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clinical linguistics & phonetics, 2001, vol. 15, no. 5, 343± 361

An investigation of phonological skills in Puerto Rican Spanish-speaking 2-year-olds B R I A N G O L D S T E I N ² a n d PAT R I C I A C I N T R OÂ N ³ ² Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA ³ Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Miami, FL, USA (Received 20 January 2000; accepted 15 September 2000)

Abstract Researchers have been interested in separating common cross-linguistic phonological patterns (so-called `universals’ ) from language-speci® c ones. Previous studies typically have focused on a relatively small number of patterns (e.g., substitution patterns for target liquids, deletion patterns for clusters). The purpose of this study is to describe phonological skills of three Puerto Rican, Spanish-speaking 2-year-olds and to determine which patterns tend to be speci® c to Spanish and which ones are also exhibited commonly by speakers of a variety of languages. The study of Spanish represents an opportunity to continue examining a language that has a diŒerent ambient phonology and comes from a diŒerent language family than the languages examined in other studies of 2-year-olds: English, Cantonese and Igbo. Three monolingual, Spanish-speaking 2-year-olds living in Puerto Rico participated in the study. Independent and relational analyses of both consonants and vowels were conducted on the children’s connected speech samples. Comparisons were then made to phonological pro® les of other Spanishspeaking 2-year-olds and to 2-year-olds speaking languages other than Spanish. The results indicated that the Puerto Rican, Spanish-speaking children exhibited phonological skills that were both comparable to and divergent from those exhibited by 2-year-old speakers of other languages. Keywords: Spanish, phonological patterns, 2-year-olds.

Introduction The examination of phonological patterns in typically developing children speaking languages other than English has received increased attention of late (see Yavas, 1998 for a recent review). Spanish has witnessed increased examination evidenced by a number of recent studies examining phonological patterns in typically developing, Spanish-speakin g children (e.g., Mann and Hodson, 1994; Gildersleeve, Davis Address correspondence to: Brian Goldstein, Temple University, Communication Sciences, 109 Weiss Hall, Phil., PA, 19122, USA. e-mail: Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics ISSN 0269-9206 print/ISSN 1464-5076 online Ñ 2001 Taylor & Francis Ltd DOI: 10.1080/02699200010017814


B. Goldstein and P. Cintro´n

and Stubbe, 1996; Goldstein and Iglesias, 1996). These studies, however, tended to focus on children older than two years of age; there are fewer studies examining phonological patterns in younger Spanish-speakin g children. Examination of phonological skills in young children who speak languages other than English may shed light on phonological patterns that are exhibited across a variety of languages compared with ones that tend to be language-speci® c. Cross-linguistic vs. language-speciWc phonological patterns Researchers have posited that the phonological system has general (i.e., universal ) parameters that can be tuned to a speci® c ambient phonology allowing children to show examples of both common cross-linguistic and language-speci® c principles (e.g., Locke, 1983; Vihman, 1996). That is, children can acknowledge both the universal and language-speci® c elements of phonological acquisition. Many researchers have noted that across a wide variety of languages children tended to show a similar pattern for mastery of sound classes (e.g., stops are generally acquired before fricatives) and to use many similar patterns (e.g., cluster reduction, ® nal consonant deletion, stopping, fronting, assimilation, and unstressed syllable deletion) to simplify their phonology (see Locke, 1983 and Yavas, 1998 for detailed reviews). In this section, we will review studies that have reported on the phonological skills in young children speaking Spanish, English, Cantonese, Russian and Igbo. These data serve to motivate the present study. The limited data on phonological skills in Spanish-speakin g 2-year-olds indicate that stops, nasals and glides are produced with high accuracy; fricatives, aŒricates, and the lateral with moderate accuracy; and spirants [Â, ð , å ], the ¯ ap, and the trill with low accuracy (Gonzalez, 1983; Maez, 1985; Anderson and Smith, 1987 ). Across these three studies, children produced approximatel y twice the number of syllableinitial consonants (20) as syllable-® nal ones (10) and produced, on average, two word-initial clusters. Percentage of consonants correct (PCC ) averaged about 60% for the subjects in Anderson and Smith’s (1987) study (given the information provided in the other two studies, it was not possible to calculate PCC ). Error analyses indicated that deletions occurred commonly on liquids and clusters, and substitutions occurred frequently for liquids and fricatives. Little information on the accuracy of vowels was reported in any of these studies. For example, the number of vowels errors was not provided in any of three studies, although Maez (1985) noted that the ® ve basic phonemic vowels (/i, e, u, o, a/) were represented in the inventories of all three children studied. There was also little information regarding type of vowel error patterns, although Gonzalez (1983 ) did report some examples of complete vowel harmony (e.g., /kafe / `coŒee’  [kefe] ) and place harmony (e.g., / lapis/ `pencil’  [upis] ). Research characterizing the phonological skills of 2-year-olds speaking languages other than Spanish has also been published. Children speaking languages such as American English (Stoel-Gammon, 1985; 1987; Dyson, 1988; Robb and Bleile, 1994 ), Cantonese (So and Dodd, 1995), Russian ( Timm, 1977) and Igbo (Nwokah, 1986 ) showed high accuracy on stops, nasals, and glides; moderate accuracy on fricatives; and low accuracy on aŒricates and liquids. Similar to Spanish-speakin g children, the children in these studies produced more syllable-initial consonants (approximately 10) than syllable-® nal ones (5± 6). PCC averaged 70± 80%, slightly higher than the 60% computed for Spanish-speakin g children (Anderson and Smith,

