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JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL CHILD PSYCHOLOGY 61, 193–215 (1996)
ARTICLE NO. 0014

Children’s Sensitivity to Syllables, Onsets, Rimes,
and Phonemes

REBECCA TREIMAN

Wayne State University

AND

ANDREA ZUKOWSKI

Boston University

It has been argued that children’s performance on phonological awareness tasks varies
with the linguistic level that is tapped by the task. For example, tasks that involve syllables
are thought to be easier than tasks that involve lower-level linguistic units, and tasks that
tap the level of onsets are thought to be easier than tasks that require access to single
phonemes. In previous research, however, the linguistic status of a unit has often been
confounded with its size. Five experiments were carried out in an attempt to disentangle
these variables and so to provide a better test of the linguistic status hypothesis. In the first
study, preschoolers and kindergartners more readily judged that two stimuli shared a
beginning sound when that sound was an onset on its own than when it was part of a
cluster onset. In two additional experiments, there was an advantage for syllables over
rimes in kindergarten and first-grade children when the shared units occurred in the
middle syllables of trisyllabic stimuli. The superiority for syllables was largely masked in
two other studies in which the stimuli that shared a unit rhymed. This latter result suggests
that children’s familiarity with rhyme can override the syllable advantage. Overall, the
results support the linguistic status hypothesis by indicating that effects of linguistic level
on phonological sensitivity cannot always be reduced to effects of unit size. © 1996
Academic Press, Inc.

For the past 20 or 30 years, researchers have assumed that the acquisition of
an alphabetic writing system requires an explicit representation of the phono-
logical structure of speech. This idea has been articulated by Mattingly (1972),

This research was supported by NIH Grants HD20276 and HD00769 and NSF Grant SBR-
9020956. Thanks to Patrick Lavery and Sarah Weatherston for their help in testing subjects and
thanks to the schools and day-care centers that participated. We are grateful to Charles Read for his
suggestions about this research and to Marie Cassar, Jennifer Gross, and the reviewers for their
comments on a draft of the manuscript. Correspondence and reprint requests should be addressed to
Rebecca Treiman, Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, 71 W. Warren Ave., Detroit
MI 48202. E-mail: treiman@math.wayne.edu.

193
0022-0965/96 $18.00
Copyright © 1996 by Academic Press, Inc.
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.

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194 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI

Rozin and Gleitman (1977), and many others. One question that has motivated a
good deal of research is whether phonological awareness is a precursor to lit-
eracy, a by-product of literacy, or both. As Bertelson (1986) pointed out, how-
ever, this formulation of the issue may not be the most fruitful way to examine
the relation between phonological awareness and literacy. Phonological aware-
ness may not be a single homogeneous ability that emerges all of a piece. Instead,
it may be a heterogeneous skill whose components have different properties and
develop at different times. If phonological awareness is heterogeneous rather
than homogeneous, different forms of phonological awareness may be linked in
different ways to the acquisition of reading and spelling skills.
Phonological awareness may be heterogeneous in at least two ways. First,
performance on phonological awareness tasks may vary with the cognitive de-
mands of the task. Evidence for this sort of heterogeneity exists in the finding that
complex tasks, which require more steps to completion and which place a greater
burden on memory, tend to be harder than simple tasks (e.g., Yopp, 1988). The
second sort of heterogeneity, and the one that is of primary interest here, concerns
the linguistic level that is tapped by the task. Many researchers have argued that
tasks that require attention to syllables are easier than tasks that require attention
to phonemes (Fox & Routh, 1975; Hardy, Stennett, & Smythe, 1973; Leong &
Haines, 1978; Liberman, Shankweiler, Fischer, & Carter, 1974; Morais,
Cluytens, & Alegria, 1984; Treiman & Baron, 1981; Treiman & Zukowski,
1991). Moreover, tasks that require attention to the intrasyllabic units of onsets
and rimes may be easier than tasks that require attention to single phonemes
(Bowey & Francis, 1991; Kirtley, Bryant, Maclean, & Bradley, 1989; Treiman &
Zukowski, 1991).
One explanation for the observed differences among syllables, onsets and
rimes, and single phonemes is that the ability to segment speech into higher-level
phonological units develops earlier than the ability to subdivide these units into
their lower-level constituents. According to this hypothesis, children first gain
the ability to segment speech into words. They next become able to divide words
into syllables, then syllables into intrasyllabic units, and finally intrasyllabic units
into phonemes (Treiman, 1992). In this view, it is the linguistic status of a unit
that is critical. The linguistic status hypothesis maintains that syllables always
have an advantage over intrasyllabic units, which in turn always have an advan-
tage over individual phonemes.
However, there is another possible explanation for many of the findings just
cited. The size of a unit rather than its linguistic status per se may be the primary
influence on performance. Consider the study of Treiman and Zukowski (1991,
Experiment 1), which employed a word-pair comparison task. In the syllable
condition, children heard pairs of words such as solid–solemn, compete–repeat,
and delight–unique. They judged whether the words in each pair shared any of
the same sounds. The correct answers of course would be “yes” for the first two
pairs and “no” for the third. Children did better in this syllable condition than in
a condition in which the similarity was based on shared onsets (e.g., blink–blame)

it becomes important to test the linguistic status hypothesis by breaking the link that normally exists between the linguistic level of a unit and its size.72 between phonological aware- ness scores and number of phonemes in the shared units when they counted syllabic consonants as single phonemes.g. Alternatively. the ordering of difficulty will usually be syllable. Berch. That is. the shared portion of the words solid and solemn. and Gipstein (1994). children did better in the onset-rime condition than in the phoneme condition. which are in turn easier than pho- nemes. However. two (/nuli/-/nuʃ{/). is longer than the shared portion of the words blink and blame. or three (/nuli/-/nul2/) phonemes. as children in fact seem to do for syllabic /r/ and /l/ (Treiman. The kindergartners did not show a statistically significant superiority for shared syllables. then phoneme. spit–wit). there is evidence that unit size as measured by number of shared phonemes affects children’s performance in some kinds of sound classification tasks. For ex- ample. Following Treiman and Zukowski (1991). Because syllables usually contain more phonemes than intrasyllabic units. & Weatherston. whether expressed in number of phonemes shared or in proportion of phonemes in the words that are shared. Smith. Walley. the shared pho- nemes constituted a single syllable (/nuli/-/nuʃ{/) or were members of different syllables (/bon{/-/goni/). as .g. Indeed.. Our first experiment was designed to compare two-consonant onsets to indi- vidual consonant phonemes. Tincoff. Brady. steak–sponge. one must devise a situation in which units that differ in linguistic level are equated for size. using a task similar to that of Treiman and Zukowski (1991). Kindergartners performed better when three phonemes were shared than when one or two phonemes were shared. the results may reflect differences in unit size. Fowler. which themselves often contain more than one phoneme. the size hypothesis predicts that the ordering may change if the units’ sizes change.. (1986). although there were nonsignificant trends in this direction. syllables being easier than onsets and rimes. Walley et al. Given the evidence for a role of unit size. suggested that syllables have no special status at the level at which the perceptual similarity of speech sounds is calcu- lated. we used a word-pair comparison task in which children heard two words or nonwords and judged whether they shared a “sound” in a specified position. smoke–tack. 1993). We employed this ap- proach in the experiments reported here. This task. Based on their results. found a correlation of . then onset/rime. where the shared phoneme is part of an onset) or the end (e. the shared portion of blink and blame is longer than the shared portion of steak and sponge. in which the stimuli shared only a single phoneme at the beginning (e. and Jusczyk (1986) had children classify nonwords that shared one (/nuli/- /n{ʃ2/). We asked whether children more easily detected the similarity between a pair of words when the shared unit was a complete onset. pointing to an effect of unit size. Similarly. like that of Walley et al. These results may reflect the linguistic levels of the units examined. can be seen as tapping children’s judgments about the similarity of speech sounds.. where the shared phoneme is part of a rime).g.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 3 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 195 or shared rimes (e. In turn.

