Phonologically Disordered German-Speaking Children

Annette V. Fox*, Barbara Dodd

*Corresponding author for this work
45 Citations (Scopus)


Speech sound disorders affect more children than any other developmental communication disorder and are associated with long-term social and academic difficulties. The diversity of presenting symptoms has resulted in the need for classifying subgroups of speech disorders. Research on English-speaking children suggests that there are four types of surface speech error patterns (B. Dodd, 1995): articulation disorder (e.g., lisp); delay (i.e., normal developmental patterns that are inappropriate for chronological age); consistent use of atypical error patterns (e.g., deletion of all initial consonants); and inconsistent pronunciation of the same lexical items. Classification typologies should be language independent. This study investigated whether the same four subgroups, in similar proportions, would be found in German-speaking children who had disordered speech. A total of 110 monolingual German-speaking children, aged 2 years 7 months to 7 years 7 months, participated in the study. They had been referred for assessment of a suspected speech disorder. The results supported the subgroup classification, providing evidence for the universal character of speech disorders. One significant difference was the relatively high proportion of children classified as having an articulation disorder. This was explained by the uncertainty regarding a lisp as a disorder in German, since it is also found in up to 40% of normally developing children of the same age. The theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)291-307
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 08.2001
Externally publishedYes

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