Phonological skills in Spanish speakers


1987 ). The somewhat higher PCC may be due to the older average age of the children in the studies with English- and Cantonese-speaking children. The vast majority of the words produced by the English-speaking children were monosyllabic (90%). As was the case with the Spanish-speakin g children, deletions of liquids, fricatives and clusters were common, as were substitutions for liquids and fricatives. Vowels were produced with high accuracy. Percent of vowels correct (PVC ) was approximatel y 93% for English-speaking children and 95% for Cantonese-speaking children. These studies suggest that young children speaking a variety of languages exhibit similar phonological skills across a number of domains. Researchers, however, also have documented phonological patterns that are exhibited diŒerentially across languages. For example, although simpli® cation of liquids is common among children speaking many (if not all ) languages, substitution patterns for target liquids diŒer across languages. In American English, liquids are most-often replaced by glides (typically [w] is substituted for /ò/1 and [ j ] is substituted for /l/) (Smit, 1993a). This error pattern (i.e., gliding), however, is not the most common substitution pattern for liquids exhibited by children speaking other languages. The r-like sound (speci® cally, the alveolar trill ) is typically replaced by [l ] by Spanish (Stoel, 1974; Anderson and Smith, 1987; Goldstein and Iglesias, 1996), Italian ( Bortolini and Leonard, 1991) and Portuguese speakers ( Yavas and Lamprecht, 1988). In their study of Puerto Rican Spanish speakers, Anderson and Smith (1987) also reported that [h] was used as a substitute for the trill (the trill in Puerto Rican Spanish is typically realized as a velar [x] or uvular [R]; Hammond, 1999). The ¯ ap /Q/ is often realized as [ð ], [l ], and [?] in Spanish-speakin g children (Anderson and Smith, 1987; Goldstein and Iglesias, 1996). The lateral /l/ is realized as [n] and [r] in Portuguese ( Yavas and Lamprecht, 1988) and Italian ( Bortolini and Leonard, 1991). With the exception of one Portuguese-speakin g child with a phonological disorder in Yavas and Lamprecht’s study (1988 ), there was not one instance of liquid gliding in the Italian-, Portuguese- or Spanish-speakin g children as is commonly reported for English-speaking children. Substitutions are not the only error types that show diŒerential patterns across languages; deletions do as well. For example, Lleo and Prinz (1996) showed that clusters were reduced diŒerently by Spanish- and German-speaking 2-year-old children. German-speaking children tended to delete the second member of the cluster / klain@/ `small’  [kain@]). The Spanish-speakin g children, however, most-often deleted the ® rst member of the cluster (e.g., /globo / `balloon’  [loÂo] ). The results of these studies suggest that simpli® cation patterns vary depending on the language being acquired. Although these studies demonstrated the value and necessity of diŒerentiating cross-linguistic and language-speci® c phonological patterns, there is a need to augment the information from previous studies for a number of reasons. Although three published studies examined the phonological skills of Spanish-speakin g 2-year-olds, diŒerentiation of common cross-linguistic patterns from language-speci® c ones was not emphasized. Indeed, only Anderson and Smith (1987 ) compared their results with data from languages other than English. Furthermore, most studies that identi® ed cross-linguistic and language-speci® c 1 Consistent with IPA usage, the symbol ò is used here to represent the prevocalic `r’ of //

American English whereas /r/ represents the alveolar trill of Spanish.

B. Goldstein and P. Cintro´n


patterns limited their focus to one sound class. These studies typically examined liquids to the exclusion of other sound classes. In addition, these studies commonly examined only one type of error, typically substitution patterns, to the exclusion of deletions and additions. There is a need then to examine the range of phonological skills in young children and to include information on types and numbers of substitutions, deletions, and additions for all sound classes to begin to gauge the propensity for certain phonological patterns to operate commonly across many languages and the tendency for others to be exhibited diŒerentially depending on the ambient language. Historically, principles such as syllable structure (e.g., Vihman, 1996 ) and sonority (e.g., Clements, 1990 ), among others, have been used to account, in part, for language-speci® c diŒerences. Although these principles continue to play a vital role in understanding phonological acquisition, recent phonological theories such as Optimality Theory may provide more insight on how and why these patterns are exhibited diŒerentially across languages (for recent reviews, see Bernhardt and Stemberger, 1998 and Barlow and Gierut, 1999). The purpose of this study was to examine the phonological skills in three Puerto Rican Spanish-speakin g 2-year-olds. To help understand the nature of cross-linguistic versus language-speci® c phonological acquisition, the following questions were asked: 1. What consonants, vowels, and syllable types are produced by 2-year-old typically developing Spanish-speakin g children? 2. What errors do typically developing Spanish-speakin g 2-year-olds make in comparison to the adult target? 3. How do the phonological pro® les of these children compare to Spanish speaking 2-year-olds examined in other studies and 2-year-old speakers of other languages?

Method Participants Three monolingual Puerto Rican Spanish-speakin g boys aged 1;10 (subject 1), 2;4 (subject 2 ), and 2;5 (subject 3) participated in the study (characteristics of Spanish phonology in general and Puerto Rican Spanish in particular are summarized in Appendix A). All three boys were living in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the time of data collection. Subjects 1 and 2 were ® rst-born children without any siblings and Subject 3 was second-born and had one sibling. Both parents resided in the home at the time of data collection. According to parent report, all three children were from middle income families. Inclusion criteria consisted of the following:






all subjects spoke the Puerto Rican dialect of Spanish as their primary language at home, there was no parental concern about speech and/or language development, there was no prior speech/language treatment, there was no concern about hearing and no history of chronic otitis media, and there were no neurological, sensory, or socio-emotional de® cits.

Phonological skills in Spanish speakers


Data collection Spontaneous language samples were collected from the three children in their homes and were video-taped (Sony Model CCD-TR51). Spontaneous language samples were utilized to facilitate direct comparisons with other studies that have examined the phonological development of 2-year-olds, the majority of which also collected spontaneous language samples. The data collection session lasted between 60 and 90 minutes. In all three cases, the children interacted with their mothers with toys, books and games that were available in their homes. The number of utterances, total number of words, number of diŒerent words and mean length of utterancewords were calculated for each child. The number of utterances averaged 201 (range 5 107± 297). The total number of words averaged 308 (range 5 128± 429). The total number of diŒerent words averaged 75 (range 5 44± 116). Mean length of utterance-words averaged 1.50 (range 5 1.20± 1.85). Scoring of data For all three subjects, information on consonant and vowel production, syllable types and word length was collected and analysed. For consonants and vowels, both independent analyses (i.e., production of speech sounds without regard to the adult target) and relational analyses (i.e., production of speech sounds in comparison to the adult target) were completed. Independent and relational analyses were completed to provide a complete and detailed description of the phonological systems of these children and to allow comparison with other studies of 2-year-olds. For consonants, independent analyses consisted of: E


segmental inventory (the segments present in each child’s inventory according to syllable position). By sound class, sounds are represented in syllable initial word initial (SIWI ) position (e.g., /nombQe/ `name’ ), syllable initial within word (SIWW ) position (e.g., /mano/ `hand’), and syllable ® nal (SF ) position (e.g., /tQen/ `train’). Following Dinnsen, Chin, Elbert and Powell (1990), Dyson (1988 ) and Stoel-Gammon (1985; 1987 ), a sound was considered to be included in the phonetic inventory if it occurred in more than one word (sounds that occurred in only one word were also documented based on the suggestion of Stoel-Gammon and Dunn, 1985); syllable types (the percentage of each syllable type); and word length (number of syllables). E

Relational analyses were composed of: E E

Percent Consonants in the Inventory (PCI ) (Shriberg, Austin, Lewis, McSweeney and Wilson, 1997); Percent Consonants Correct± Revised (PCC± R) (Shriberg et al.,1997); and the number and types of deletions, substitutions and additions. E

Vowel analyses consisted of an examination of: E E E

the inventory; Percent Vowels Correct± Revised (PVC± R) (Shriberg et al., 1997); and the number and types of error patterns.