we should find a superiority for shared onset pairs over shared part of onset pairs even though unit size is equated. pairs of the second type are shared part of onset pairs. he was happy. In 10 of the “yes” pairs. Two additional preschool- ers and one additional kindergartner who had trouble pronouncing the test words were dropped from the study. both words had a single-consonant onset and the two words shared this onset.” The stimuli for this and the following experiments are listed in the Ap- pendix. The stimuli were 30 pairs of monosyllabic words. All of the children in this and the following experiments attended schools in middle and upper middle class suburbs of De- troit. shared part of onset. EXPERIMENT 1 Method Subjects. All were native speakers of English. no difference between shared onset pairs and shared part of onset pairs is expected because the number of phonemes that is shared is one in both cases. Experiment 2). This prediction follows from the idea that onsets are more accessible than single phonemes.65 for each category. The average proportion of phonemes that were shared was . as in bomb and drip. We used total word frequen- cies in these calculations and pooled over alternate forms varying in upper- versus lowercase. 1 month (range 4. The mean number of phonemes per word was 3. respectively. Davies.9) and 31 kindergartners (17 boys and 14 girls) with a mean age of 6 years.4–5. than when the shared unit was part of a cluster onset. According to the size hypothesis. according to the norms of Carroll. 0 months (range 5. and “no” categories were 180. Pairs of the first type are called shared onset pairs. and 207. both words began with a two-consonant cluster. which also includes a key to the phonemic transcription. The words in the “no” pairs had no phonemes in common. Stimuli. When the puppet heard two words that did not sound the same at the beginning.27 for both types of “yes” pairs. The specific phonemes that were shared were identical for the two types of “yes” pairs. The four practice pairs were presented with one “yes” . Procedure. An example of such a shared part of onset pair is plan and prow. which are based on written materials designed for children in the third grade and above.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 4 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 196 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI in pacts–peel. The child was told that a puppet liked words that “sounded the same at the beginning. two “yes” and two “no. or words that shared an initial sound. Data for a subset of the kindergartners were presented in Treiman and Zukowski (1991. According to the linguistic status hypothesis. he was sad. as in plan–prow.4–7.2). Another kindergartner was dropped due to experi- menter error. The words shared only the first consonant of the cluster. the shared onset pairs. The mean frequencies of the words in the shared onset. and Richman (1971).” When the puppet heard two words that had this property. Four practice pairs were constructed. There were 20 “yes” pairs. An example is pacts and peel. 184. Michigan. There were 28 preschoolers (15 boys and 13 girls) with a mean age of 5 years. In the other 10 “yes” pairs.

the experimenter pronounced the first word and asked the child to say it. F2(1.18) 4 8. Pooling over the two grade levels. randomly chosen for each child). The test pairs were presented next. This latter result indicates that the superiority for onsets over parts of onsets held at both grade levels.59 (. There was also a main effect of grade (F1(1.75.001). both p < .JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 5 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 197 pair first (onset same or part of onset same.33) . the kindergartners did better than preschoolers on all types of pairs. then two “no” pairs (their order randomly chosen for each child) followed by the other “yes” pair.9) 4 38. The same procedure was followed for the second word of the pair. p < . but now the child had to judge whether the puppet liked each pair. For each pair.70 (.57) 4 17.26) .008.59.001). even though the shared unit was a single consonant in both cases. This was repeated. There was no inter- action between linguistic unit and grade (both p > . p 4 .18) 4 184. The kinder- gartners did 19% better than the preschoolers on the “no” pairs.34) . This TABLE 1 Mean Proportion of Correct Responses in Experiment 1 (Standard Deviations in Parentheses) Pair type and examples “Yes” pairs Onset shared Part of onset shared “No” pairs Grade pacts-peel plan-prow bomb-drip Preschool .29) .53 (. Results Table 1 shows the mean proportion of correct responses for each type of pair.41. There was a main effect of linguistic unit (F1(1. The procedure was like that for the examples.001.32) Kindergarten . p 4 . As predicted by the linguistic status hypothesis. children did 8% better when a whole onset was shared than when only the first consonant of a cluster onset was shared. Although the kindergartners outperformed the preschoolers. if necessary. F2(1. both groups of children distinguished between “yes” and “no” pairs to a significant degree. To confirm these impressions. The experiment was run in a single session and the order of test pairs was randomly chosen for each child. the data for “yes” pairs were analyzed using the factors of linguistic unit (onset versus part of onset) and grade level (preschool versus kindergarten).89 (.80 (.16. Analyses of performance on the “no” pairs also revealed a significant effect of grade (F1(1. p < .12. Also. The kindergartners performed 28% better than the preschoolers on “yes” pairs. until the child said the word correctly.57) 4 13.60).57) 4 7.89 (.12.21) . The children were not told whether their responses to test pairs were correct. The experimenter then said the word pair again and told the child whether the puppet liked the words and why.011). F2(1. both groups of children did better on “yes” pairs that shared a complete onset than on “yes” pairs that shared just part of an onset.

