Four new speech and prosody-voice measures for genetics research and other studies in developmental phonological disorders

J Speech Hear Res. 1993 Feb;36(1):105-40. doi: 10.1044/jshr.3601.105.


Research in developmental phonological disorders, particularly emerging subgroup studies using behavioral and molecular genetics, requires qualitative and continuous measurement systems that meet a variety of substantive and psychometric assumptions. This paper reviews relevant issues underlying such needs and presents four measurement proposals developed expressly for causal-correlates research. The primary qualitative system is the Speech Disorders Classification System (SDCS), a 10-category nosology for dichotomous and hierarchical polychotomous classification of speech disorders from 2 years of age through adulthood. The three quantitative measures for segmental and suprasegmental analyses are (a) the Articulation Competence Index (ACI), an interval-level severity index that adjusts a subject's Percentage of Consonants Correct (PCC) score for the relative percentage of distortion errors; (b) Speech Profiles, a series of graphic-numeric displays that profile a subject's or group's severity-adjusted consonant and vowel-diphthong mastery and error patterns; and (c) the Prosody-Voice Profile, a graphic-numeric display that profiles a subject's or group's status on six suprasegmental domains divided into 31 types of inappropriate prosody-voice codes. All data for the four measures are derived from one sample of conversational speech, which obviates the limitations of citation-form testing; enables speech assessment as a qualitative, semi-continuous, and continuous trait over the life span; and provides a context for univariate and multivariate statistical analyses of phonetic, phonologic, prosodic, and language variables in multiage, multidialectal, and multicultural populations. Rationale, procedures, validity data, and examples of uses for each measure are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Articulation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child Language
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Development
  • Language Disorders / genetics
  • Male
  • Phonetics*
  • Speech Disorders / genetics*
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Voice Disorders / genetics*