Data were analysed taking into account all features of the Puerto Rican dialect of Spanish (following Goldstein and Iglesias, 1996). That is, features of the

B. Goldstein and P. Cintro´n


dialect used by the children were not scored as errors. For example, in the Puerto Rican dialect the ¯ ap /Q/ in SF position is often replaced by / l/ (/maQtijo/ `hammer’  [maltijo]). In this analysis, a child’s use of that pattern would be scored as correct. Reliability of transcription was completed on 25% of each of the three samples. Following Stoel-Gammon (1985), broad transcription was completed for both interjudge and intra-judge reliability. Inter-judge reliability was performed via videotape by the ® rst author and a bilingual (native Spanish speaker) graduate student in speech-language pathology who had obtained a Master’s degree in Spanish. Interjudge reliability was found to be 97%. Intra-judge reliability, determined by a rescoring 25% of each of the three samples by the bilingual graduate student, was found to be 86%. Results Segmental and syllabic analyses Phonetic inventory Table 1 shows the consonants and vowels in the repertoire of each child, organized by syllable position and sound class. The results represent only those sounds occurring in more than one word unless otherwise indicated (i.e., segments occurring in only one word are marked by an asterisk) . Each child produced at least one segment in every sound class with the exception of aŒricates and liquids by subject 3 and glides by subject 2. Fricatives and aŒricates tended to be more represented in SIWW position than in SIWI position. Two spirants, [Â] and [å ], were produced in SIWI position even though they are constrained to the word-internal position in the adult phonology. Although spirants can be produced intervocalically across word boundaries (e.g., /la boteja / `the bottle’  [ la Âotaja]), the children in the current study produced the spirants in utterance-initial position (e.g., /gitara / `guitar’  [åitaha]). Two children also produced three fricatives that are not typically associated with the segmental inventory of Puerto Rican Spanish. Subject 1 produced [v], and Subject 2 produced [S] and [h]. Subject 1 attempted no words containing [®] and [ð ]; no words with [®], [f ], or [ð ] were attempted by subject 3. Finally, all three subjects produced all vowels. In terms of complexity and accuracy of the phonetic inventory, subject 2 exhibited the most adult-like phonetic repertoire. He showed both the highest PCI and PCC± R followed by subject 1 then subject 3. According to the phonetic inventory typology devised by Dinnsen, Chin, Elbert, and Powell (1990), subject 2 was the only child to exhibit the most complex type of phonetic inventory (i.e., Level E ). This child produced obstruent stops and nasals, a variety of places of articulation, various manners of articulation, a stridency distinction and a lateral/retro¯ ex distinction. Subjects 1 and 3 exhibited the next most complex type of phonetic inventory, Level D. They produced obstruent stops and nasals, a variety of places of articulation, various manners of articulation, but they produced neither a stridency distinction nor a lateral/retro¯ ex distinction. Syllables Table 2 lists the percentage of syllable types and length of words produced by each child. The percentage of each syllable type based on its occurrence in Spanish is

Phonological skills in Spanish speakers Table 1.


Phonetic inventory

Subject 1

Subject 2

Subject 3


Syllable Initial Word Initial (SIWI) Stops Nasals Fricatives AŒricates Liquids Glides Clusters

pbtdk mn  v å* none l none none

pbtdkg mn s S* å* dZ Q* (¯ ap) l none tQ* gQ*

pbtdk mn WÂ none none

Total number




none 10

Syllable Initial Within Word (SIWW ) Stops Nasals Fricatives AŒricates Liquids Glides Clusters

pbtdk mn Âfå tS dZ none j pl*

pbtdk mn® Â f ð s S* h tS dZ Q (¯ ap) l r (trill ) none dQ* kl* gl*

pbtdk mn W Â none none j none

Total number




kg n none l Q*

k mn f* s l

none m n* none l


Syllable Final (SF ) Stops Nasals Fricatives Liquids Total number Vowels

4 aeiou

5 aeiou








Percent Cons. in inventory





Percent Cons. Correct± R





Total number

* produced in only one word. KEY: cons. 5 consonants.

also listed on the table (taken from spontaneous language samples collected by Iglesias, Cohen, Gutierrez-Clellen, and Marcano, 1983). The results indicated that most syllables consisted of consonant-vowel sequences (CV ). This result held for all three subjects although only slightly more than half the syllable types for subject 3 were of this variety compared to approximatel y threefourths for the other two subjects. This result re¯ ects the fact that CV syllables are also the most common syllable type in the language (47%) and the most common type cross-linguistically (Goodluck, 1991). The next most-common syllable types produced by the children were vowel ( V ), consonant-vowel-consonan t (CVC ), and vowel-consonant ( VC ). In the Spanish language, in general, these three syllable types are fairly evenly distributed; however, that was not the case across the three children. V syllables were much more common than either CVC or VC syllables re¯ ecting the tendency of the children to omit syllable-® nal consonants thus reducing

B. Goldstein and P. Cintro´n

350 Table 2.

Percentage use of syllable types and word length Subject 1

Subject 2

Subject 3



69% 18% 9% 3% 1%

75% 9% 10% 5% 1%

57% 38% 2% 3% 1%

67% 22% 7% 4% 1%

47% 14% 19% 19% 2%

35% 45% 14% 5% 2%

23% 72% 5% 0 0

25% 67% 6% 2% 1%

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

Syllable types CV V CVC VC CCVC

Word length (Number of Syllables) 1-syllable 2-syllable 3-syllable 4-syllable 5-syllable

17% 83% 0 0 0

* Iglesias, Cohen, Gutierrez-Clellen and Marcano (1983) . Key: n/a 5 not accounted for in their study.