” Using the criterion just described. either a cluster or a singleton. The kindergartners also distinguished both types of “yes” pairs from “no” pairs. Perhaps children noticed this difference between “yes” pairs and “no” pairs and responded “yes” when the two words had the same type of onset and “no” when they did not. The results of this study are similar to those reported by Caravolas and Bruck (1993) for preschool. and first grade children. as in pacts–peel. these researchers found a small but significant difference between “yes” pairs that shared the first consonant of a cluster onset and “yes” pairs that shared a single-consonant onset. It suggests that whole onsets are easier to access and compare in metalinguistic tasks than the individual consonants that make up cluster onsets. However. than when the consonant was part of a cluster onset. children were considered to distinguish between “yes” and “no” pairs at an above-chance level only if p < . One might ask whether children’s ability to distinguish positive and negative pairs reflected an aspect of the experimental stimuli. The children’s better perfor- mance on the pacts–peel type pairs supports the linguistic status hypothesis. Although the results of this post hoc comparison must be interpreted with caution.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 6 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 198 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI judgment was made by comparing “yes” responses on each type of positive item to “yes” responses on negative items. we asked whether children were significantly more likely to respond that a pair such as plan–prow sounded the same at the beginning than that a pair such as bomb–drip sounded the same at the beginning. kindergarten. For all of the “yes” pairs. one word began with a single consonant and the other word with a cluster. This procedure takes account of the children’s response biases. Discussion Both the preschoolers and the kindergartners more accurately judged that two words shared a beginning sound when the initial consonant was an onset on its own. both words began with the same type of onset. For 6 of the 10 pairs in the “no” condition. The difficulty with cluster onsets that is revealed in the word-pair comparison task also emerges in other types of phonological awareness tasks in which unit size is controlled. This held true even though the two types of word pairs were equated for the number of shared phonemes (one in each case) and the proportion of phonemes that the shared consonant represented.05 according to both t tests across subjects and across items. performance on the four “no” pairs in which the two words had the same type of onset was almost identical to performance on the six “no” pairs in which the two words had a different type of onset. as in plan–prow. some children in this and the following experiments had a bias to answer “yes” whereas others had a bias to answer “no. For example. the preschoolers performed above chance on both types of positive items. For this and the other experiments. Several studies have used a phoneme recognition task in which children judge whether a specified phoneme is present in a series of target words . Using a comparison task with pairs of nonwords. they suggest that children’s ability to distinguish be- tween positive and negative pairs did not reflect use of the strategy just described.

5. These find- ings are relevant to the important question of how sensitivity to various phono- logical units relates to literacy (Bowey. Treiman. Difficulties with initial clusters also emerge in the initial phoneme isolation task in which children are asked to separately pronounce the first phoneme of a word or nonword. 1979. or part of a two-consonant onset (Bruck & Treiman. Although the children in Experiment 1 did significantly better on pairs of the pacts–peel type than on pairs of the plan–prow type. 1994. Morais. for instance. Cary. a superiority for whole onsets over the individual consonants that make up onsets emerges in both simple and complex phonological awareness tasks with both real words and nonwords. Caravolas & Bruck. Rather than dropping just the /f/ to produce /loi/.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 7 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 199 or nonwords. 1985). than when it is the first phoneme of a CCV (consonant– consonant–vowel) syllable. 1980. or an onset on its own. for it holds even when the number of phonemes in the onset and part of onset units is the same. even children in the early elementary grades have difficulty deleting just the initial consonant when it is part of a cluster (Bruck & Treiman. 1993). Zhang. children of 4. who aver- 1 aged about 52 years old. and 6 are more able to say that fool begins with /f/ than that flew begins with /f/ (Barton. Nie. & Bertelson. 1986. Morais. Bertelson. & Ding. The difficulty with the deletion task continued into the third grade. which involves relatively passive judgments of the similarity of speech sounds. A key question is whether sensitivity to phonemes is restricted to people who are literate in an alphabetic . & Macken. 1990. Thus. For example. & Alegria. 1989. 1986). phoneme deletion tasks. In the study by Bruck and Treiman. For example. 1990. correctly said that a syllable like /sɑn/ began with /s/ 86% of the time. Treiman & Weatherston. 1992). 1991. first and second 1 graders (average age almost 72) erred over 60% of the time when they were asked to delete just the first consonant of a spoken CCV nonword such as /floi/. This superiority is seen not only in the word-pair comparison task. Thus. Miller. Read. reveal a marked difficulty with clusters. children often dropped the whole onset to produce /oi/. Kirtley et al. Cary. Caravolas & Bruck.. This was true even though the children’s preschools did not offer formal instruction in reading. Even preschoolers had an inkling that plan and prow were similar in some way. In this task. their accuracy level was significantly lower. The advantage for onsets over individual phonemes is not an artifact of unit size. Although English- speaking children can often delete an initial consonant when it is an onset. children more easily detect a phoneme such as /s/ when it is the first phoneme of a CVC (consonant–vowel–consonant) syllable. 1993. Schreuder & van Bon. the children tested by Treiman. Finally. For syllables like /snɑ/. Bowey & Francis. 72%. in which chil- dren are asked to delete a specified phoneme from a word or nonword and pronounce the result. they distinguished both types of “yes” pairs from pairs that did not share any opening phonemes. even preschoolers were significantly more likely to say that the words in the “yes” pair plan–prow shared a sound at the beginning than that the words in the “no” pair bomb–drip shared a sound at the beginning. but also in tasks in which children actively manipu- late phonological units. 1989. Alegria.

Experi- ment 3). the shared syllable pairs. With two exceptions to be described. The number of phonemes in the shared unit and the proportion of the phonemes in the word that these shared phonemes represented were equal for the shared syllable and shared part of syllable stimuli. were designed to address this issue. EXPERIMENT 2 The word-pair comparison task of Experiment 2 included pairs of words that shared an entire final syllable. In addition. the size hypothesis predicts that perfor- mance on shared syllable pairs will be indistinguishable from performance on shared part of syllable pairs.10) and 41 kindergartners (21 boys and 20 girls) with a mean age of 5 years. All were pronounced with stress on the second syllable. respectively. we turned to the case of syllables.0–6. The items in 10 of these pairs. Because the children in the present study were not given tests of reading or prereading skills. For example. the results suggest that a rudimentary sensitivity to single phonemes can begin to emerge before children are exposed to formal reading instruction. These two types of “yes” pairs are referred to as shared syllable and shared part of syllable pairs. which used the same logic as Experiment 1. 8 months (range 5. As discussed in the introductory remarks. The items in the other 10 “yes” pairs also shared adjacent final . such as retreat and entreat. Data for a subset of the kindergartners were presented in Treiman and Zukowski (1991. Children were asked to judge whether the words in each pair sounded alike at the end. The linguistic status hypothesis predicts such a difference.4).4–5. Stimuli. The next experiments. In contrast. There were 20 “yes” pairs. we cannot determine whether these skills correlate with performance in the word-pair comparison task. There were 30 pairs of two-syllable items.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 8 SESS: 7 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 200 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI writing system or whether it can emerge even in the absence of alphabetic literacy. The results of Experiment 1 support the linguistic status hypothesis in the case of onsets. However. In the following experiments. We asked whether children performed better when a whole syllable was shared than when only part of a syllable was shared. retreat and entreat share the syllable /trit/ and require and inquire share the syllable /kwair/. syllables are typically longer than the linguistic units to which they have been compared and the difference in length could account for the greater accessibility of syllables. and pairs of words that shared just part of the final syllable. shared the entire second syllable. 0 months (range 4. Method Subjects. The subjects were 36 preschoolers (18 boys and 18 girls) with a mean age of 5 years. That is. consistent with Bowey’s (1994) find- ings. all of the stimuli were real words. such as oppressed and undressed. the stimuli included “no” pairs that did not have any final phonemes in common. the superiority for syllables over other linguistic units that has been observed in a number of previous studies could reflect a confound with unit size.

