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Title:Phonological disorders in the light of constraints
Authors:Giovana Ferreira-Goncalves
Comment:Presented at Second Lisbon Meeting on Language Acquisition, Lisbon, 2004.
Abstract:The present paper seeks to ponder on how OT understands
speech disorders and on the contributions that this constraint-ba
sed model can make to the description, analysis and treatment
of them. It also seeks to comment on the efficacy of OT
in making explicit the implicational relations proposed
by Implicational Model od Features Complexity (Mota, 1996).
Through the analysis of the data of 25 Brazilian phonologically
disordered children, Mota (1996) found implicational relations
among the distinctive features which lead to different possibilit
ies in the development of consonantal segments during the
acquisition process. Considering the subjects' performance
in what concerns the distinctive features involved in each
of the consonantal segments observed, the author proposed
a table of implicational relationships among features. By
means of the application of OT to some aspects of Mota's
work, we have tried to demonstrate that the theory is able
to effect a rereading of the analyzed data in a more satisfactori
ly way, allowing for the 'visualization' of phonological
disorders from 'within' the linguistic system. The data
seem to indicate that phonologically disordered children
do not present difficulty in the demotion of individual
constraints which constitute universal subhierarchies, for
they evidence in their system the several distinctive features
constituting the segments of Brazilian Portuguese. As it
was also observed that the excess of variation presented
by the phonologically disordered learner seems to be related
to the late acquisition of the segments, since according
to the architecture of OT the slow demotion of constraints
leads to the construction constraint-sharing strata. The
importance that should be given by the analyst to the constraint
sharing strata must, therefore, be emphasized although it
must be stressed that the best speech therapy is not always
the one which seeks to dismember them, for the demotion
of fixed constraints, ranked a bit higher, may be more efficient
in the treatment, by means of generalization. It must be
also stressed that the discussion of certain aspects which
characterize disordered speech, and which used to be discussed
'on the side of' theoretical models, can now be supported
in the own architecture of the theory.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Phonology,Language Acquisition
Article:Version 1