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The acquisition of coronal fricatives by children of Recife's metropolitan region

PURPOSE: to investigate the acquisition of coronal fricatives by public county schools' children of Recife's metropolitan region. METHODS: 40 children from four schools with ages between 2 and 6 year and eleven month old, whereas 20 were males and 20 females. The instrument applied for data collection was 83 images which could be referred to with 32 words carrying the phoneme target /s/, 11 which had the /z/ phoneme target, 21 with the /∫/ and 19 with the /ℑ/; these were selected from tonicity and syllabic structure. The children were divided, according to their age, into ten different groups of four children each. The cut-point for considering an indicative of stability of the aim-phoneme was 80% of production. RESULTS: the beginning of coronal fricatives' production took place at ages 2:0-2:5. It has been noticed that the phonemes /∫/, /ℑ/ e /z/ were acquired at ages 3:0-3:5 and the phoneme /s/ at ages 2:6-2:11. The phonological processes that were more frequently found are substitution and omission. We also quite often observed semantics exchange. CONCLUSIONS: children from public schools of Recife's metropolitan region have acquired the coronal fricatives later than the national literature average. It is important to highlight that there is wide linguistic and socio-cultural diversity in the Brazilian territory. For this reason data from different Brazilian regions cannot be applied homogenously in the country and therefore any attempt to determine the parameters for a phonologic evaluation ought to take this limitation into consideration, especially if such evaluation has the objective of detecting phonologic deviances.

Language Arts; Language Development; Phonetics

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