Modelling category goodness judgments in children with residual sound errors

Sarah Hamilton Dugan, Noah Silbert, Tara McAllister, Jonathan L. Preston, Carolyn Sotto, Suzanne E. Boyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates category goodness judgments of /r/ in adults and children with and without residual speech errors (RSEs) using natural speech stimuli. Thirty adults, 38 children with RSE (ages 7–16) and 35 age-matched typically developing (TD) children provided category goodness judgments on whole words, recorded from 27 child speakers, with /r/ in various phonetic environments. The salient acoustic property of /r/–the lowered third formant (F3)–was normalized in two ways. A logistic mixed-effect model quantified the relationships between listeners’ responses and the third formant frequency, vowel context and clinical group status. Goodness judgments from the adult group showed a statistically significant interaction with the F3 parameter when compared to both child groups (p < 0.001) using both normalization methods. The RSE group did not differ significantly from the TD group in judgments of /r/. All listeners were significantly more likely to judge /r/ as correct in a front-vowel context. Our results suggest that normalized /r/ F3 is a statistically significant predictor of category goodness judgments for both adults and children, but children do not appear to make adult-like judgments. Category goodness judgments do not have a clear relationship with /r/ production abilities in children with RSE. These findings may have implications for clinical activities that include category goodness judgments in natural speech, especially for recorded productions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-315
Number of pages21
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Speech perception
  • speech acoustics
  • speech disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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