Intraword Variability in Typical Speech Development Purpose Intraword variability (sometimes called token-to-token variability) has been associated with certain types of speech disorder. It has also been documented in typical speech development. The purpose of this study was to investigate intraword variability in typically developing 2- and 3-year-olds to determine expected rates and patterns of variability in ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2015
Intraword Variability in Typical Speech Development
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anna V. Sosa
    Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Anna V. Sosa: anna.sosa@nau.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Lynn Williams
    Associate Editor: Lynn Williams×
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2015
Intraword Variability in Typical Speech Development
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2015, Vol. 24, 24-35. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-13-0148
History: Received December 17, 2013 , Revised July 25, 2014 , Accepted October 6, 2014
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2015, Vol. 24, 24-35. doi:10.1044/2014_AJSLP-13-0148
History: Received December 17, 2013; Revised July 25, 2014; Accepted October 6, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose Intraword variability (sometimes called token-to-token variability) has been associated with certain types of speech disorder. It has also been documented in typical speech development. The purpose of this study was to investigate intraword variability in typically developing 2- and 3-year-olds to determine expected rates and patterns of variability in typical speech development.

Method Participants were 33 children aged 2;6 (years;months) to 3;11 with typical speech development. Three productions of 25 target words were elicited, and an overall variability score was calculated. Response type and the effect of word length were investigated.

Results Variability rates decreased with age; however, the oldest children (ages 3;6–3;11) continued to display considerable variability. The most common response type was variable with no hits (i.e., variable production with none matching the target form) for all age groups, and variability was greatest for longer words.

Conclusions Variability is prevalent in the speech of typically developing 2- and 3-year-olds and was observed even in the oldest children. Future work is needed to determine at what age this type of phonemic variability is no longer prevalent in typical speech development. Clinicians should use caution in interpreting the presence of intraword variability as indicative of specific subtypes of speech disorder.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the Northern Arizona University Faculty Grants Program through the Northern Arizona University Office of the Vice President for Research. The following individuals contributed to data collection, coding, and transcription: Sarah Cambanes, Rhea Lewis-Tribe, Cheryl Pergola, Ryan Shoemaker, Victoria Sokoll, Emily White, and Kerry Will. The author acknowledges Sarah Cambanes and Emily White for significant contributions to this project.
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