Among the shared part of syllable pairs. These experi- ments involved adults. Procedure. as does entreat. and “no” categories were 43. The two types of “yes” pairs in Experiment 2 were similar in the number of adjacent final phonemes that were shared (3. There were two “yes” practice pairs and two “no” practice pairs.” Results Table 2 shows the mean proportion of correct responses for each pair type. There was a small numerical superiority.8 phonemes. An example of a shared part of syllable pair is attempt and unkempt. 3%. The procedure was like that of Experiment 1 except that the puppet was said to like words that sounded the same at the end. the stimuli included 10 “no” pairs. The shared phonemes were either the word-final rime or the rime plus one consonant of the preceding cluster onset. An example is resort and involve. the effect of shared unit was significant in neither the subjects nor the items analysis (F1(1. Also.11. These words share the rime /εmpt/. The words in these pairs did not share any final phonemes.24). 5. however. and 47. 3. we assumed that retreat has /trit/ as its second syllable. As another example. it was necessary to include one pair of nonwords in each set of 10 “yes” pairs. 44.1 for shared syllable pairs. Here. although the post hoc nature of this comparison and the small number of stimuli involved . shared part of syllable. However. Treiman and Zukowski (1990).56 for both types of “yes” pairs). those that shared a rime did not differ significantly from those that shared a rime plus a preceding phoneme. and Treiman.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 9 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 201 phonemes. we suspected that the children would be unfamiliar with some of the real word stimuli and that they would not single out the nonwords.2 for shared part of syllable pairs). They were also similar in the proportion of the phonemes in the stimuli that these shared phonemes represented (. the shared phonemes did not constitute complete syllables. we had to make some decisions about how words are divided into syllables.75) 4 .18) 4 1. F2(1. The mean lengths of the stimuli were 5. Gross. To equate the stimuli in this manner. no comprehensive studies of syllabification have yet been carried out with children. and Cwikiel-Glavin (1992) were used as a guide to the syllabification of the stimuli. which is the rime plus one consonant of the onset of the second syllable. for shared syllable pairs over shared part of syllable pairs. and 5. For example.42. However. because some of the real words did not occur in the frequency counts of Carroll et al. the experimenter mentioned that some of the words might sound “funny. oppressed and undressed share the unit /rεst/.41). The results of Treiman and Danis (1988). (1971). 1971).6. The data for “yes” pairs were analyzed using the factors of linguistic unit (syllable versus part of syllable) and grade (preschool versus kindergarten).. Nor was there an interaction between linguistic unit and grade (both p > .8. The mean frequencies of the stimuli in the shared syllable. In addition to the 20 “yes” pairs. both p > . To construct the stimuli for this and the other experiments that were designed to investigate the status of the syllable. respectively (Carroll et al.

001).29) . Alternatively. both p < . Hardy et al.62 (. Both groups of children were able to distinguish between words that shared a sequence of phonemes at the end and words that did not. Treiman & Zukowski.32) . the effect of grade was highly significant (F1(1. 1974. although overall performance improved from preschool to kindergarten. p 4 . onsets.28. because syllables are usually larger than the other linguistic units (i. 1978. To address this question. F2(1.9) 4 168.28) .. the reasons for the superiority of syllables are unclear. but see Walley et al.. 1981.73. 1975.e. 1986).87 (.06) and significant in the items analysis (F2(1. wholly or in part.23. p < . Based on the results of these studies.73 (. Treiman & Baron. That is. 1984.85 (.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 10 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 202 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI TABLE 2 Mean Proportion of Correct Responses in Experiment 2 (Standard Deviations in Parentheses) Pair type and examples “Yes” pairs Syllable shared Part of syllable shared “No” pairs Grade retreat-entreat oppressed-undressed resort-involve Preschool .75) 4 3. we equated the shared syllable and shared part of syllable pairs in Experiment 2 for the number of phonemes that they contained. They made significantly more “yes” responses to shared syllable pairs than to “no” pairs and significantly more “yes” responses to shared part of syllable pairs than to “no” pairs.64.20) . 1991. there was no reliable superiority for pairs that shared a complete syllable over pairs that shared the same number of phonemes but in which the shared phonemes did not constitute a complete syllable.75) 4 12. The observed differences may reflect the special linguistic status of syllables. The effect of grade on perfor- mance on “yes” pairs was marginally significant in the subjects analysis (F1(1. On “no” pairs. Liberman et al.. phonemes. Morais et al. neither group of children did significantly better when the shared phonemes constituted a whole syllable than when the shared phonemes consti- tuted only part of a syllable. Leong & Haines. However.72 (.35) Kindergarten .001). Thus. the observed differences may occur. the preschoolers and the kindergartners performed well above chance in judging whether pairs of stimuli shared groups of phonemes at the ends.18) 4 26. Discussion The results of many previous studies suggest that syllables are particularly accessible units for young children (Fox & Routh. 1973.19) means that it must be interpreted with caution.81 (. To summarize... we broke the link between linguistic level and unit size that exists in natural language by designing pairs of words in which the shared syllables did not contain more phonemes than the . rimes) to which they have been compared.

However. In the present experiment. An example of a shared syllable pair is /f p9kir/-/n{t9kir/. There was a small numerical superiority for syllables over parts of syllables in the present experiment. in making their judgments. EXPERIMENT 3 Method Subjects. Examples are /wo9r sk/-/tʃ9lend/ and /for9gʃ/-/d n9lip/. 10 months (range 5. Twenty of the pairs were “yes” pairs. The syllables were longer than the nonsyllabic units. it is possible that children syllabify some words differently than adults.4–5. all with stress on the second syllable. There were 27 preschoolers (15 male and 12 female) with a mean age of 4 years. To alleviate these concerns and to make the stimuli more uniform in their phonological structure. In the other 10 “yes” pairs—the shared rime pairs—the nonwords shared only the rimes of their final syllables. The procedure differed from that of Experiment 1 in several ways. (1986). accounting for the children’s better perfor- mance on syllables. in which the syllables and the nonsyllabic units contained the same number of phonemes. previous reports of a superiority for syllables over other linguistic units reflect a confound between linguistic level and unit size. contrary to many previous claims. There were two practice “yes” pairs. although it was not statistically significant. The stimuli for Experiment 3 shared either an entire final syllable or a final rime. In addition. 10 months (range 4. and two practice “no” pairs. Stimuli. The items in the 10 “no” pairs did not share any phonemes. children were not significantly better at detecting shared syllables than at detecting other shared groups of phonemes. There were 30 pairs of bisyllabic nonwords. One possible conclusion from this result is that. syllables are not especially accessible linguistic units for children. In 10 of the “yes” pairs—the shared syllable pairs—the nonwords shared their entire final syllables. None of the shared part of syllable stimuli shared a rime plus the second consonant of a preceding cluster onset.3). It is conceivable that the use of real word stimuli could have added noise to the data if children considered the meanings of the words. . the children did not perform significantly better on syllables.” The experimenter said that all of the “words” were made up. The puppet was said to like “words” that “sounded the same at the end. as was the case for some of the stimuli in Experiment 2. it may be premature to accept the conclusion that syllables have no special status. to the extent that they knew them. one of each type.4) and 27 kindergartners (11 male and 16 female) with a mean age of 5 years. In this view.1–6. constituting half of the phonemes in the stimuli. All of the stimuli contained six phonemes and included one group of two adjacent consonants. The experimenter pronounced each nonword twice before having the child repeat it. Procedure. In this situation. The nonwords in both types of “yes” pairs shared three phonemes. an example of a shared rime pair is /to9b mp/-/f{9s mp/. we carried out another experiment using only nonword stimuli.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 11 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 203 shared parts of syllables. a similar result to that found by Walley et al.

