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Title: Speech production in Amharic-speaking children with repaired cleft palate
Author: Mekonnen, A. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 8812
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2013
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Cleft lip/palate is one of the most frequent birth malformations, affecting the structure and function of the upper lip and/or palate. Studies have shown that a history of cleft palate often affects an individual's speech production, and similar patterns of atypical speech production have been reported across a variety of different languages (Henningsson and Willadsen, 2011). Currently, however, no such studies have been undertaken on Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia. Amharic has non-pulmonic (ejective) as well as pulmonic consonants, which is one of the ways in which it differs from other languages reported in the cleft literature. The aim of this study was therefore to describe speech production features of Amharic-speaking individuals with repaired cleft palate and compare and contrast them with cleft-related speech characteristics reported in other languages. Speech samples were obtained from 20 Amharic-speaking children aged between 5 and 14, with a repaired cleft palate, and a control group of 5 typically-developing children, aged between 4;0 and 6;0, all resident in Ethiopia. Audio and video recordings were made of the participants' speech production in a variety of contexts including single word production, sentence repetition and spontaneous speech, using a version of the GOS.SP.ASS (Great Ormond Street Speech Assessment: Sell, Harding and Grunwell, 1999) modified for Amharic. A descriptive research design, which involved a combination of perceptual and acoustic phonetic analysis, was employed. The results showed that in addition to the features of speech production associated with cleft palate which are common across languages, there were also languagespecific speech production characteristics related to the phonetic and phonological system of Amharic. The atypical speech production patterns identified here suggest that Amharic-speaking children with cleft palate employed various strategies in order to manage the particular speech production challenges posed by the Amharic phonological system. In particular, in maintaining segmental contrasts, they exhibited a range of unusual airstream mechanisms. In common with children speaking other languages, the children in this study used a range of ingressive articulations (clicks and implosives) in order to avoid nasal escape of air during segmental articulation. Also, however, for ejective versus pulmonic contrasts, they used various atypical realisations (e.g., a preference for glottal realisations of ejectives) and atypical airstream mechanisms (e.g., realisation of ejectives as pulmonics).
Supervisor: Howard, Sara ; Wells, Bill ; Perkins, Mick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available