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Research Article

Developmental Changes in the Identification of a Stop Consonants Continuum


Willy De Weirdt

Rijksuniversiteit Gent Laboratorimn voor Differentiëe Experimentele en Genetische Psychologie, BE
About Willy

The author is indebted to E. H. R. Windey, Frans Veryser and Evelyne Layon-Verstraete for their great help in the search for subjects. Further thanks are expressed to Prof. Van Wormhoudt for making available the equipment for synthesising and recording the stimuli, and to Luc Van Hove and Jean-Pierre Martens for showing me the ropes and making available some software. Finally, the supporting interest of Prof. De Coster and the staff of the Laboratory for Experimental, Differential and Developmental Psychology is highly appreciated.

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At age 6 the ability to perceive all phonemic distinctions in natural language is about completely acquired, but some more complex phoneme processing capacities are still developing. We wondered whether there would also be a further development in perception tasks in which the ceiling effect is eliminated by greater perceptual difficulty. In this study synthetic speech stimuli on a stop consonant continuum from /p/ to /t/ were presented in identification tasks. Children at the start and near the and of first grade, third- and fourth-grade children either dyslexic, poorly performing, well performing or in special education, and adults were compared with respect to the slope and the phoneme boundary of their identification curves. It was found that, in general, with increasing age, the slope tends to become steeper, and the phoneme boundary is located at higher second formant values. Moreover, many of the youngest children could not consistently identify some stimuli.

How to Cite: De Weirdt, W., 1985. Developmental Changes in the Identification of a Stop Consonants Continuum. Psychologica Belgica, 25(1), pp.1–15. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 1985.
Peer Reviewed


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