English speech sound acquisition and disorders in Fijian children

Activity: Supervision/Examination/MentoringInternal HDR Supervision


Purpose: To investigate Fijian children’s acquisition of Fiji English speech sounds and the impact of contrastive analysis for identification of speech sound disorders (SSD) within this population.
Method: The study included analysis of the single-word speech samples of 74 multilingual Fijian students (5-10 years) who spoke the Fijian or Fiji Hindi dialects of Fiji English. Descriptive and non-parametric statistical analysis were conducted to determine patterns of speech sound acquisition, speech sound errors, and the impact of conducting contrastive analysis on the identification of SSD.
Result: Most consonant sounds were acquired by 6;0. /θ, ð, ʒ/, absent in Fijian or Fiji Hindi, were acquired latest. Dialectically appropriate cluster reduction and epenthesis were common resulting in variable cluster acquisition. Contrastive analysis of Standard Australian English with Fiji English resulted in 24/26 students identified with SSD being reclassified, and a 10.20% mean increase in
percentage of consonants correct, when Fiji English dialect was considered.
Conclusion: Multilingual children may acquire English specific sounds later than their monolingual English-speaking peers. Consideration of the language environment and analysis of the speech sample with reference to the dominant English dialect spoken is imperative for valid identification of SSD in children who speak different dialects of English.
PeriodNov 2018Nov 2020
ExamineeHolly McAlister
Examination held at
Degree of RecognitionLocal


  • Fiji
  • Speech production
  • speech acquisition
  • speech disorder
  • speech difference
  • Fiji English