CVC targets to CV and VC targets to V (number and types of deletions will be discussed in detail in a later section). This was especially the case for subject 3 who produced twice as many V syllables as subject 1 and four times as many as subject 2. Consonant-consonant-vowel-consonan t (CCVC ) syllable types were least commonly produced, constituting 1% of all syllable types. That ® gure is comparable to a 2% occurrence in the language. Word length was also determined by examining the number of syllables in each word. Over 90% of the words produced by the children were mono- and bisyllabic. Two subjects produced 3-syllable words, but only Subject 2 produced 4and 5-syllable words. He used a variety of 4-syllable words but produced only one 5-syllable token (mariposita (butter¯ y)). Error Patterns Deletions Table 3 shows the percentage of deletions for syllables in multisyllabic words, consonant clusters, and singletons in syllable-initial and syllable-® nal positions. These percentages are based on the total number of opportunities for each target to occur. Of the 581 opportunities to produce syllables in multisyllabic words, only 39 syllables (6.7%), all unstressed, were reduced. There was some variation among subjects: although subjects 1 and 3 exhibited syllable reduction at about the same rate (14.4% and 10.4% respectively), subject 2 deleted unstressed syllables in only 1% of the total number of opportunities. The highest deletion rate was documented for target consonant clusters. Of the 82 opportunities to produce clusters, 69 (84.1%) were produced in error. Of the 69 clusters produced in error, 64 (93%) were reduced (e.g., /plato / `plate’  [pato] ), and 5 (7%) were omitted altogether (e.g., /plato /  [ato]). All three subjects showed more reductions than total omissions, although all of the cluster errors made by subject 2 were reductions. There were a number of distinct error patterns exhibited by the children: (1) in 59 of 64 cluster reductions, the second member of the cluster was deleted (e.g., /plaja/ `beach’  [paja]), (2) there were ® ve cases of assimilation

Phonological skills in Spanish speakers Table 3.


Percentage of Deletions Subject 1

Subject 2

Subject 3


Syllables in multisyllabic words





Clusters Reductions Omissions

74.3 8.6

84.1 0

66.7 33.3

78 6.1

Syllable initial singletons Liquids Stops Nasals Glides Fricatives AŒricates

100 21.3 34.2 50 56.4 0

20.9 2.2 3.4 0 1 0

100 21.7 42.4 41.7 60 0

12.8 4.5 4.3 3.6 1 0

Syllable Wnal singletons Stops Nasals Liquids

0 100 0

0 0 15.6

100 100 100

17 57 10

(e.g., /tQen/ `train’  [nen]), and (3) there were more than twice as many reductions of obstruent-plus-/Q/ clusters ( 44 of 64 5 69%) as obstruent-plus-/l/ clusters (20 of 64 5 31%). The children also deleted singleton consonants in SIWI, SIWW, and SF positions. Of the 1499 total number of opportunities to produce singleton consonants, 90 (6%) were deleted. Across all syllable positions, liquids were most commonly deleted with the ¯ ap /Q/ being the liquid most likely to be deleted. Of the 33 deletions of liquids, 28 (85%) involved deletion of /Q/, all in SIWW position (e.g., /miQa/ `look’  [mia]). Next most commonly deleted were stops, glides and nasals, and then fricatives. If stops were deleted, velar stops were most likely to be omitted, accounting for 13 of 25 (52%) deletions. The nasal most commonly deleted was /m/, accounting for 10 of 19 (53%) nasal deletions, perhaps because /m/ was the nasal that occurred most frequently in the children’s inventories. No aŒricates were deleted, but there were only three opportunities across all three subjects to produce them. Some diŒerences in the rate of deletion by syllable position were noted. Deletions in SIWI position were more common than deletions in SIWW position. This trend occurred in all sound classes as well (with the exception of liquids). In SF position, there were relatively few deletions Ð only 15 in 108 (13.8%) opportunities. This is not surprising given that in Spanish, there are few SF consonants (at least in comparison to English). In addition, in the Puerto Rican dialect of Spanish, two syllable ® nal segments, /s/ and /n/ are typically deleted as a dialect feature (e.g., /dos/ `two’  [do]; /tQen/ `train’  [tQe]). Of the 15 deletions, syllable-® nal /d/, /m/, / l/, and /Q/ were deleted with relatively equal frequency with 3, 4, 5 and 3 deletions each, respectively. Substitutions and additions Table 4 shows the number and types of substitution and addition errors. Substitution errors are listed by sound class. All substitution errors occurred on syllable-initial segments. There were no

B. Goldstein and P. Cintro´n

352 Table 4.

Liquids Fricatives Glides Stops Nasals AŒricates Additions (number)

Percentage of substitutions by manner of articulation Subject 1

Subject 2

Subject 3


10 28.2 50 8.8 7.9 0 2

21.7 5.4 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 16.7 5 0 0 0

11.7 10.9 5.5 2.7 1 0 2

substitutions for either the aŒricate or syllable-® nal sounds. Liquids were most likely to be aŒected, followed by fricatives and glides; few substitutions were evidenced for target stops or nasals. Only two addition errors occurred; the same error was made twice on the same word by one subject, (/aQbol/ `tree’  [balbol ]). As was the case with deletions, there was variation in the results among children. Subject 1 produced substitutions for target sounds in every sound class with the exception of aŒricates. However, substitutions made by the other two subjects were concentrated in speci® c sound classes. Subject 2 exhibited substitutions for liquids and fricatives, whereas Subject 3’ s substitutions aŒected glides and stops. Common patterns were documented related to the sounds that were used as substitutes. In general, fricatives tended to replace liquids, in particular [Â] and [ð ] for the ¯ ap /Q/ and [l ] and [h] for the trill /r/. It should be noted again that in the Puerto Rican dialect of Spanish the trill /r/ is often produced as [R] or [x]. Fricatives also substituted for other fricatives Ð [v] for /Â/ and [S] for /s/. Finally, nasals were often substitutes for stops, [n] for /d/, and for other nasals, [n] for /m/. All the [n] for /d/ substitutions made by subject 1 were assimilations; /donald / (`Donald’ as in `Donald Duck’ ) was always produced as [nonal ]. Vowel errors Table 5 lists the number and types of vowel errors. Results are listed by error type and subject number. Table 4.

Vowel errors

Subject 1

Subject 2

Subject 3


0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0

0 10 1 1 0 0 1 2 0






Substitutions (number) i  a e a u  a o  i o  a a  i a  e a  u a  o

0 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0





Key: PVC± R 5 Percent Vowels Correct± Revised.


Phonological skills in Spanish speakers


Across all three children, there were only 15 total vowel errors (Percent Vowels Correct± Revised (PVC± R) averaged 92%). Subject 1’ s realization of /e/ as [a] accounted for more than half of the errors. That error occurred in two diŒerent lexical items, /nena / `girl’  [nana] and /tQen/ `train’  [tan]. Only one other substitution type, /a/  [u], occurred more than once.

