the theories in the area of generative phonology.
2.1.1. Generative phonologyDistinctive features enabled focussing on natural classes and also estimating behaviour of class members. According to this humans process patterns of phonology as part of speech planning rather than in terms of individual segments.An evidence is the consistency of patterning for this statement – but it becomes more valid when the users make new words, they do it by obeying the rules of natural classes their sounds fall into.
There have been numerous sets of distinctive features suggested as the parameters of segment description and classification. The original set was found in Jakobson, Fant and Halle (1952), and comprised of around 14 features. Chomsky and Halle (1962) had around 45 features, and they asserted that the original 14 sets were not sufficient. They put forth a theory named Sound pattern of English (SPE) which proposes that the distinctive features in an utterance and its representations are arranged in the form of matrices in which each column corresponds to one segment (row and coloumn matrix). This suggested that utterance consisted of an ordered sequence of segments which has all the segmental and prosodic properties constituted by distinctive features and phonological rules. This was an extensive view, but couldn’t explain all aspects of phonology.Several other theories which evolved with the generative phonology, tried to explain the relationship between surface phonetic and underlying phonological representations.
These were the autosegmental and metrical phonology.2.1.2. Autosegmental phonologyThe rows and coloumn matrix of distinctive features did not prove good for tonal phenomenon.
Hence Goldsmith (1976) proposed the auto segmental theory. The primary innovation of autosegmental phonology, as presented in Goldsmith 1976, was the fact that tone mapping rules do not combine tonal and segmental representations, but link their elements by means of formal entities known as Association Lines. In this context, phonological representations consist of two tiers of phonological segments, tonal and segmental. Features of each tier, called autosegmentals, are sequentially ordered; elements of adjacent tiers are simultaneous if and only if they are connected by association lines. All the tiers are independent throughout derivations and no point in the tonal tier is integrated with the segmental tier. 2.
1.3. Metrical phonologyMetrical phonology deals with forming segments in to groups of comparative importance. Segments are ordered into syllables, syllables into metrical feet, feet into phonological words, and word into larger units. This association is denoted formally by metrical trees and grids.
Stress is seen as an In metrical phonology, stress is seen as a shared property conveyed in metrical trees as a binary relation between sister nodes which are measured weak or strong. An extensive knowledge of these units and their organization helps in the The study of these units and their organization helps in the better understanding of phonological representations.2.1.4. Feature geometryIn feature geometry distinctive features are considered as structured grading rather than a matrix.
This has arised from autosegmental phonology which shows the properties of distinctive features and the non-uniform associations among them. Feature geometry highlights certain features pattern together in phonological and phonotactic generalizations, while others hardly interact. Feature geometry thus formally converts groups of features under nodes in a tree: features that usually pattern together are said to share a parent node, and activities on this set can be encoded as operation on the parent node. 2.
1.5. Optimality theoryOptimality Theory (OT) is a linguistic model initially put forth by the linguists Alan Prince and Paul Smolensky in 1993.
The main essence of optimality theory is that the observed forms of language arise from the association between conflicting constraints. The three basic constituents of the theory are GEN which produces the list of possible outputs or candidates , CON which provides criteria and constraints, used to choose between candidates, and EVAL chooses the optimal candidate . Optimality theory suggests that these mechanisms are universal. Modifications in grammars reflect different rankings of the universal constraint set, CON.
Language acquisition can be described as the process of adjusting the position of these constraints. 2.1.6. Natural phonologyNatural Phonology was a theory founded on the publications of its exponent David Stampe in 1969 and (more explicitly) in 1979. In this theory, phonology is founded on a set of universal phonological processes which associates with each another; which ones are active and which are suppressed are language-specific.
Instead of acting on segments, phonological processes act on distinctive features within prosodic groups. Prosodic groups can either be small as a part of a syllable or as large as an entire utterance. Phonological processes are not organized with respect to each other and apply concurrently (though the output of one process may be the input to another). The above discussed linguistic theories described the development of phonological representations in children, but failed to describe the normally developing or a compromised system.As Stackhouse and Wells (1997) point out, linguistic theories have only a single perspective to account for children’s speech difficulties.
These approaches gives an extensive descriptions of children’s phonological systems they do not describe a normally developing or impaired system. Medical perspective is a more acceptable theory while considering its part in explaining the underlying cause of speech impairments, when these are due to identifiable organic problems. Linguistic and medical perspectives on speech development and impairment clearly complements one another. The first permits a depiction of the language system the child is using in his or her development, whereas the second envisions the integrity of the neuroanatomical system associated with speech and language.
