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Toddlers with slow expressive language development were compared to normally speaking age-mates on three global measures of phonological behavior: the average level of complexity of their syllable structures, the number of different consonant phonemes produced, and the percentage of consonants correctly produced in intelligible utterances. The groups were found to differ significantly on all three variables. Further analyses were done, breaking the groups down into narrower age ranges. These comparisons also revealed differences between late-talking and normal youngsters. Detailed analyses of the range of phonemes and syllable structures produced, as well as the appearance of phoneme classes within syllable structures and positions, revealed that late talkers showed a delayed rather than a deviant pattern of phonological development. The implications of these findings for identifying and monitoring expressive delay in toddlers are discussed.


Journal of Speech and Hearing Research





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