Carla W. Hess

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Interdisciplinary Studies


Disagreement exists among speech clinicians regarding the appropriate classification of consonant position in the evaluation of defective articulation.

To accomplish the purposes of this investigation—to determine if consonants in initial, medial, and final positions within words are / * perceived as entities distinct from consonants that initiate or terminate syllables, and to determine if the concept of "medial" is valid in the evaluation of defective articulation—reading passages in which consonant positions were systematically varied were devised. These passages were tape-recorded with selected test consonants misartieulated by the substitution of other consonants in various positions within words and syllables. Sixty-one students with academic experience in articulation evaluation and sixty-one students without such experience rated the articulation defectiveness of the forty-two test passages on nine-point equal-appearing-interval scales.

It was concluded from this investigation that neither the classification of consonant positions as initial, medial, or final nor the classification of consonant positions as syllable-initiating and syllable-terminating appear to be adequate. A classification of consonant positions as syllable-initiating, medial-syllable-terminating, and wordterminating appears to be appropriate.

There appears to be justification for abandoning the traditional concept of "medial" consonants and replacing it with a differential labeling of consonants based on their position within the syllable.

Students without experience in articulation evaluation rate consonant substitutions as being more defective than do students with such experience. However, the findings regarding consonant positions were highly consistent between the two groups of subjects.