However both the methods could not explain speech disorders of unknown cause. By contrast, a third perspective holds the goal of explaining speech impairment. Psycholinguistic approaches to speech and language development focusses to point out ways in which children processes speech and language at cognitive or psychological level and also attempts to create hypotheses about the components which may be impaired. 2.1.
7. Psycholinguistic model of speech developmentIn psycholinguistic model of speech development the key components are the psychological processes involved in the “perception, storage, planning and production of speech as it is produced in real time in real utterances” (McCormack, 1997, p. 4). The receptive processing of words, the storage or underlying representations of words, and the processes involved in their production are the main components in a nutshell (Dodd, 1995; Fee, 1995). Therefore Psycholinguistic models has succeeded in describing the symptomatic information about the impaired phonological system as well as in identifying the level at which the disruption has happened (Stackhouse ; Wells, 1993). Various terms are used to explain the proceese involved in the perception, storage, and production of speech. The input signal is the speech signal received by the child, usually supposed to come from an adult speaker.
The output signal is the expression produced by the child. The unseen psychological events happening in between the input and output signal are the emphasis of psycholinguistic models. Events that process the input signal are referred to as input processes, whereas events that process the production of speech are indicated as output processes. Certain features are supposed to happen online , during the perception or production of speech and requires attentional possessions devoted to speech tasks. Other processes, supposed to happen offline, take place as part of the child’s circumstantial mental processing rather than during the time dedicated to the speech task.
In this context, online processing is sometimes referred to as occurring in real-time, whereas offline processing is said to be time-free (Hewlett, 1990). In box-and-arrow psycholinguistic models, each assumed level of representation or processing can be characterised in a diagram by a “box,” and the relationships between them by “arrows,” hence the name. Box-and-arrow models differs in the number of hidden psychological processes they designate and thus in the number of boxes they comprise of. Some have only one or two boxes between the input and output signals (e.
g., Menn, 1978; Smith, 1973), whereas others have multiple boxes representative of complex relationships between a number of different information-processing events (e.g., Hewlett, 1990; Hewlett, Gibbon, & Cohen McKenzie, 1998; Stackhouse & Wells, 1997). The most important box of all and which has received huge attention is that representing the underlying representation (or UR). Hence an underlying representation captures information stored in a child’s mind about a word he or she knows and uses.
As the following description of several models will illustrate, the nature of this information and thus the type(s) of representation present in the child’s knowledge base have captured the attention of researchers for some time. The following models will describe the type(s) of information which exists in the child’s knowledge base and has received researchers attention.2.1.7.
1 Early Single-Lexicon ModelsSmith (1973) was one of the first to report technically the nature of children’s underlying representations. He proposed that children had one lexicon to hold their underlying representations and these are in fact equivalent to adult surface representations. The underlying representation was thought to be perceptually based. He suggested that the stored representations were modified online through the action of phonological rules also denoted as realization rules. Development of single-lexicon models continued through the 1970s (e.g.
Macken, 1980; Smith, 1978). Changes to these supositions were to be made as Smith’s (1973) assumptions suggested that the child’s perceptions were adult like. Also this model could not account for different pronounciations from the same child , where one phoneme would be pronounced in several ways . (Bernhardt & Stemberger, 1998). Hence ‘two lexicons’ was proposed: an input lexicon for representations used in word recognition and an output lexicon for representations used in word production. Suggesting distinct input and output lexicons allowed children to obtain a store of underlying representations that were non-adult-like, thus accounting for the presence of lexical exceptions.
Several researchers worked on the development of various two-lexicon models (Hewlett, 1990; Kiparsky & Menn, 1977; Menn, 1978, 1983; Spencer, 1986, 1988). Menn and Matthei (1992) provided an excellent historical account of the development of these models. They proposed that the child has stored representations which are adult like in the input lexicon.
