Phonological skills in low birth weight south Indian children: An exploratory study

Lakshmi Narrayanan Gopal, Perumal Radhakrishnan Chella, Krupa Murugesan


The study aimed at examining whether the 3-4 year old children (n=60) with Low Birth Weight (LBW) and Normal Birth Weight (NBW) Tamil speaking children differ in development of their phonological skills. The children were classified into two groups with thirty in each: children with LBW (<2500 grams); and NBW (>2500 grams). The investigator was involved in a general conversation task with each child to elicit a minimum of 100 utterances, which was audio and video recorded. The recorded samples were phonetically transcribed and analysed by two qualified speech language pathologists to estimate the percentage of consonants correct (PCC) and frequency of occurrence of phonological processes. Independent t test and Mann Whitney U tests were used to compare the data between the groups. The results of the study indicated a significant difference (p<0.05) between the children with LBW and NBW children in PCC. Alveolar and palatal phonemes were predominantly compromised followed by velars in both the groups. With respect to manner of articulation, errors on laterals and trill were higher. Further, the percentage of occurrence of cluster reduction (71.27%), stopping (50.61%) and initial constant deletion (39.17%) were twice greater in the children with LBW. The results of the study emphasises on the similarity in the pattern of acquisition of speech sounds between children with LBW and NBW children, however there was a difference in the correct usage of consonants..


Phonology, Low birth weight, Language development.

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