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Original Research Articles

/t/ before /ʈ/ or /ʈ/ before /t/: Emerging Trends from a Preliminary Study of Consonant Acquisition in Typically developing Sinhala-speaking Children aged 3 to 6 years

Authors:

Shyamani Hettiarachchi ,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About Shyamani
Shyamani works as a Speech and Language Therapist and Dramatherapist in Sri Lanka. She is currently working at the Department of Disability Studies at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya as a Senior Lecturer, where she teaches the Speech and Hearing Sciences course.
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Mahishi Ranaweera,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About Mahishi
Mahishi works as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Language Teaching of the Faculty of Humanities in the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. She is currently reading for her Ph.D. at University College London.
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R.M.W. Rajapaksha

Department of Linguistics, University of Kelaniya,, LK
About R.M.W.
The author was Senior and Chair Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. He specialises in research on phonetics and phonology.
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Abstract

Purpose: Speech and language therapists use developmental norms established for consonant acquisition to determine whether a child has age-appropriate, delayed or disordered speech skills. There are currently no established norms for the acquisition of Sinhala consonants, which have implications for accurate diagnosis. The aim of this study was to document preliminary trends observed in the trajectory of consonant sound development in Sinhala-speaking young children so as to form a set of ‘working norms’.

Method: A picture-based articulation assessment was administered to 70 typically developing children who were between 3 years and 6 years 11 months of age.

Results: Regarding the rate of acquisition and order of acquisition, the findings displayed trends comparable to general patterns of consonant mastery reported within cross-linguistic studies. In addition, a different rate of acquisition and order of mastery was observed for both uncommon Sinhala language-specific speech sounds showing ambient language effects and for a few common sounds occurring in Sinhala and other languages.

Conclusion & Implications: The convergence and divergence in the rate and order of Sinhala consonant acquisition compared to the cross-linguistic literature has important clinical implications for assessment, early identification of speech difficulties and intervention within speech and language therapy practice in Sri Lanka.

How to Cite: Hettiarachchi, S., Ranaweera, M. and Rajapaksha, R.M.W., 2021. /t/ before /ʈ/ or /ʈ/ before /t/: Emerging Trends from a Preliminary Study of Consonant Acquisition in Typically developing Sinhala-speaking Children aged 3 to 6 years. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 32(3), pp.9–28.
Published on 26 Oct 2021.

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