Cross-linguistic comparison Table 6 represents a comparison of the results of the present study to those of other 2-year-olds speaking Spanish (Maez, 1985; Anderson and Smith, 1987), American English ( Hare, 1983; Stoel-Gammon, 1985; 1987; Dyson, 1988; Smit, 1993a; Robb and Bleile, 1994 ), Cantonese (So and Dodd, 1995) and Igbo (Nwokah, 1986). These languages were chosen for comparison because they represent a variety of language families and similar data are available on 2-year-olds in each of the languages. The table lists the phonological category (e.g., initial consonants, ® nal consonants, initial clusters, etc.) and results by language. An attempt was made to include the same data from all studies although that was not always possible given procedural diŒerences. Thus, the results from this comparison should be viewed with caution because the average age and number of children in each study varied. This type of comparison is useful, however, to gauge phonological skills across a number of languages. There were a number of similarities (noted by the categories listed above the black line) between the results of the current study and those in other studies of 2year-olds. Results of these studies were similar in terms of number of syllable-initial consonants (approximately 15± 20) and word-initial clusters (roughly 2± 3). The consonants that were most likely to be deleted ( liquids and clusters) and substituted for ( liquids and fricatives) were also similar across the studies of Spanish-speakin g children. Vowels were produced with high accuracy by the children in all studies of Spanish-speakin g children. PCC was slightly higher for the children in the current study compared with that of previous studies (76% to 60%), and the number of syllable-® nal consonants was higher for the children in the other studies of Spanish speakers compared to the current study (10 to 5) perhaps because of the larger number of subjects in Anderson and Smith’s (1987) study or the larger sample, on average, for the children in their study (607 words to 308 words). In comparison to 2-year-old speakers of English, Cantonese and Igbo, similarities were noted for number of ® nal consonants, number of initial clusters, common syllable types, and common deletions. There were also diŒerences among the studies in ® ve categories (noted by the categories listed below the black line). The Spanish speakers in this study exhibited, on average, twice as many initial consonants2 as either English or Cantonese speakers. Word length diŒered between Spanish and English speakers with Spanish speakers favouring bi-syllabic words and English speakers predominantly using monosyllabic words. The most common types of substitutions also varied by language most notably for /s/ and the non-lateral liquidsÐ /ò/, /Q/, and /r/. Finally, the types of vowel errors were slightly diŒerent for Spanish and English speakers. 2 Results from SIWI and SIWW positions are combined because, in general, this distinction

was not made in the comparison studies.

n/a R  l, ? r  h, l, n, Z s  t, S, ?, ts d  n, t, l

25 % 67 % 9%

Q r  s  d 

Word length 1-syllable 2-syllable 3-, 4- and 5-syllable

xÅ 5 5/subj. 92 % e  a a  u

Key: No. 5 number; n/a 5 not available. a Anderson and Smith (1987); Gonzalez (1983); Maez (1981 ). b Dyson (1988); Hare (1983 ); Robb and Bleile (1994); Smit (1993a); Stoel-Gammon (1985; 1987 ). c So and Dodd (1995). d Nwokah (1986 ).

Vowels No. errors PVC Common error types n/a n/a vowel harmony



No. of initial consonants

ð, l, Â, n, d h, l t, tS, S n

10 2 n/a Q, r, l, d, b, clusters

5 3 CV, V Q, r, s, k, clusters

No. of ® nal consonants No. of initial clusters Common syllable types Common deletions

Common substitutions


Cross-linguistic comparison

Current study

Table 6.

d w s d

xÅ 5 17 (non-rhotic) 93% (non-rhotic) I i e i

ð  ò z t 

90% 10% < 1%


6 3 CV, CVC l, ò, s, v, T , clusters


n/a 95%

stopping fronting aŒrication de-aspiration



5 0 n/a n/a



deaŒrication devoicing fronting stopping r  j, l



n/a n/a n/a n/a


354 B. Goldstein and P. Cintro´n

Phonological skills in Spanish speakers


Discussion The purpose of this study was to describe the phonological skills of typically developing Spanish-speakin g 2-year-olds to diŒerentiate common cross-linguistic phonological patterns from language-speci® c ones. Results suggested that the Spanish-speakin g children in the current study exhibited phonological skills that would be expected given their ambient language. Nevertheless, their phonological skills diŒered in speci® c ways from speakers of other languages. There were a number of similarities between the results of the current study and those of 2-year-olds speaking Spanish and languages other than Spanish (i.e., English, Cantonese and Igbo). The similarity in results across languages may be indicative of more universal tendencies in phonological acquisition. Similarities were observed for syllable structure, number of ® nal consonants, number of consonant clusters, and types of deletions. The children were producing relatively simple syllable structure with a tendency toward the universal CV type although they also were exhibiting increasingly complex types (Goodluck, 1991 ). A relatively small number of syllable-® nal consonants (approximately ® ve) was produced by the children across all studies. In addition, a small number of initial consonant clusters (approximately two) was produced by Spanish- and English-speaking children. The production of more simpli® ed syllable structure is also attributable to common deletions made by the children. Liquids ( lateral and non-lateral sounds), fricatives (/s/), and clusters were most frequently deleted typically resulted in the use of syllable shapes (CV, CVC, CVCV ) most commonly exhibited cross-linguistically by young children (Lass, 1984). There were dissimilarities in ® ndings across the studies in terms of number of initial consonants, types of cluster reductions, word length, substitution patterns, and vowels. The dissimilarities across languages may show possible language- and dialect-speci® c re® nements that children are making in reference to their particular language varietyÐ in this case, Puerto Rican Spanish. The Spanish speakers exhibited a greater number of syllable-initial consonants than either English or Cantonese speakers (an average of 16 syllable-initial consonants compared to 10 in English- and Cantonese-speaking children). Compared to other languages in which there are a large number and variety of syllable-initial and syllable-® nal consonants, there are relatively few syllable-® nal consonants in Spanish. This is even more true in the Spanish dialects that tend to delete syllable-® nal segments (e.g., /s/ and /n/) as part of the adult form of the dialect (e.g., the Puerto Rican dialect). Thus, the input these children are receiving consists largely of syllableinitial segments. They have less access to syllable ® nal segments, and there are fewer sounds in syllable-® nal position to acquire. Locke (1983) and Vihman (1996) indicated a positive relationship between frequency of a segment in a language and its accuracy of production. As was the case with young speakers of English and Cantonese, the children in the current study often reduced clusters to one member or omitted the cluster entirely. Moreover, subjects were twice as likely to reduce obstruent-plus- ¯ ap clusters as obstruent-plus-latera l clusters, perhaps because ¯ aps are higher on the sonority scale and are more marked than laterals (Hogg and McCully, 1987; Clements, 1990). A number of researchers have shown that children reduce clusters in accordance with the sonority hierarchy. In studies of typically developing, American Englishspeaking children, Smit (1993b) and Ohala (1999) found this eŒect as did Chin


