Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Relationships Among Prosodic Sensitivity, Musical Processing, and Phonological Awareness in Pre-Readers

Gina C. Cardillo

Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

This study investigates how children’s sensitivity to prosodic characteristics in speech is related to their processing of musical melody and rhythm, and how these are related to phonological awareness (PA), in a sample of 23 5-year-old pre-readers. Measures included non-word prosodic imitation, melody and rhythm discrimination, a battery of phonological awareness tasks, and general expressive and receptive vocabulary tests. Main findings were that 1) prosodic sensitivity predicted PA skills beyond what was predicted by general language ability alone, 2) musical processing also predicted PA skills after general language ability was accounted for, but was not as strong a predictor as prosodic sensitivity, and 3) pitch and rhythm sensitivity in music did not differentially predict PA, contrary to hypotheses postulated in recent literature. Findings support the notion that a child’s sensitivity to suprasegmental characteristics of both speech and music may be a feasible way to predict their later PA skills, given the similar auditory processing mechanisms underlying their development.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cardillo, Gina C. (2008): "Relationships among prosodic sensitivity, musical processing, and phonological awareness in pre-readers", In SP-2008, 595-598.