Assessing prosodic skills in five European languages: Cross-linguistic differences in typical and atypical populations

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Peppé, Sue JE ; Martinez-Castilla, P ; Coene, Martine ; Hesling, Isabelle ; Moen, Inger ; Gibbon, Fiona (2010)

Following demand for a prosody assessment procedure, the test Profiling Elements of Prosody in Speech-Communication (PEPS-C), has been translated from English into Spanish, French, Flemish and Norwegian. This provides scope to examine receptive and expressive prosodic ability in Romance (Spanish and French) as well as Germanic (English and Flemish) languages, and includes the possibility of assessing these skills with regard to lexical tone (Norwegian). Cross-linguistic similarities and differences relevant to the translation are considered. Preliminary findings concerning 8-year-old neurotypical children speaking the five languages are reported. The appropriateness of investigating contrastive stress in Romance as well as Germanic languages is considered: results are reported for assessing this skill in Spanish and English speakers and suggest that in Spanish it is acquired much later than in English. We also examine the feasibility of assessing and comparing prosodic disorder in the five languages, using assessments of prosody in Spanish and English speakers with Williams syndrome as an example. We conclude that, with caveats, the original design of the UK test may indicate comparable stages of prosodic development in neurotypical children and is appropriate for the evaluation of prosodic skills for adults and children, both neurotypical and with impairment, in all five languages. © 2009 The Speech Pathology Association of Australia Limited.
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