This is later modified offline via the application of phonological rules to be used for production , which is stored in an output lexicon. Once a child has kept a word in the output lexicon, successive productions are recovered from the output lexicon only rather than being retrieved from the input lexicon and modified online. Although two-lexicon models are able to account for the inconsistency observed in children’s speech because the child can have more than one representation of the same word in the output lexicon, such models nonetheless have a number of limitations (Bernhardt ; Stemberger, 1998; Chiat, 1994; Menn ; Matthei, 1992; Vihman, 1996). With the likelihood for duplication of lexical items in the output lexicon, the models fail to explain how children select one representation over another, how representations change to become more adult-like, and how old forms are deleted (Bernhardt ; Stemberger, 1998; Dinnsen, Barlow, ; Morrisette, 1997; Vihman, 1996). In the Box-and-arrow model proposed by Stackhouse and Wells (1997) there is just a single underlying representation consisting of phonological, semantic, grammatical, orthographic, and motoric information which is linked to a wide series of inter related processes beginning with audition through to motoric production.This emphasis on modelling so many processes involved in speech perception and production has proven clinically useful in the study of children’s speech and literacy difficulties (Snowling & Stackhouse, 1996; Stackhouse, 1992, 1993, 1997; Stackhouse & Wells, 1993, 1997; Waters, Hawkes, & Burnett, 1998).2.
1.8. The emergent viewThe emergent view suggests that infant’ PRs are primarily underspecified, getting gradually restructured as children’s vocabularies grow (Fowler, 1991; Metsala &Walley, 1998; Walley, 1993).With maturation the processes change by which they are phonologically stored and organised.
Initially phonological representations of words are holistic in children. They depend on the speech signal that correspond to physical, acoustic markers of changes in the complex waveform, like changes in amplitude that can define words and syllables (Barton, 1980; Vihman & Croft, 2007). According to the segmentation” (Fowler, 1991) and “lexical restructuring” (Metsala & Walley, 1998) hypotheses, with the increased vocabulary growth in the initial years of life the phonological system becomes highly sensitive to the phonemic differences among words, and phonological representations become progressively more refined, composed of smaller and smaller sound-based and/or speech-based segments. Individuals ultimately develop high quality phonological representations that reveal the precise specifications of the phonemic structure of words (Anthony et al, 2008).2.1.
8.1. Lexical restructuring model (LRM).(Metsala&Walley, 1998)The lexical restructuring model (LRM), suggests that children’s phonological representations are initially holistic, becoming gradually segmented at the onset-rime and then the phoneme level as children’s vocabularies grow. According to the lexical restructuring model (LRM; Metsala & Walley, 1998; Walley, Metsala, & Garlock, 2003), as there is an increase in the children’s vocabulary their mental representations of words changes to a more segmented form from a holoistic form. This lexical restructuring takes place only for words that children already know.
As children learn new words, they inevitably come across words that are phonologically similar to words already known. Although lexical restructuring ultimately ends in the ability to detect interword differences at the level of the phoneme, the shift in children’s representations of words, like the development of phonological awareness (e.g., Anthony et al., 2003), most likely follows a continuum (e.g., Fowler, 1991).
The initial holistic representations of the children become segmented as the vocabulary grow. And as these develop they should be able to appreciate the differences between words at the suprasyllabic, syllabic, subsyllabic, and phonemic levels. This allows children to access the sounds of words at the level required by phonological awareness tasks (e.
g., syllable, onset rime, or phoneme). Hence,the LRM should be appropriate not only to tasks that assess phonological awareness at the level of the individual phoneme but also to tasks that assess phonological awarenessat the supraphonemic level.
2. Psycholinguistic grain size theory (Ziegler & Goswami, 2005)Psycholinguistic grain size theory (Ziegler & Goswami, 2005), accepts the idea of LRM , which is , vocabulary growth drives restructuring, but questions , how much this would happen in the absence of literacy.. The LRM suggests that phonemic representations precede phonemic awareness (Metsala&Walley, 1998), whereas grain size theory proposes that Phonological representations will only become phonemic, once children have been taught about the relationship between phonemes and graphemes (Ziegler & Goswami, 2005). This theory proposes that literacy preceded phonemic representation, with children’s Phonological representations becoming stored in terms of individual sounds once they were taught to learn to read.2.1.
8.3. Processing rich information from multidimensional interactive representations (PRIMIR) (Werker , Curtin, 2005).
An alternative theoretical framework which assimilates fundamentals of both the accessibility and emergent views namely Within “processing rich information from multidimensional interactive representations (PRIMIR)”, rich, comprehensive information from the speech signal is stored from infancy, but the degree to which infants can access different levels of this information changes according to the child’s developmental level and the task at hand (Werker & Curtin, 2005).PRIMIR assumes there is rich information available in the speech input and that the child selects this information along a number of multidimensional interactive planes which makes use of three dynamic filters .These filters-the initial biases, the developmental level of the child, and requirements of the specific language task the child is facing-work together to differentially direct attention to 1 (or more) plane. 3.1. Difficulty in accessing phonological representationsPoor phonological representations could be a cause of language and literacy deficits in children with speech sound disorders (Anthony et al.