B. Goldstein and P. Cintro´n

(1996 ) in his study of American English-speaking children with phonological disorders. For example, in Smit’ s study, the deletion of the unmarked segment (i.e., the more atypical error pattern) occurred either `occasionally’ (at frequencies of 1± 4%) or `rarely’ (at a frequency of about 1%). Thus, the children were following the cross-linguistic tendency to delete the segment in the cluster that was higher on the sonority scale ( Locke, 1983). The propensity for children to delete the more marked member of the consonant cluster, however, has not been exhibited universally. In their longitudinal study of four children in Spain, LleÂo and Prinz ( 1996) found that clusters were often reduced by children at age 2;1. The Spanish-speakin g children in that study deleted the ® rst member of word-initial clusters (i.e., the less marked segment) over 50% of the time. For the children in the current study, the deletion of the second member of the cluster (i.e., the more marked segment) was the most common cluster reduction exhibited, occurring in 59 of 69 (86%) cluster deletion errors. There was not one case in which the less marked segment in the cluster was deleted (e.g., /plato / `plate’  [lato]). A constraint-base d analysis might predict that the constraint that governs syllabi® cation might be ordered diŒerently for the subjects in the two studies of Spanishspeaking children (Bernhardt and Stemberger, 1998; Barlow and Gierut, 1999). The children in Lleo and Prinz’s study may have ranked contiguity (i.e., the constraint governing which elements may be adjacent to each other) higher than co-occurring (i.e., the constraint re¯ ecting adherence to the sonority hierarchy). The result of contiguity ranked higher by the children in Lleo and Prinz’s study would have been the reduction of clusters to the more sonorous element because the children were preserving the segments in order outwards from the nucleus. The opposite ranking may have been in eŒect for the children in this study. With co-occurring ranked higher for the children in this study, the less sonorous segment would be preserved because the more optimal onset is the less sonorous segment (Bernhardt and Stemberger, 1998). However, given that the children in both studies were acquiring the same language (albeit diŒerent dialects), one might expect the rankings of the two constraints to be similar. This diŒerence in ranking, however, may re¯ ect a reranking of constraints that typically takes place in developing phonological systems. Thus, the deletion pattern exhibited by the children in Lleo and Prinz’s study, while perhaps less typical cross-linguistically, would still be predicted by a diŒerent ranking of constraints. There were also a number of methodological diŒerences that may have played a role in the discrepancy in results between Lleo and Prinz’s study and the current one. First, the children in their study had many more opportunities to produce clusters than did the children in the current study. Their subjects from the age of nine months to 2 years 1 month produced 489 clusters (this number includes both initial and medial clusters; it is unknown how many clusters were produced by the children at 2 years of age or were initial clusters). The three children in the current study attempted only 82 clusters. Second, the accuracy of clusters was lower for the children in the LleÂo and Prinz study (3% accurate) in comparison with the accuracy of cluster production by children in the current study (16% accurate). The Spanish-speakin g children in the current study used longer words than their English-speaking counterparts (almost 70% of words were bisyllabic compared to only 10% in English-speaking children). In addition, almost 10% of words produced by the Spanish speakers were `long’ words (i.e., words longer than two syllables;

Phonological skills in Spanish speakers


Vihman, 1996 ) compared to less than 1% for the English speakers. Vihman ( 1996) also noted that Spanish-speakin g children showed a higher proportion of long words relative to English speakers. Given that the majority of words in conversational Spanish are multisyllabic ( Iglesias et al., 1983), this result is not terribly surprising. That is, the need to produce bisyllabic and long words is mandated by the ambient language in which the majority of words are multisyllabic. Although some substitution types were exhibited across all four languages (e.g., fronting), others diŒered across the languages in terms of quantity and quality. The substitute for /s/ varied across Spanish and English. Among the Spanish-speakin g children, [S] and [tS] were fairly common substitutes for /s/; however, use of [S] and [tS] as substitutes for /s/ in English-speaking children was rather atypical (Smit, 1993a). In Hare’s (1983) study, [S] was used as substitute for /s/ only twice, and [tS] was used as substitute for /s/ only once. It is interesting that [S] would be used at all as a substitute in Spanish speakers given that it is not part of either the phonemic or phonetic repertoire of Puerto Rican Spanish. It is relatively rare for children to use sounds as substitutes that do not appear in the repertoires of the ambient language. For example, in English-speaking children aged 2;0 to 7;0, Smit (1993a) found rare (at a frequency of about 1%) pharyngealizatio n of /k/ and /g /, substitution of [W ] for /f / and /T /, and substitution of [Â] for /b/. The most striking diŒerence in types of substitution patterns, however, occurred with liquids. Many researchers have noted that substitution for / l/ is common in English-speaking children (e.g., Hare, 1983); however, there were no substitutions for /l/ by the children in this study. Other studies of phonetic development in Spanish have shown that, at least in comparison to English, /l/ is acquired relatively early. Jimenez ( 1987) showed that / l/ achieved 90% accuracy by age 3;11. That same criterion was reached by the children in Acevedo’s study (1993) by 3;6. There were also diŒerences in the substitution types for the non-lateral liquid. In Englishspeaking children, /ò/ is realized most typically as [w] (Smit, 1993a). In the Spanishspeaking children, the ¯ ap /Q/ was most commonly realized as a voiced interdental fricative [ð ] or lateral [ l ]. Bernhardt and Stemberger (1998) noted that in languages like Spanish that make infrequent use of glides, other substitutions, like [ð ] for /Q/, may be more typical. The lateral may be a common substitute because it represents a member of the same sound class, is at a similar place of articulation as the ¯ ap, and as mentioned above, is acquired relatively early by typically developing Spanishspeaking children. The trill /r/ was most commonly replaced by [h] and [l ]. Given that the realization of /r/ in Puerto Rican Spanish is usually [x] or [R], it would be expected that a more posterior sound, [h], might serve as a substitute. Anderson and Smith (1987) also found this same substitution pattern in their Spanish-speakin g children. The lateral also has been shown to substitute for the trill in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese (e.g., Stoel, 1974; Anderson and Smith, 1987; Yavas and Lamprecht, 1988; Bortolini and Leonard, 1991). There were slight diŒerences in the number and types of vowel errors as well. The children in the current study exhibited fewer vowel errors than their Englishspeaking counterparts (® ve vowel errors compared to 17 for English speakers). Previous research has indicated that, in general, Spanish-speakin g children exhibited far fewer vowels errors than do English-speaking children (Goldstein and Pollock, 2000 ) because of the distribution of sounds within the vowel space. That is, given the relatively `crowded’ vowel spacing in English, there may be more likelihood for error. The relative similarity in PVC between Spanish- (92%), English- (93%) and