Both the preschoolers and the kindergartners did better on “yes” pairs that shared a syllable than “yes” pairs that shared a rime. Statistical analyses confirmed a main effect of linguistic unit (F1(1.22).25) .19) .JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 12 SESS: 7 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 204 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI Results Table 3 shows the mean proportion of correct responses for each type of pair. p 4 . In Experiment 3. p < .04. but statistically reliable. Even if one dismisses the non- TABLE 3 Mean Proportion of Correct Responses in Experiment 3 (Standard Deviations in Parentheses) Pair type and examples “Yes” pairs Syllable shared Rime shared “No” pairs Grade /f p9kir/-/næt9kir/ /to9b mp/-/fæ9s mp/ /wo9r sk/-/t∫9lend/ Preschool . F2(1.30) Kindergarten .011).66 (.51. indicating that the superiority for shared syllables over shared rimes was similar in magnitude at the two grade levels. Specifically.77.58 (. which used mostly real word stimuli and a mix of nonsyllabic units (rimes and rimes plus the last consonants of preceding cluster onsets). p 4 . there was a 7% superiority for shared syllables. the effect of grade was not significant (both p > . the 3% superiority for syllables over nonsyllabic units was not statisti- cally significant. One could argue that Experiment 3 was more sensitive than Experiment 2 because the phonological structure of the stimuli was more uniform and because the use of nonwords decreased the possible influence of irrelevant semantic factors on performance. we asked whether children are more sensitive to shared syllables than to shared nonsyllabic units at the ends of stimuli. like Experiment 2. which occurred because kindergartners did better than preschoolers on “yes” pairs.023.25) . The results of Experiments 2 and 3 are not conclusive as to whether there is a true superiority for syllables over lower-level linguistic units in the second syllables of bisyllabic stimuli.77 (.26) . Pooling over the two grade levels.74 (.52) 4 5. which used nonword stimuli and uniform nonsyllabic units (rimes).18) 4 60.003. In Experiment 2. Finally.31) . On “no” pairs.79 (.85 (. 7%. F2(1.18) 4 8. the superiority for syllables over nonsyllabic units was small. both the preschoolers and the kindergartners differentiated between each type of “yes” item and the “no” items to a significant degree. The factors of linguistic type and grade did not interact (both p > . was designed to test the linguistic status hypothesis in the case of syllables. There was also a main effect of grade (F1(1.52) 4 9.50.66). p 4 . Discussion Experiment 3.001).

1–7. kindergartners and first graders served as subjects in contrast to the preschoolers and kindergartners of the earlier experiments. Because the stimuli for Experiment 4 were longer than the stimuli of the earlier experiments. EXPERIMENT 4 Method Subjects. any superiority for syllables over parts of syllables in the final positions of bisyllabic stimuli appears to be small. /ɑrn/. the shared unit was in the middle of a trisyllabic stimulus instead of at the end. In Experiment 4. the superiority for syllables over nonsyllabic units may have been marginal in Experiments 2 and 3 because the shared syllables and nonsyllabic units were both at the ends of the words. and making judgments about their phonological similarity. There were 30 pairs of trisyllabic nonwords. In 10 of these—the shared syllable pairs—the items shared their middle syllables. We asked whether children performed better when an entire syllable was shared than when just a rime was shared. For bisyllabic stimuli with final stress such as these. In this situation. /g{n/. There were 20 “yes” pairs. For example. The shared syllable and shared . we used nonwords rather than real words to control the phonological forms of the stimuli and to avoid any influence from word meanings. rhyme would not be a factor and a superiority for syllables over nonsyllabic units might emerge more clearly than in Experi- ments 2 and 3. as in oppressed and undressed.7). 8 months (range 5. As in Experiment 3. If children interpret the present task as a rhyming task—a reasonable suggestion given the familiarity of rhymes for children of this age—they should ignore any shared units beyond the rime. the word-final rime is the only linguistic unit that is relevant for rhyme. There were 20 kindergartners (8 males and 12 females) with a mean age of 5 years. all with stress on the second syllable. The non- words in the shared part of syllable pair /mo9vɑrnli/-/du9zɑrnbə/ share a rime. Read (1991) suggested that children treat the task of judging whether two stimuli sound the same at the end as that of judging whether the stimuli rhyme.2–6. or only part of a syllable. a better test of the linguistic status hypothesis in the case of syllables would involve stimuli in which the shared units were not at the ends of words. The pair /və9g{nli/-/su9g{nmo/ is a shared syllable pair and the pair /mo9vɑrnli/-/du9zɑrnbə/ is a shared rime pair. Thus. therefore. we expected that children would have more difficulty remembering them.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 13 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 205 significant results of Experiment 2 in this way. In light of this interpretation. This was true whether the stimuli shared a syllable. In the other 10 “yes” pairs—the shared rime pairs—the items shared the rimes but not the onsets of the middle syllables. the nonwords in the shared syllable pair /və9g{nli/-/su9g{nmo/ share a syllable. repeating them.4) and 16 first graders (10 males and 6 females) with a mean age of 6 years. as in retreat and entreat. Stimuli. 10 months (range 6. All of the “yes” pairs in the practice and test phases of Experiments 2 and 3 rhymed. Thus.

