There are currently five million children three to five years of age (i.e., 59.5% of all children from three to five), who are bilingual, living in the United States. By 2025, Census data show that the population of Florida will increase by some 26 percent adding another 5.5 million people to the state. There are a limited amount of studies yielding data on the development of Spanish phonology in 4 and 5 year old children residing in the United States, particularly in Florida. Consequently, there is limited normative information pertaining to articulation and phonological development in Spanish speakers. It was postulated that normal, bilingual, Spanish/ English speaking children, ages 4 to 5 years old, would display different articulation and phonological processes in English and Spanish when measured with standardized English and Spanish articulation and phonology tests. Sixteen participants from the Orlando and Miami, Florida areas were tested. The participants consisted of eight 4 year olds and eight 5 year olds with six females and ten males. The children ranged in age from 3.7 to 5.7 with a mean age of 4.8 years. A diverse Spanish dialect (Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American, and South American Spanish) was obtained from the participants. All children were normally developing. In addition, language, oral motor skills, and hearing were screened. It was hypothesized that there would be differences for the group of 16 bilingual (i.e., Spanish-English speaking) children for place, manner and voicing of articulation in English versus Spanish as measured by percentage of consonants correct. Only one consonant in the initial position was significantly different, i.e., /t∫/. The /t∫/ phoneme is an affricate which means it is part stop and part fricative. Spanish contains only one fricative (i.e., the /t∫/) whereas English contains two affricates (i.e., /t∫/, /Ÿ/). Spanish speakers therefore, have little practice producing affricates. It was hypothesized that there would be differences in the group of 16 bilingual (i.e., Spanish-English speaking) children for phonological processes as measured by percentage of occurrence errors in English versus Spanish phonology. Two of the seven phonological processes were significantly different in their comparisons: (a) Stopping; and (b) Velar Fronting. Stopping could have been more difficult for children in English (9% occurrence) than in Spanish (0% occurrence) because there are more fricatives in English which can be stopped as compared to Spanish where there is only one fricative, which could be stopped. Fronting occurred 4% of the time in English and 0% of the time in Spanish. This could be due to the Spanish language being more anteriorly placed than English (Brice, 1996). Normative articulation and phonological Spanish data from this study were obtained and are particularly useful for speech-language pathologists in today's public school. As the Hispanic school population increase this information is beneficial as a reference for Spanish speech productions. Further research should include more participants, e.g., Spanish-English speaking children with phonological disorders, as the Hispanic population is increasing especially in the state of Florida. Larger sample sizes should be studied in order to create a more accurate valid representation of the population of Spanish-English speaking children in Florida. Research on this topic should be expanded to include normative data for disordered bilingual children in order to apply more appropriate treatments. In addition, other languages should be studied as the state of Florida and the nation are also experiencing growth in other languages beyond Spanish.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Health and Public Affairs
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dennis, Jennifer, "Articulation And Phonological Systems Of Spanish-English Speaking Florida 4 And 5 Year Olds" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6141.