, 2011), specific language impairment (SLI) (Eliott, Hammer, & Scholl, 1990; Leonard & Eyer, 1996; Stark and Heinz, 1996; Tallal, 1990), Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) (Gillon & Moriarty, 2007; Marquardt, Sussman, Snow, & Jacks, 2002; Mc Neil, Gillon, & Dodd, 2009) and Dyslexia (Bortolini & Leonard, 2000; Gathercole & Baddeley, 1990; Swan & Goswami, 1997).3.1.1. Phonological representations in children with speech impairment Anthony et al (2011) tried to identify difficulties in print awareness and phonological processing that put children with speech sound disorders at risk for reading tasks. Language, literacy, and phonological skills of three groups of preschool-age children were compared: a group of 68 children with SSDs, a group of 68 peers with normal speech matched on receptive vocabulary, and a group of 68 peers with normal speech and language.The SSD group revealed impairments in expressive phonological awareness, receptive phonological awareness, accessing phonological representations, quality of phonological representations and word reading .
Poor performances of the SSD group on tests of phonological awareness and word reading could be described by their weaknesses in quality and accessibility of phonological representations. The study established that weaknesses in representation-related phonological processing may cause the difficulties in phonological awareness and reading that are shown by children with speech sound disorders.Sutherland, Gillon, Gail (2005) in their study “assessment of phonological representations in children with speech impairment” evaluated the use of assessment tasks to examine underlying phonological representations in preschool children with speech impairment. The study also examined the relationship between performance on phonological representation tasks and phonological awareness development. The performance of 9 children (aged 3;09 years; months to 5;03) with moderate or severe speech impairment and 17 children of the same age with typical speech development was examined on a range of receptive-based assessment tasks designed to find out the underlying phonological representations. Results showed that the preschool children with speech impairment showed more difficulty judging correct and incorrect speech productions of familiar multisyllable words and showed lower performance in the ability to learn nonwords as compared to children without speech impairment. Performance on these tasks was moderately associated with phonological awareness ability.
The study suggests that factors such as the ability to access underlying phonological representations of spoken words may contribute to problems in phonological awareness and following reading development for young children with speech impairment. Receptive-based assessments that study underlying phonological representations provide clinically significant information for children with speech impairment.3.1.
2. Phonological representations in children with specific language impairment (SLI)Maillart (2004) compared the quality of the phonological representations of French children with specific language impairment (SLI) with normal language development (NLD). Twenty-five children with SLI and fifty normally developing children matched on lexical age level were given an auditory lexical decision task. The observations could be summarized like this. Both the NLD and SLI children with higher receptive lexical level performed better. Both children with NLD and SLI rejected pseudo-words which were modified affecting the number of syllables of a word than pseudo-words resulting from a slight modification with the number of syllables unchanged. SLI children had more difficulty in rejecting pseudo-words resulting from slight modifications.
The performance of children with SLI was also poor when presented with pseudowords resulting from a slight modification at the beginning or the end of a word. These findings suggests that there is an underspecification of phonological representations in children with SLI.3.
1.3. Phonological representations in children with Dyslexia.?Elbro & Jensen, (2005) studied Quality of phonological representations, verbal learning, and phoneme awareness in dyslexic and normal Readers which focussed on the quality of phonological representations of lexical items. It extended the studies of verbal learning in dyslexia from learning new vocabulary items (pseudo-names) to the learning of more well-specified variants of known words.
19 dyslexic adolescents in grades 4 to 6 and 19 younger normal readers in grade 2 were matched on single word decoding. The normal age control readers performed better than dyslexics in non-word reading and in phoneme awareness tasks. The time taken by the dyslexics were longer to learn to associate a set of pseudo-names with pictures of persons familiar names to pictures , but dyslexics learned to associate familiar names with pictures as fast as the controls did . In an imitation task the acquisition of new phonological representations of words was studied with maximally different pronunciations of long, familiar words. The dyslexics gained less than the controls in this task as well as a phoneme substitution task with the same words . The results suggests under specified phonological representations may be an underlying problem in dyslexia.
