Speech 'language pathologists' knowledge of tongue/palate contact for consonants

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Speech'language pathologists (SLPs) rely on knowledge of tongue placement to assess and provide intervention. A total of 175 SLPs who worked with children with speech sound disorders (SSDs) drew coronal diagrams of tongue/palate contact for 24 English consonants. Comparisons were made between their responses and typical English-speaking adults' contact established by electropalatography (EPG). SLPs were most accurate for consonants with no contact (h, p, f), then velar consonants (g, k, ng). The remaining consonants were rarely accurate (from most to least accurate: l, t, r, z, n, sh, s, zh, y, v, th(voiceless), d, m, b, w, th(voiced), ch, j). SLPs demonstrated good knowledge of contact along the midline, but poor knowledge of contact along lateral margins of the palate. Importantly, SLPs did not show awareness of: lateral bracing ('horseshoe' contact) for alveolar consonants (t, d, n, s, z); the groove for s, z, sh, zh; or posterior lateral contact for most other consonants. Accuracy was not influenced by the following: length of time as SLP, location of SLP training, location of current workplace, proportion of caseload with SSD or childhood apraxia of speech, amount of time spent reading, or exposure to EPG. Awareness of coronal tongue placement for consonant production needs targeting in SLP education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1013
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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