Some aspects of child phonology in imitative and spontaneous speech

Laurence B. Leonard, Richard G. Schwartz, M. Karen Folger, M. Jeanne Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Child phonologists have made varying assumptions concerning the nature of phonological characteristics of children's imitative utterances and their relationship to the characteristics of spontaneous utterances. This study examined this relationship in children in early Stage I. A task was devised which permitted an inspection of children's unsolicited imitations of nonsense words reflecting syllabic shapes and consonants in and out of the child's phonological system. The results are discussed with respect to production constraints, phonological idioms, and selection and avoidance rules operative in imitative speech during this period of development. The findings indicated that while these imitative utterances were subject to the same production constraints they were not subject to the same selection and avoidance rules operative in spontaneous speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-415
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child Language
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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