At both grade levels.34) 4 2. p < .13.34) 4 33.09. and two practice “no” pairs.08). There were two practice “yes” pairs. one that shared a syllable and one that shared a rime.) There was also a significant effect of grade (F1(1. except that the puppet was said to like made-up words that “sounded the same in the middle. which arose because the first graders performed better than the kindergartners on the “yes” pairs.68.78 (.36. p 4 . the interaction between linguistic type and grade was not significant by subjects (F1(1.22) .001. TABLE 4 Mean Proportion of Correct Responses in Experiment 4 (Standard Deviations in Parentheses) Pair type and examples “Yes” pairs Syllable shared Rime shared “No” pairs Grade /və9ænli/-/su9gænmo/ /mo9vɑrnli/-/du9ɑrnbə/ /to9fæsri/-/nə9dZmlεv/ Kindergarten .34) 4 4.37). The difference between shared syllables and shared rimes appeared to be greater for kindergartners (31%) than for first graders (18%).44.33) First grade .88 (. The items in the 10 “no” pairs did not share their middle phonemes.9) 4 17.” Results Table 4 shows the mean proportion of correct responses for each type of pair. An example of a “no” pair is /to9f{sri/-/nə9dZmlεv/. the children did much better on the shared syllable “yes” pairs than the shared rime “yes” pairs.95. The mean number of phonemes for the stimuli in each of the two types of “yes” pairs and the “no” pairs was 6. p 4 . who were close to ceiling on syllables.18) . The procedure was like that of Experiment 3.18) 4 113.6) and proportion of phonemes in the stimulus that the shared phonemes represented (. Statistical analyses confirmed the main effect of linguistic unit (F1(1. Pooling over the two grade levels.04. the superiority for shared syllables over shared rimes was 25%.02).25.51 (. both the kindergartners and the first graders made significantly more “yes” responses to pairs that shared a unit in the middle than to pairs that did not. Additionally. Analyses of performance on “no” pairs showed a significant effect of grade level by items (F2(1. p 4 .82 (.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 14 SESS: 7 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 206 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI rime pairs were matched in number of shared phonemes (2.22. However.74 (.12) .001).29) . Procedure. p 4 .11).92 (. They also had approximately the same number of phonemes preceding and following the shared phonemes. The items analysis additionally showed an interaction between linguistic type and grade (F2(1.002) that did not reach significance by subjects (F1(1.18) 4 6. both p < . p 4 .18) 4 39.35) .34) 4 1. F2(1. F2(1.72.

48. p 4 . There were 30 pairs of trisyllabic nonwords. p 4 . An example of a shared syllable pair is /spi9vukə/-/te9vugro/. the same age group that showed small or nonsignificant effects in Experiments 2 and 3. It appeared to be especially large for the kindergartners.33). these items share the syllable /vu/. A shared syllable pair such as /və9g{nli/-/su9g{nmo/ may have been easier because the consonant sequences included two rather than three phonemes.4–7. these items share the rime /of/. Stimuli.031). Twenty of these were “yes” pairs. The superiority for syllables that was observed in this study does not seem to be due to the greater size of the syllables as compared to the rimes. To determine whether a superiority for shared syllable pairs over shared rime pairs would still emerge when the two types of pairs were equated for the number of adjacent consonants.6). The subjects were 20 kindergartners (7 boys and 13 girls) with a mean age of 5 years.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 15 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 207 Discussion The results of Experiment 4 suggest that. The results thus support the linguistic status hypothesis. They suggest that there is something special about syllables such that two stimuli that share a complete syllable are especially similar for young children. not because of the nature of the shared unit itself. The correlation was not significant for first graders (r 4 −. 8 months (range 6.27.8) and 20 first graders (11 boys and 9 girls) with a mean age of 6 years. The superiority for full syllables over rimes was large and statistically significant. For kindergartners. An example of a shared rime pair is /de9kofnot/- /si9pofwəg/. The shared syllable and shared rime pairs were matched in number of shared phonemes (2. It may have been hard for children to abstract the common unit from a shared rime pair such as /mo9vɑrnli/ -/du9zɑrnbə/ because of the pileup of consonants in the middles of the stimuli. when rhyme is not a factor. performance declined as the average number of adjacent consonants in the stimuli of a pair increased (r 4 −. The items in the 10 “no” pairs did . 10 shared syllable and 10 shared rime. all with second syllable stress. at least part of the difference between shared syllable and shared rime pairs in Experiment 4 may have reflected the longer consonant sequences in the shared rime pairs. an additional experiment was performed. for the two types of units contained the same number of phonemes in the stimuli for this study.24). The “yes” pairs that shared a rime contained more and longer sequences of adjacent con- sonants than the “yes” pairs that shared a syllable. although it was in the predicted direction. EXPERIMENT 5 Method Subjects.5) and proportion of phonemes that the shared phonemes repre- sented (. children should have performed worse on those “yes” pairs that contained more clustered consonants. Thus. 9 months (range 5. However.4–6. there may be a potential problem with this interpretation. children find it easier to compare whole syllables than to compare rimes. If this explanation is correct.

6.26) . Pooling over the two grade levels.61).001). children performed 15% better on the shared syllable pairs than the shared rime pairs. children were significantly better at judging that two trisyllabic stimuli sounded the same in the middle when the shared unit was a complete syllable than when the shared unit was a rime.82 (.01. The mean number of phonemes in the stimuli in each category was 7. Finally. indicating that the superiority for shared syllable pairs over shared rime pairs was similar at the two grade levels. Importantly.25) . The procedure was identical to that of Experiment 4. Procedure.18) 4 15.38) 4 2. the effect of grade just missed significance by items (F2(1.43.27) . both p < .4 consonants in consonant sequences for each of the three types of stimuli.38) 4 . Discussion As in Experiment 4. F2(1.52 (. Statistical analyses of the results for “yes” pairs confirmed that there was a main effect of linguistic unit (F1(1. The main effect of grade was significant in the items analysis (F2(1.07) and was not reliable by subjects (F1(1. children did significantly better on both types of “yes” pairs than on “no” pairs.24) .38 (. and two practice “no” pairs.02. one that shared a syllable and one that shared a rime. Results Table 5 shows the mean proportion of correct responses for each pair type. An example is /ro9vεngul/-/mə9sepwɑt/.007) but was not significant in the subjects analysis (F1(1. This was true at both the kindergarten and first grade levels. p 4 . Children at both grade levels did better on “yes” pairs that shared a syllable than “yes” pairs that shared a rime. There was an average of 2.17).28.47 (. There were two practice “yes” pairs.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 16 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 208 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI not share their middle phonemes. On “no” pairs. p 4 .18) 4 9. Unit type and grade did not interact (both p > .78 (.30) First grade .38) 4 21. the stimuli in the two types of “yes” pairs and the “no” pairs were equated for the number of adjacent consonants.31.28. The difference between shared syllable and shared rime pairs in the present study could not have reflected a difference between the two types of pairs in the number of adjacent consonants because the stimuli were matched on this variable.75). p 4 . TABLE 5 Mean Proportion of Correct Responses in Experiment 5 (Standard Deviations in Parentheses) Pair type and examples “Yes” pairs Syllable shared Rime shared “No” pairs Grade /spi9vukə/-/te9vugro/ /de9kofnot/-/si9pofwəg/ /ro9vεngul/-/mə9sepwɑt/ Kindergarten . p 4 . The results of Experiment 5.63 (.9) 4 4.25) .

