This study explored the effect of naturally occurring interactions of syllable stress and serial positions, found in polyssyllabic words, on the variability of phonological performance of speech-delayed children. The subjects were 8 mild to moderately delayed children between the ages of 5:2 and 6:11 with a mean age of 6:0. Continuous speech samples and nonimitated productions of polysyllabic single-word utterances were recorded and analyzed for each child. Two phonological processes (syllable deletion and intervocalic consonant deletion) were related to specific syllable context conditions. Increased process use in syllables of reduced stress occurring early in a sequence was predicted by the production patterns of young children initially learning to say words. Syllables with reduced stress also were found to be associated frequently with atypical error productions.
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