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Development of fricative production in French-speaking school-aged children using cochlear implants and children with normal hearing

Abstract : In the course of productive phonological development, fricatives are among the last speech sounds to emerge and to be mastered by children, probably because of the high degree of articulatory precision they require or because of difficulties with their perception. Children with cochlear implants (CI) face additional difficulties with fricative perception, since high spectral frequency components are shown to be especially difficult to perceive with a cochlear implant. Studying fricative production in children with CIs allows to study how the partial transmission of speech sounds by cochlear implants influences children’s speech production, and therefore to explore how perceptual abilities influence the late stages of phonological development. This acoustic study focuses on fricative production at three places of articulation (i.e., /f/, /s/ and /ʃ/), comparing productions by two groups of children (20 children with normal hearing (NH) vs. 13 children with CIs, all aged 5;7 to 10;7 years), and taking into account their consistency in coarticulation and the stability of their production across two different tasks (word-repetition and picture-naming). Statistical analyses were carried out by means of linear mixed-effect models. The results show that while both groups produce /ʃ/ with similar acoustic characteristics, between-group differences are found for /f/ and /s/. Furthermore, effects of consonant-vowel coarticulation are found for in children with NH, and are absent in children with CIs. Effects of chronological age are only found for children with CIs (production in older children with CIs nearing that of children with NH). Our study shows that the development of fricative production of five- to 11-year-old children with CIs is affected by the children’s hearing abilities and late access to auditory information. These limitations however do not prevent the children from eventually reaching a consistency similar to that of children with NH, as suggested by the fact that their production is still evolving during that age span. The results also show that the acquisition of coarticulation strategies can be impeded by degraded or delayed access to audio.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 5, 2020 - 11:50:46 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 7:49:54 AM

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Bénédicte Grandon, Anne Vilain. Development of fricative production in French-speaking school-aged children using cochlear implants and children with normal hearing. Journal of Communication Disorders, 2020, 86, pp.105996. ⟨10.1016/j.jcomdis.2020.105996⟩. ⟨hal-02794862⟩



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