3.1.4. Influence of phonological intervention in the early stages of readingInterventions focussing at the level of phonological skills may change reading outcomes for children who have difficulty in reading their first language. ( Byrne & Fielding- Barnsley, 1990; Hatcher, Hulme & Ellis, 1994; Iversen & Tunmer, 1993; Torgesen & Davis, 1996; Vandervelden & Siegel, 1997). Vandervelden and Siegel (1997) showed that the phonological intervention helped the low ability group to improve as well as the high ability group to do even better and generalise to wider reading of novel words. The dynamics of successful phonological skills training may work in two ways: first, through giving children ‘useable insights’ about the internal structure of words and the mapping of sound units onto letter strings (Byrne, 1998); and second, through helping the restructuring of representations in the phonological domain.
Arulmani, Reddy and Buckley (2003), studied whether targeting phonological representations can help in the early stages of reading in a non dominant language. Multilingual seven to nine year olds with reading difficulty in a non dominant language, English, were given intervention for three weeks in phonological skills and were compared with two control groups, one with reading difficulty and one without reading difficulty who received a non language based intervention. The group which received exclusive phonological instructions performed better in reading and spelling measures than the language proficiency and reading difficulties control group, but did not reach the levels of the no reading difficulty group. The authors proposed that the intervention helped to improve the fine tuning of the phonological domain, making phonological representations optimally available for decoding, phonological manipulations and literacy development.Identifying basic deficits in children with SSD will allow us to have more focused interventions that aim these deficits. In children with SSD and high speech variability, interventions that state not just the accuracy of production but also its consistency may increase the stability of their underlying representations and lead to the greatest treatment gains. (Macrae, Tylor, Lewis (2014)3.
1.5. Phonological representations in Kannada speaking ChildrenPriya (2018) developed a test battery in Kannada to investigate the phonological representations in preschool typically developing children as well as children with developmental disorders.
Articulation judgement test , articulation correction test , sentence imitation test and rapid automatized naming test were the subsections of the test. Results indicated significant effects of age and stimuli on the performance of typically developing participants in all subsections of the test battery. No effect of gended in the subsections were noted. Performance of clinical group was poorer compared to the typically developing group.4.1. Assessment of phonological representations4.
1.1. Speech production tasksSeveral tasks have been used by the researchers to find out the phonological representations in both the typically developing children as well as children with developmental disorders. A variety of speech production tasks have been used to find out the underlying phonological representations in children and adults with reading disorders (Elbro, 1996; Snowling et al., 1988) and children with specific language impairment (Edwards & Lahey, 1996).
Speech production tasks have been used to examine children’s phonological systems by eliciting single words or nonwords. Naming tasks are presented in several ways . Showing sequences of pictures and asking subjects to name the objects pictured is known as confrontation naming (Snowling et al., 1988). Picture naming suggests that accurate speech sound information must be achieved from well-specified phonological representations (Swan ; Goswami, 1997). Variants of naming tasks include demanding a child to name a series of pictures as fast as possible (Katz, 1986) or identifying an object from its verbal description (Snowling et al., 1988).
Children with reading impairment shows weakness in naming pictures, numerical digits and shapes (Elbro, 1996; Snowling et al., 1988).Nonword repetition tasks has also been used to tap the underlying efficient or impaired phonological representations and lexical systems. (Edwards ; Lahey, 1996; Fowler, 1991; Larivee ; Catts, 1999). Word familiarity would not intervene in this task which investigates the phonological representation and lexical skills (Snowling, 1981). Fowler (1991) proposed that difficulty in nonword processing shows a weakness in assimilating phonological stimulus into a cognitive form that is easily accessible for production purposes.
This results unstable representations developing for real words and lead to difficulty preparing articulatory codes for production (Swan ; Goswami, 1997). On the contrary, Metsala (1999) reported that nonword repetition skill is a task of vocabulary size, encompassing the number of words known, familiarity of words, and similar sound characteristics between words.Production based tasks are of limited use when considering children with speech disturbances . Although many children with speech impairment have difficulty learning to read and spell, many of these children perform at age-appropriate levels (Nathan et al., 2004), indicating the presence of well-specified phonological representations.
Considering the above two notions , the use of production-based tasks to identify at-risk children will therefore result in a number of false positive identifications and hence a need to examine receptive based tasks which would tap phonological representations without the influence of speech output difficulties on task performance should be identified. 4.1.
2. Receptive based tasksMetsala (1997) argued that the lexicon of young children and poor readers is more holistic than older children and adults . hence they find it easier to recognize words in a gating task as they have less items in their lexicon to search. In a typical gating task the listener is exposed to successively longer portions of the words (gates) which begins withg the onset.