B. Goldstein and P. Cintro´n


Cantonese-speaking children (95%) indicates basic mastery of the vowel system for 2-year-olds across a number of diŒerent languages. There are a few limitations to the current study that should be ameliorated in future research. There were only three subjects all of whom were boys, and the children exhibited a relatively wide age range. A longitudinal or quasi-longitudina l design that includes more subjects, an even number of boys and girls and a relatively smaller age range might be useful to examine phonological change over time. These boys spoke the Puerto Rican dialect of Spanish. Although the results compare favourably to studies examining speakers using other Spanish dialects, phonological skills in 2-year-olds speaking a variety of dialects should be examined. Finally, there were few or no opportunities for some sounds to be produced. In the future, the use of connected speech samples might be supplemented with elicited single words containing sounds that are less likely to be produced in spontaneous speech. Acknowledgements Special thanks go to the participants of the 1998 Child Phonology Meeting in Charlottesville, VA, where portions of this paper were presented. Thanks also to Rena Krakow for reading an earlier version of this paper. Finally, we wish to acknowledge the helpful comments made by Tom Powell and the two anonymous reviewers. References Acevedo, M. A., 1993, Development of Spanish consonants in preschool children. Journal of Childhood Communication Disorders, 15, 9± 15. Anderson, R. and Smith, B., 1987, Phonological development of 2-year-old monolingual Spanish-speaking children. Journal of Child Language, 14, 57± 78. Barlow, J. and Gierut, J., 1999, Optimality theory in phonological acquisition. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 42, 1482± 1498. Bernhardt, B. and Stemberger, J., 1998, Handbook of phonologica l development: from the perspective of constraint-based nonlinear phonology (San Diego: Academic Press). Bortolini, U. and Leonard, L., 1991, The speech of phonologically disordered children acquiring Italian. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 5, 1± 12. Chin, S., 1996, The role of the sonority hierarchy in delayed phonological systems. In T. Powell (Ed.) Pathologies of speech and language : Contributions of clinical phonetics and linguistics (New Orleans, LA: International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association), pp. 109± 117. Clements, G. N., 1990, The role of sonority in core syllabi® cation, In J. Kingston and M. Beckman (Eds) Papers in laboratory phonology I. Between the grammar and physics of speech (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), pp. 283± 333. Cotton, E. and Sharp, J., 1988, Spanish in the Americas ( Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press). Dinnsen, D., Chin, S., Elbert, M. and Powell, T., 1990, Some constraints on functionally disordered phonologies: phonetic inventories and phonotactic constraints. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 33, 28± 37. Dyson, A., 1988, Phonetic inventories of 2- and 3-year-old children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 53, 89± 93. Gildersleeve, C., Davis, B. and Stubbe, E., 1996, When monolingua l rules don’t apply: Speech development in a bilingual environment. Paper presented at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Seattle, WA. Goldstein, B. and Iglesias, A., 1996, Phonological patterns in normally developing Spanishspeaking 3- and 4-year-olds of Puerto Rican descent. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 27, 82± 90.

Phonological skills in Spanish speakers


Goldstein, B. and Pollock, K., 2000, Vowel errors in Spanish-speaking children with phonological disorders: a retrospective, comparative study. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 14, 217± 234. Gonzalez, G., 1983, The acquisition of Spanish sounds in the speech of 2-year-old Chicano children. In R. Padilla (Ed.) Theory technology and public policy on bilingual education (Rosslyn, VA: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education), pp. 73± 87. Goodluck, H., 1991, Language acquisition: a linguistic introduction (Oxford: Blackwell ). Hammond, R., 1999, On the non-occurrence of the phone [r] in the Spanish sound system. In J. GutieÂrrez-Rexach and F. MartiÂnez-Gil (Eds.) Hispanic Linguistics: Papers from the 2nd Hispanic linguistics symposium: Volume 1 (Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press), pp. 135± 151. Hare, G., 1983, Development at 2 years. In J. Irwin and S. Wong (Eds) Phonological development in children: 18 to 72 months (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press), pp. 55± 85. Hogg, R., and McCully, C., 1987, Metrical phonology : a coursebook (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Iglesias A., Cohen, L., Gutierrez-Clellen, V. and Marcano, M., 1983, Phonological complexity of spoken Spanish. Paper presented at the convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Washington, DC, November. Jimenez, B., 1987, Acquisition of Spanish consonants in children aged 3± 5 years, 7 months. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools, 18, 357± 363. Lass, R., 1984, Phonology : an introduction to basic concepts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). LleoÁ , C. and Prinz, M., 1996, Consonant clusters in child phonology and the assignment of syllable structure assignment. Journal of Child Language, 23, 31± 56. Locke, J., 1983, Phonological acquisition and change (New York: Academic Press). Maez, L., 1985, The acquisition of the Spanish sound system by native Spanish-speaking children. In E. Garcia and R. Padilla (Eds) Advances in Bilingual Education Research (Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press), pp. 3± 26. Mann, D. and Hodson, B., 1994, Spanish-speaking children’s phonologies: assessment and remediation of disorders. Seminars in Speech and Language, 15, 137± 147. Navarro-TomaÁ s, T., 1968, El EspanÄ ol en Puerto Rico [Spanish in Puerto Rico], second edition (Puerto Rico: Editorial Universitaria). Nwokah, E., 1986, Consonantal substitution patterns in Igbo phonological acquisition. Language and Speech, 29, 159± 176. Ohala, D., 1999, The in¯ uence of sonority on children’s cluster reductions. Journal of Communication Disorders, 32, 397± 422. Poplack, S., 1980, Deletion and disambiguation in Puerto Rican Spanish. Language, 56, 371± 385. Robb, M. and Bleile, K., 1994, Consonant inventories of young children from 8 to 25 months. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 8, 295± 320. Shriberg, L., Austin, D., Lewis, B., McSweeney, J., and Wilson, D., 1997, The percentage of consonants correct (PCC) metric: extensions and reliability data. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 40, 708± 722. Smit, A., 1993a, Phonologic error distributions in the Iowa-Nebraska articulation norms project: Consonant singletons. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 533± 547. Smit, A., 1993b, Phonologic error distributions in the Iowa-Nebraska articulation norms project: Word-initial consonant clusters. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 36, 931± 947. So, L. and Dodd, B., 1995, The acquisition of phonology by Cantonese-speaking children. Journal of Child Language, 22, 473± 495. Stoel, C., 1974, Note on the acquisition of sonorants in Spanish. Papers and reports on child language development (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University). Stoel-Gammon, C., 1985, Phonetic inventories, 15± 24 months: a longitudinal study. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 28, 505± 512. Stoel-Gammon, C., 1987, Phonological skills of 2-year-olds. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, 18, 323± 329. Stoel-Gammon, C. and Dunn, C., 1985, Normal and disordered phonology in children (Austin, TX: PRO-ED).

