Multilingual Fijian students' English phonological development: Poster presentation

Holly McAlister (Presenter), Suzanne Hopf (Presenter), Sharynne McLeod (Presenter)

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Children around the world show unique patterns of phonological change that serve to simplify adult speech (McLeod & Baker, 2017). As children get older the number and type of phonological patterns in a child’s speech typically decreases and intelligibility increases. Speech-language pathologists use knowledge of phonological pattern development for a given language or dialect to determine if a child is presenting with typically developing speech, a speech sound difference, or a speech sound disorder. In underserved contexts such as Fiji, making this differential diagnosis is difficult.

To describe the phonological patterns present in the speech of multilingual Fijian students speaking Fiji English.

The Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology (DEAP; Dodd et al., 2002) was administered to collect single-word speech samples of Fiji English from 74 typically developing multilingual Fijian students (Year 1: n = 34; Year 4: n = 40). After consideration of expected dialectical difference, productions were analysed to determine the presence of assimilation, substitution, and syllable structure phonological patterns in initial, medial, and final word positions. Descriptive and non-parametric statistical analysis was then applied to determine if the observed phonological patterns illustrated a typical developmental profile as children got older.

The multilingual Year 1 group produced many of the phonological patterns typical for monolingual children acquiring English. Phonological patterns were less often produced by Year 4 students.

Children who speak Fiji English have a pathway of typical development as indicated by the reduced presence of phonological patterns in older children. The presence of these patterns beyond a certain age may indicate a speech sound disorder.


ConferenceSpeech Pathology Australia National Conference 2022
Abbreviated titleBeyond borders
OtherIf nothing else, recent events have demonstrated the ingenuity and resolve required to provide quality speech pathology services. Specifically, challenging and changed times has reminded us to stretch and reach beyond our perceived borders to achieve excellence with our practice, research, information dissemination and client and family engagement. It has also reaffirmed that speech pathologists’ reach and impact is far and wide. Thus, we invite speech pathologists to join us in Melbourne in 2022 to share and discuss how we have gone Beyond Borders with regards to clientele, research, information dissemination.

As always, the program will include keynote speakers, leaders at the forefront of Speech Pathology: Professor Gail Gillon, Dr Joanne (Jo) Watson and our Elizabeth Usher Memorial Award Recipient, Professor Miranda Rose.

We anticipate a great attendance as we return to our in-person conference, providing our members the much-needed opportunity to network with leaders, make new contacts and build those important relationships which we have all missed.
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