At each gate the listener is asked to guess the full word. Such a task requires an intact phonological representation as the listener has to use the limited acoustic information to several stored representations in the lexicon. (Salasoo ; Pisoni , 1985) .
it is not necessary that both the stored representations or perceived fragments be encoded as a sequence of segments to carry out this task (Griffiths ; Snowling , 2001) .The gating tasks has lesser intervening factors compared to other tests of phonological processing. It just requires a single untimed response on each trial , which places little loan on working memory. ( Wagner ; Torgesen , 1987 ; Wolf ; Bowers , 1999). Also problems with phonological retrieval task would not affect gating tasks. Hence it is more appropriate for children and also sensitive to tap phonological representations. Many studies have employed gating tasks in children (Boada ; Pennington, 2006; Dollaghan, 1998;Edwards et al ,1999; Elliot, Hammer ,; Evan , 1987, Elliot , Scholl, Grant , ; Hammer,1990: Griffiths ; Snowling,2001; Metsala , 1997 ,a,b;Montgomery ,1999; Munson ,2001; Priya 2018)Tasks that require children to judge the pronunciation accuracy of a target word may give information on underlying phonological representations.
In mispronunciation detection tasks children are expected to look at a picture and listen to spoken words. If the spoken word is perceived as a correct pronunciation of the pictured item, children are expected to point to a symbol representing a correct judgment (Rvachew et al., 2003). Carroll and Snowling (2004) presented a mispronunciation detection task using a handheld puppet to deliver stimuli using live-voice and without picture stimuli. Children were made to respond by saying either right or wrong. Children with speech impairment performed poorly compared to children with typical speech development on both mispronunciation detection tasks (Carroll ; Snowling, 2004; Rvachew et al., 2003).
Carroll and Snowling (2004) also developed a phonological learning task which examined the child’s ability to learn, recognise and spontaneously speak a word. Children with speech deficit performed poorly compared to children with typical speech development on this task. The stimuli used for this task were real words .Some children between the ages of 3:11 and 6:6 are likely to be familiar with these words. Word familiarity, however, was not examined before performing the test.
5.1. Need for the studyAssessment of phonological representations is important as the influence of phonological representations in the development of oral language and emergent literacy skills is high. The evidence regarding phonological representations in preschool children is scarce. It is in this preschool age that the children are open to the elements of formal literacy education. The preschool years are critical as the phonological awareness and literacy development in these years are extremely dependent on the processing of phonological representations.
Young children essentially store and access speech sound information related with words in order to improve spoken word recognition skills. Around 12-months-of-age, early phonological representations begin to support the initiation of spoken words from their native language. The combined processes of speech perception and speech production then contribute to the current description of words’ speech sound constituents in long-term memory. As phonological representations are thought to be the basis for the production of spoken words (Stackhouse ; Wells, 1997), children with speech problems may have difficulty in accurately storing phonological representations.
Phonological representations have an effect on phonological awareness and early reading development (De Gelder ; Vroomen, 1991; Kat, 1986; Snowling et al., 1988). Developmental changes in phonological representations may enable children’s ability to perform phonological awareness tasks. Children who reveal good phonological awareness skills, particularly the manipulation of phoneme segments, become more capable readers. These children can competently access phonological representations containing segmental information and incorporate this phonological information in order to identify printed words (McGuinness, 1997).
? Processing of phonological representations is vital to study because individual differences in phonological processing help determine individuals’ capabilities in oral and written communication. For example, individuals who slowly develop new phonological representations will likely have relatively smaller vocabularies (Edwards, Beckman, ; Munson, 2004). Individuals with deficient phonological representations are likely to have articulation errors. Thus, fluent oral language communication needs, among others, readily accessible well specified phonological representations. Including the concept of phonological representations in the early stages of reading would help in the better reading skills of the dominant language (Vandervelden, Siegel, 1997), and non-dominant language (Arulmani, Reddy ; Buckley, 2003). Identification of the difficulties in accessing phonological representations would aid in treatment in the specific areas which would help in improving reading and speech skills.
From the literature it is evident that many developmental disorders such as speech sound disorder, specific language impairment, dyslexia etc. are associated with poor phonological representations. Thus it is essential that evaluation and treatment at an early age is important for these children.Hence developing a tool in Malayalam language for assessing phonological representations in normally developing preschool as well to evaluate its application in clinical population is an important need.
Kerala has the second highest literacy rate (93.91 Percent) among the states of India. Here the parents are aware and are demanding regarding the early identification of all the skills which may affect the child’s speech or literacy skills , as oral language skills has an important relation with the literacy skills.
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