Treiman. a superiority that cannot be reduced to differences in size (Barton et al. Morais et al. show a sizable superiority for shared syl- lables over shared rimes in the middle syllables of trisyllabic stimuli. 25%. but see Walley et al. 1981. It has been argued that one source of the heterogeneity observed among phonological awareness tasks relates to the linguistic level of the units involved. which in turn may develop earlier than awareness of single phonemes. In Experiments 2 through 5. The reasons for this difference are not clear. some differences merit comment. Although the results of Experiments 4 and 5 are similar in key respects. 1990. much of the re- search that has been put forward to support the linguistic status hypothesis is potentially flawed. linguistic status has often been confounded with unit size. 1985. Treiman & Zukowski. Caravolas & Bruck. 1993.. 1978. because the children in the two studies attended different schools and were tested by different experimenters.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 17 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 209 together with those of Experiment 4. we used the same technique to examine the status of syllables. The results of Experiment 1 support the linguistic status hypothesis in the case of cluster onsets versus the single consonants that make up these onsets. We found that children could more easily judge that two words shared an initial sound when the shared sound was an onset on its own. Hardy et al. 1991. than in Experiment 5. 1975.. it is difficult to compare overall levels of performance across the two experiments. However. However. Another difference is that the overall level of performance on positive items was lower in Experiment 5 than in Experiment 4. . Bruck & Treiman. Awareness of syllables may develop earlier than awareness of intrasyllabic units. as in pacts and peel. where rhyme is not a factor. Treiman & Weath- erston... 1986). Liberman et al. The size of the difference between shared syllable pairs and shared part of syllable pairs appeared to be larger in Experiment 4. 1974. This is because the linguistic level of a unit has often been confounded with its size. 15%. The findings support the linguistic status hypothesis by suggesting that there is something special about syllables as compared to rimes. 1989. as in plan and prow. Although many studies have shown that children perform relatively well on phonological awareness tasks involving syllables from an early age (Fox & Routh. Schreuder & van Bon. Leong & Haines. The present research was carried out in an attempt to disentangle linguistic status and unit size and so to provide a better test of the linguistic status hypothesis. 1980. Treiman & Baron. 1973.. These findings concur with other results suggesting there is a true superiority for onsets over the phonemes that make them up. 1984. 1992). than when the shared sound was part of a cluster onset. Perhaps the lack of matching for number of adjacent consonants in Experiment 4 helps to explain why the difference between the two types of “yes” pairs was larger there. GENERAL DISCUSSION Phonological awareness is not a single homogenous ability.

If we view the word or syllable as . Treiman. like those of the present Experiments 2 and 3. whereas blizzard and blister. may reflect a confounding effect of rhyme. In a lexical decision task with spoken stimuli. When the shared unit was at the ends of the stimuli. In two experiments by Bruck. Experiments 2 through 5 were designed to separate the variables of linguistic status and unit size by asking whether children more easily detect the similarity between pairs of stimuli that share a complete syllable than between pairs of stimuli that share the same number of phonemes but in which the shared pho- nemes do not constitute a full syllable. (1986). Further evidence that syllables have a special status for adults comes from a priming experiment by Corina (1992). rhyme is no longer a factor. When the shared unit is in the middle syllable of the stimuli.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 18 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 210 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI The superiority of syllables may stem not from their linguistic status but from the fact that they are longer than the units to which they have been compared. It appears that syllables are more accessible than rimes and that onsets are more accessible than single consonants. The conclusion that phonological similarity is more salient when it is based on shared syllables than when it is based on parts of syllables agrees with conclusions drawn from studies of adults. Results were mixed when the shared unit was at the end of the nonwords. In this case (Experiments 4 and 5). the superiority for shared syllables over nonsyllabic units was non- significant (Experiment 2) or small but significant (Experiment 3). The present results suggest that. This conclusion is different from that reached by Walley et al. The linguistic status of the unit also matters. This latter result.. 1994. However. children may treat the task of judging whether two words sound similar at the end as a rhyming task. college students were quicker to detect the similarity between pairs of spoken nonwords when the nonwords shared a syllable at the beginning or in the middle than when the nonwords shared only part of a syllable. acknowledged. the present results support the linguistic status hypothesis in the case of syllables. the superiority for shared syllables over shared rimes was sizeable and significant. which share their first three phonemes (/bl/). and Caravolas (1995). the effect of similarity beyond the word-final rime (the unit relevant for rhyme with final-stressed stimuli of the kind used here) would be largely masked. As suggested by Read (1991). A numerical superiority for syllables over nonsyllabic units was observed for kindergartners. the sample sizes in their study were relatively small. Discounting the confounding effect of rhyming. If so. This difference was attributed to the fact that pamper and pamphlet share their first syllable (/p{m/). 1986). pamper primed pamphlet but blizzard did not prime blister. They suggest that the pho- nological similarity between a pair of words or nonwords is more salient for children when the stimuli share an entire syllable than when they share only part of a syllable. Walley et al.. although it was not significant. do not have a full syllable in common. as Walley et al. it is not the only factor. although the size of the shared unit is one important determinant of performance in phonological tasks (Brady et al.

1994). gull-frost Test: bomb-drip blade-tones fern-spill gloom-packed spurt-binge dial-tweed threat-plea slope-free paint-sew dive-sand . In contrast. APPENDIX Stimuli for Experiment 1 “Yes” pairs Examples: troop-toys..g. a by-product of lit- eracy. The heterogeneity of phonological awareness has implications for the relationship between phonological awareness and alphabetic literacy. 1986). 1986.. or both. the present results suggest that higher levels are more accessible to children than lower levels. informal learning about letters and their sounds may be im- portant (Bowey.. there has been a debate over whether phonological awareness is a precursor to literacy. 1983).JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 19 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 211 having a hierarchical internal structure (e. onsets. as suggested by the above-chance performance of the preschoolers on the shared phoneme pairs of Experiment 1. porch-plank Onset shared Part of onset shared Test: pacts-peel Test: plan-prow born-bump bran-blue fame-fort fry-flee deed-darn droop-dwell cork-cot clam-cry killed-kite crab-clean sack-sort smell-sway sends-sock spy-stew safe-served snack-slop thick-thorn thwart-thrill “No” pairs Examples: sift-bland. and rimes can develop without knowledge of a writing system that represents speech at these levels. As we mentioned earlier. Fudge. 1979. suggest that sensitivity to syllables. together with data from illiterate adults and read- ers of non-alphabetic scripts (Morais et al. Although formal reading instruction may not be necessary for the emergence of phonemic sensitivity. Our results support the idea that phonological awareness is a heterogeneous ability rather than a single homogenous skill. The answer to this question may depend on the linguistic level under consideration. phonemic sensitivity may result at least in part from experiences connected with the learning of an alphabetic writing system. Read et al. Our data. 1969. Selkirk.

