Phonetic variability in residual speech sound disorders: Exploration of subtypes

Jonathan L. Preston, Laura L. Koenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: To explore whether subgroups of children with residual speech sound disorders (R-SSDs) can be identified through multiple measures of token-to-token phonetic variability (changes in one spoken production to the next). Method: Children with R-SSDs were recorded during a rapid multisyllabic picture naming task and an oral diadochokinetic task. Transcription-based and acoustic measures of token-to-token variability were derived. Articulation accuracy and general indices of language skills were measured as well. Results: Low correlations were observed between transcription-based and acoustic measures of phonetic variability, and among the acoustic measures themselves. Children who were the most variable on one measure were not necessarily highly variable on other measures. Transcription-based measures of variability were associated with language skills. Conclusions: Measures of phonetic variability did not identify children in the sample as consistently high or low. Data do not support the notion that clear subgroups based on phonetic variability can be reliably identified in children with R-SSDs. The link between highly variable phonetic output (quantified by transcription-based measures) and lower language skills requires further exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-184
Number of pages17
JournalTopics in Language Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • acoustic analysis
  • phonetic variability
  • residual speech sound disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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