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Assessment of Phonological Awareness of Lexical Stress in Children Using Bisyllabic Words

Summary: Assessment of Phonological Awareness of Lexical Stress in
Children Using Bisyllabic Words
Barry Wagner* and Sven Anderson**
*Speech Pathology and Audiology, Ball State University;
**Bard College
In an earlier study pre-school children were able to detect stressed syllables significantly more often
than they could identify syllables based on their form (sequence of constituent phonemes). The current
study further examines this type of prosodic phonological awareness using bisyllabic English words.
Two groups of child participants (N=25, N=27) listened to identical sets of 48 recorded bisyllabic
word-pair stimuli. The first group was taught a game in which they identified whether the two words
in a pair shared a syllable form. The second group was taught to identify pairs that shared a stress
pattern. In contrast with the earlier study, participants were significantly more likely to reach a
criterion level when the task involved awareness of syllable form. Their ability to detect similar lexical
stress patterns was no better than chance. We examine how word vs. non-word stimuli and variation
in cognitive tasks may explain the contrasting results.
While many researchers have extensively investigated children's segmental development of
phonological awareness, few empirical studies have investigated the awareness of
suprasegmental aspects of speech in relationship to segmental units (Liberman et al., 1974;
Treiman and Zukowski, 1996). In a companion study (Anderson, et al., 2004) we compared


Source: Anderson, Sven - Computer Science Program, Bard College


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences