Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communication Sciences & Disorders


For a number of years, researches have studied children's intuitive knowledge of sounds and syllables because of contributions of these linguistic units to language learning, and more specifically literacy. Children learn to interpret streams of speech through the development of segmentation skills. This study investigated the abilites of preschool and school age children through measurement of their performance on two-syllable, three-syllable, and four-syllable pseudo-word forms with varying stress patterns. The present study examined the participants' ability to identify targeted syllables and targeted stressed elements. That is, in one group (syllable group), participants were required to identify the location of a target syllable regardless of the stress pattern, following a training set. In the other group (stress group), participants were required to identify the location of target stressed elements following a training set. The participants were exposed to the pseudo-word forms during a pre-training, training, and experimental task. The participants demonstrated their abilities by placing tokens within a grid based on the peudo-word that was presented. Upon completion of the collection of data, the participants were divided into a young group and an old group based on age. This comparison was made to distinguish any differences in ability based on age. The lexical stress task was less complex as compared to the syllable task at the two-syllable level. Those participants who did not achieve criterion during the training task performed better on the lexical stress task at the two-syllable level. There was not a difference in the participants' abilities at the three-syllable level. The four-syllable task was too advanced for any of the participants to reach criterion in the training task or to perform the experimental task. There was no difference in the abilities of the participants in the young group compared to those participants in the old group at the two-syllable or the three-syllable level.

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