/du9rɑnd/-/t9fεltʃ/ Test: /wo9r sk/-/tʃ9lend/ /n{9raild/-/bu9dZsk/ /fi9ruvd/-/to9g lk/ /for9gʃ/-/d n9lip/ /d n9les/-/v{m9bɑg/ /b{l9saik/-/kor9n f/ /bs9vɔl/-/k n9fut/ /bo9m sk/-/l{9rεnt/ /t9lont/-/be9mεsk/ /fεn9lip/-/tis9vor/ . about-impress Test: resort-involve delay-inject elect-disband advance-occult apiece-quartet apply-contract absolve-concrete impasse-encroached bamboo-disgrace imply-address Stimuli for Experiment 3 “Yes” pairs Syllable shared Part of syllable shared Example: /g{f9kεb/-/rip9kεb/ Example: /mo9s lv/-/rε9d lv/ Test: /f p9kir/-/n{t9kir/ Test: /to9b mp/-/f{9s mp/ /bm9ked/-/r{f9ked/ /s9m{nd/-/ko9r{nd/ /fεt9bus/-/d{g9bus/ /p{9raind/-/so9baind/ /nεg9ten/-/hɑr9ten/ /dZai9l sk/-/fεb sk/ /m{f9pin/-/gor9pin/ /tʃ{9muzd/-/go9fuzd/ /m{g9nεp/-/bor9nεp/ /su9born/-/tʃ{9forn/ /m s9fεt/-/r{d9fεt/ /bo9lεnt/-/k{9mεnt/ /lɔk9zif/-/s{d9zif/ /rɑ9s{ft/-/gu9m{ft/ /m{k9tun/-/lor9tun/ /k{9bεsk/-/su9lεsk/ /ʃ{m9pit/-/sor9pit/ /so9dZɑrk/-/m9tɑrk/ “No” pairs Examples: /bɑn9lutʃ/-/sεg9m{f/.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 20 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu 212 TREIMAN AND ZUKOWSKI Stimuli for Experiment 2 “Yes” pairs Syllable shared Part of syllable shared Example: repair-compare Example: awake-mistake Test: retreat-entreat Test: oppressed-undressed require-inquire depraved-engraved deplore-implore regroove-improve debuted-imbued amused-confused deploy-employ acclaim-inflame repeat-compete attempt-unkempt receive-conceive inane-obtain parole-enroll aboard-ignored prefer-confer abort-escort /sklu9pe/-/tr{nz9pe/ /ə9bold/-/n9dZold/ “No” pairs Examples: before-estate.

Example: /mi9dorsgu/- /kai9vεnflu/ /nə9porsfai/ Test: /və9g{nbli/-/su9g{nfro/ Test: /mo9vorlit/-/du9zorbə/ /spi9vukə/-/te9vugro/ /dai9gεlpvu/-/ni9fεlpkə/ /də9gsro/-/li9gsfɑ/ /ə9sεktrai/-/mo9lεkni/ /tʃu9mpkən/-/vi9mpgεs/ /ho9k{stli/-/u9b{stnə/ /gə9kεvblin/-/mɑ9kεvtrɔ/ /de9kɑfnot/-/si9pɑfw g/ /si9bεnflu/-/mə9bεngrɑt/ /bə9sεldvɑ/-/u9dZεldnif/ /go9zekεft/-/vi9zeprə/ /ke9b{lən/-/go9ʃ{lmi/ /pə9fugre/-/ni9fublɑ/ /mo9k{ntlə/-/be9f{ntgu/ /swo9lgai/-/de9lbri/ /və9dZosri/-/me9toshu/ /mu9potəs/-/vɑ9pokεf/ /so9g{ntlɔ/-/bu9v{ntme/ “No” pairs Examples: /gu9dobli/-/wɔ9p{vstai/. /vɔ9segu/-/tai9v{mru/ Test: /to9f{sri/-/nə9dZmlεv/ /drai9nokə/-/fe9zigɔ/ /mo9saivi/-/de9tupə/ /və9bεgtru/-/dai9w{pkɑz/ /re9hudZɔ/-/mə9fog{p/ /də9sεlpmi/-/e9vorngai/ /ə9vknu/-/i9ʃ{sgɔ/ /e9dorfmə/-/nu9p{stli/ /ə9sɑrdbi/-/e9t{mpno/ /fə9d{sri/-/e9kεlpno/ Stimuli for Experiment 5 “Yes” pairs Syllable shared Rime shared Example: /mə9vεntri/.JOBNAME: JECP 61#3 PAGE: 21 SESS: 6 OUTPUT: Wed May 29 20:17:29 1996 /xypage/worksmart/tsp000/70987e/1pu SENSITIVITY TO PHONOLOGY 213 Stimuli for Experiment 4 “Yes” pairs Syllable shared Rime shared Example: /məv9εlri/-/kai9vεlhu/ Example: /i9dorsgu/-/ə9porsfai/ Test: /və9g{nli/-/su9g{nmo/ Test: /mo9vɑrnli/-/du9zɑrnbə/ /spi9vukə/-/te9vugo/ /e9gεlpvu/-/ni9fεlpkə/ /də9gsro/-/bli9gsfɑ/ /ə9sεldvɑ/-/u9dZεldni/ /nə9kεvmir/-/vo9kεvlɔ/ /ge9skni/-/ə9pkfu/ /si9bεnflu/-/mə9bεngɑr/ /e9kɑfno/-/i9pɑfwə/ /vi9tɑlre/-/spu9tɑlwɔ/ /mo9k{stli/-/u9b{stnə/ /go9z{mlεt/-/vi9z{mrə/ /i9tndlo/-/ve9bndmə/ /də9fuge/-/li9fuwɔ/ /ke9b{mpvə/-/o9ʃ{mpni/ /do9seku/-/mə9se-ip/ /ə9g{tlɔ/-/u9v{tme/ /kru9vo-i/-/le9vowə/ /ə9dZosri/-/e9tosgu/ “No” pairs Examples: /l9ədosir/-/o9kldni/. /wo9hɑrpgi/-/m{9vŋksu/ Test: /go9k{vtri/-/nə9dZmlεp/ /tʃu9gonliv/-/bəferwɑp/ /mu9ŋkvən/-/se9εltho/ /ro9vεldgə/-/ku9zmpfi/ /ro9vεngul/-/mə9sepwɑt/ /e9wndbu/-/mo9p{stli/ /mo9visεn/-/wu9zɔkr p/ /u9zεlfgɑ/-/me9vutri/ /u9rogəst/-/lo9tʃikwεf/ /mu9{ndli/-/e9sεtgor/ .

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