Icelandic children’s acquisition of consonants and consonant clusters

Thora Másdóttir, Sharynne McLeod, Kathryn Crowe

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Abstract

Purpose

This study investigated Icelandic-speaking children's acquisition of singleton consonants and consonant clusters.

Method

Participants were 437 typically developing children aged 2;6–7;11 (years;months) acquiring Icelandic as their first language. Single-word speech samples of the 47 single consonants and 45 consonant clusters were collected using Málhljóðapróf ÞM (ÞM's Test of Speech Sound Disorders).

Results

Percentage of consonants correct for children aged 2;6–2;11 was 73.12 (SD = 13.33) and increased to 98.55 (SD = 3.24) for children aged 7;0–7;11. Overall, singleton consonants were more likely to be accurate than consonant clusters. The earliest consonants to be acquired were /m, n, p, t, j, h/ in word-initial position and /f, l/ within words. The last consonants to be acquired were /x, r, r̥, s, θ, n̥/, and consonant clusters in word-initial /sv-, stl-, str-, skr-, θr-/, within-word /-ðr-, -tl-/, and word-final /-kl̥, -xt/ contexts. Within-word phonemes were more often accurate than those in word-initial position, with word-final position the least accurate. Accuracy of production was significantly related to increasing age, but not sex.

Conclusions

This is the first comprehensive study of consonants and consonant cluster acquisition by typically developing Icelandic-speaking children. The findings align with trends for other Germanic languages; however, there are notable language-specific differences of clinical importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1490-1502
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume64
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021

Grant Number

  • DP180102848

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