This study investigated selected articulation characteristics of 812-year-old children with severe hearing impairment and the relations between these characteristics and judged adequacy of spontaneous conversational speech. The 30 experimental children, although variable in articulation performance, presented significant problems in approximating the adult phonological code. The mean number of test errors observed in the hearing-impaired children most closely approximated the errors of normal-hearing 3-year-old children of the standardization sample. Errors were primarily of the substitution type in the final word position. Target phonemes most-to-least vulnerable to error were (a) affricates, (b) fricatives, (c) glides, (d) plosives, (e) vowels and diphthongs and, (f) nasals. Frequency and consistency measures showed high-to-moderate correlations with judged adequacy of conversational speech.
A multiple regression analysis yielded an R of .92 and indicated that the number of defective test items accounted for 84.% and vowel-diphthong errors for 4% of the variance in judged adequacy of conversational speech. The correlational analyses support the usefulness of a single index such as that derived from a comprehensive articulation test for the purpose of quantifying the degree to which a speaker is judged to be deficient in "general speech adequacy" by listeners in the environment.Submitted on March 16, 1982
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