UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 9 (1997)

Prosody and melody in vowel disorder


The paper explores the syllabic and segmental facets of phonological vowel disorder. The independence of the two dimensions is illustrated by the case study of an English-speaking child presenting with a vowel impairment which can be shown to have a specifically syllabic basis. His rendition of adult long vowels displays three main patterns of deviance -- shortening, bisyllabification and the hardening of a target off-glide to a stop. Viewed phonemically, these patterns appear as unconnected substitutions and distortions. Viewed syllabically, however, they can be traced to a single underlying deficit, namely a failure to secure the complex nuclear structure necessary for the coding of vowel length contrasts.

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