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Non-verbal Speech: A Phonological Investigation Into The Utterances of a Non-verbal Individual with Autistic Spectrum Condition

Carter, Richard Ian (2021) Non-verbal Speech: A Phonological Investigation Into The Utterances of a Non-verbal Individual with Autistic Spectrum Condition. Masters thesis, York St John University.

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Abstract

Do the vocalisations of non-verbal people display phonological influence? It is known that Autistic Spectrum disorder (ASC) presents barriers to achieving fluency in a language. These barriers are often negotiated by utilising Alternative, Assistive Communication systems (AACs) that can rely on signing and symbolic awareness. This can leave the vocal behaviours of non-verbal people in a non-communicative space, often explored in Intensive Interaction, and social games. This research investigates the vocalisations of Simeon, a young man with ASC, who is non-verbal, but vocalises socially. Exploring the relationship between Simeon’s vocalisations and the phonologies of his home languages provides an insight into the ways he appears to align with the phonetics of his environment. The analysis explores the influence of three distinct language variants: Central Thai, Isan, and South East British English. The
influence of these language variants is tested by comparing their phonemic inventories with the phones Simeon articulates. The tones of Thai and Isan as well as English patterns of intonation are compared to the pitch contour patterns found in Simeon’s vocalisations. Simeon’s articulation of vowels are subjected to formant analysis and compared to the articulations of his parents. In this approach, the paper addresses the question in a way that is respectful to the rights of the participant, but also critical of over-application of phonological theory. Instead a middle space is identified between the apparent phonetic systems present in the data, and language-centred phonology.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Status: Published
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5881

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