speech sound acquisition
Speech and language acquisition in Dutch speaking children with different degrees of hearing: Hearing children and deaf children with a cochlear implant
Welcome to the project 'Speech and language acquisition in Dutch speaking children with different degrees of hearing'!
The advent of the cochlear implant (CI) has made it possible for an increasing number of deaf individuals to have access to auditory input which is considered to be a prerequisite for spoken language acquisition. Recent reports in the literature show that although children implanted at a median age of 3.5 benefit greatly from the implant, even after six years of device use, their spoken language phonologies are not yet ‘on target’ (Chin 2003). Hence, the question remains: will CI children eventually arrive at an age appropriate sound production?
The age at implantation has decreased considerably, and has dropped below 24 months (NIH consensus statement 1995). Yet it still needs to be scrutinized whether children who are implanted in their first / second year of life develop language in the same sequence and according to the same patterns as hearing children, and whether the delay that older implanted children show in reaching language acquisition milestones, still exists for the very early implanted children.
The aim of this project is to investigate segmental, intrasyllabic and intersyllabic co-occurrence patterns in prelexical babbling, and the acquisition of phonological segments and patterns in the early lexical period. Longitudinal data of CI children implanted in the first/second year of life will be compared with those of a hearing age matched cohort.
The envisaged research is corpus-based, using an existing corpus of speech and language of CI children and their parents, and an analogous corpus of hearing children that will be collected in the course of the project.
Due to the difference in audiological functioning, the present project can throw a new light on the ongoing controversy in language acquisition theory: the ‘nature’ – ‘nurture’ debate.