Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Type of Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
Shelley L. Velleman
Williams syndrome, phonological systematization, templates, language acquisition, reorganization
This longitudinal study looks at the systematic phonological development of children with Williams syndrome during the first three years of life. Williams syndrome is a genetic condition that impairs both cognitive and language abilities in those affected. It is commonly researched by linguists and speech pathologists alike because its phenotype provides a unique example of the interaction between cognitive impairment and language development. In this case study, four children’s first words were examined through the transcription of 30-minute-long play sessions to gain a better understanding of how children with Williams syndrome acquire phonological patterns. These transcripts were then analyzed using a customized battery of routines created and calculated in the Phon acoustic analysis software. It was found that some of these children did appear to be using patterned structures or ‘templates’ (Vihman, 2016) to produce their initial words. However, idiosyncrasies of language acquisition also were present in the data, as it was also found that not all participants appeared to be using defined templatic structures when vocalizing early word forms. By discussing how these children were or were not evidencing phonological systematization, these case studies can be added to the current literature to further understand not only how phonology is acquired, but how linguistic skills emerge in children with Williams syndrome.
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Garber, Claudia G., "Early Phonological Systematization in Children with Williams Syndrome: A Longitudinal Study" (2018). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 269.