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Terrell, T., 1981, Current trends in the investigation of Cuban and Puerto Rican phonology. In J. Amastae and L. EliÂas-Olivares (Eds) Spanish in the United States: sociolinguistic aspects (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 47± 70. Timm, L., 1977, A child’s acquisition of Russian phonology. Journal of Child Language, 4, 329± 339. Vihman, M., 1996, Phonological development: the origins of language in the child (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell ). Yavas, M., 1998, Phonology : development and disorders (San Diego: Singular Publishing Group). Yavas, M. and Lamprecht, R., 1988, Processes and intelligibility in disordered phonology. Clinical Linguistics and Linguistics, 2, 329± 345.

Appendix A Characteristics of Spanish Phonology and Puerto Rican Spanish The phonetic inventory of Spanish diŒers from that of English. Spanish contains some sounds that are not part of the English phonetic system. These sounds include the palatal nasal [®] as in [ni®o] (boy), the bilabial fricative [W ] as in [emW eQmo] (sick), the velar fricative [x] as in [relox] (watch), the voiced spirants [Â] as in [klaÂo] (nail ) and [å ] as in [ laåo] ( lake), the alveolar trill [r] as in [pero] (dog), and the voiced uvular trill [R] as in [Roto] (broken). There are 18 consonant phonemes typically described for Spanish (Cotton and Sharp, 1988). These phonemes include the voiceless unaspirated stops, /p/, /t/, and / k/; the voiced stops, /b/, /d/, and /g/; the voiceless fricatives, /f/, /s/ and /x/; the aŒricate, /tS/; the glides, /w/, and /j/; the lateral, / l/; the ¯ ap /Q/ and trill /r/; and the nasals, /m/, /n/, and /®/. The three voiced stops /b, d, g / are in complementary distribution with the spirants [Â, ð , å ], respectively. The spirant allophones most generally occur intervocalically both within and across word boundaries (e.g., /dedo/ (® nger)  [de ðo] and / la boka / (the mouth)  [ la Âoka]). There are ® ve monophthong vowels in Spanish, /i/, /e/, /u/, /o/, and /a/. Vowels in Spanish have relatively the same tongue height and tongue placement as their counterparts in English with the exception of /a/ which in Spanish is usually described as a low, central vowel (Cotton and Sharp, 1988). The consonant features of the Puerto Rican dialect of Spanish (Navarro-TomaÂs, 1968; Poplack, 1980; Terrell, 1981; Cotton and Sharp, 1988) are listed on the following table A1. It should be noted that not every speaker of Puerto Rican Spanish will make use of every feature and that every feature will not be exhibited by all speakers of the dialect. The vowel phonemes in Puerto Rican Spanish are the ® ve monophthong vowels, /i/, /e/, /u/, /o/, and /a/. Table A1. Phoneme

/p/ / b/ /t/ /d/

Characteristics of Puerto Rican Spanish

Allophones [p] [b] [Â]a [t] [d ] [ð ]a

Syllable position I I I I I F I


/paÂto/ (duck)  [paÂto] /ba ko/ (ship)  [ba ko] /klaÂbo/ (nail )  [kla o] /peloÂta/ (ball )  [peloÂta] /doÂs/ (two)  [doÂs] /seÂd/ (thirsty)  [seÂd ] /deÂdo/ (® nger)  [deÂð o]

Phonological skills in Spanish speakers é

(deleted) [k]

/ k/ é

/g /


[g] [å ]a [f ] [W ] [x]


[h]b [s]

/f /

[h ] (aspirated) é

/w/ /j/

[w] [gw] [j] [dZ] [tS] [Q]

/tSc/ /Q/

[l] é


(with gemination of following consonant) [i ] [r] [R] [x] [m] [n]

/m/ /n/







/deÂdo/ (® nger)  [deÂo] /kaÂma/ (bed)  [kaÂma] /doktoÂQ/ (doctor)  [dotoÂQ] /gaÂto/ (cat)  [gaÂto] /bigoÂte/ (mustache)  [bi oÂte] /foÂto/ (photo)  [ foÂto] /kafeÂ/ (coŒee)  [kaWeÂ] /xamoÂn/ (ham)  [xamoÂn] /reloÂx/ (watch)  [reloÂx] /xamoÂn/ (ham)  [hamoÂn] /seÂd/ (thirsty)  [seÂd ] /doÂs/ (two)  [doÂs] /doÂs/ (two)  [doÂh ] /doÂs/ (two)  [doÂ] /weÂso/ (bone)  [weÂso] /weÂso/ (bone)  [gweÂso] /amaQõ  jo/ (yellow)  [amaQõ  jo] /joÂ/ (I )  [d oÂ] /muÂt o/ (a lot)  [muÂt o] /pe o/ (but)  [pe o] /¯ o / (¯ ower)  [ ¯ o ] /ko ta / (to cut)  [kolta ] /ko ta / (to cut)  [kotta ]


/ko taÂr/ (to cut)  [koita ] /roÂxo/ (red)  [roÂxo] /peÂro/ (dog)  [peÂRo] /peÂro/ (dog)  [peÂxo] /maÂno/ (hand)  [maÂno] /na õ  s/ (nose)  [na õ  s] /t eÂn/ (train)  [t eÂn] /xamoÂn/ (ham)  [xamo ] /xamoÂn/  [xamoÂ]/[xamoÄ] /ba o/ (bathroom)  [ba o]

Key: I 5 SIWI position (e.g., /tenedo / (fork) and SIWW position (e.g., pato/ (duck), unless noted otherwise. F 5 SF position. a The spirants [Â, ð , å ] appear mostly in intervocalic position (within words and across word boundaries). In addition, [ð ] is often deleted in intervocalic position when it is the ® nal sound in the word (e.g., /dedo/ `® nger’  [deo]). b [x ] and [h] are in free variation. c / / (¯ ap) can occur in SIWW position but not in SIWI position. d ® can occur in both SIWI position and in SIWW position although in SIWI position, it is limited to / / a few uncommon words (e.g., /®o®o/ `whiner’).


An investigation of phonological skills in Puerto Rican Spanish-speaking 2-year-olds by Brian Goldstein and Patricia Cintrón