Spontaneous and Imitated Productions in Spanish-Speaking Children with Phonological Disorders

Brian Goldstein, Leah Fabiano, Aquiles Iglesias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Purpose: Research examining the relationship between spontaneous and imitated productions for phonological analysis has indicated that the inclusion of imitated productions may overestimate children's phonological abilities. Previous research in this area has included only English-speaking children. The purpose of this study was to determine what, if any, differences there were in the spontaneous and imitated productions of Spanish-speaking children with phonological disorders. Method: Twelve Spanish-speaking children with phonological disorders (5 boys and 7 girls), ranging in age from 3;1 (years;months) to 4;9 (M = 3;11), participated in the study. Their spontaneous and imitated productions, based on a sample of single words, were analyzed to determine which elicitation task yielded the more adult-like production. Differences in consonant accuracy between the two tasks were analyzed, as was the shift in error type from spontaneous to imitated productions. Results: The results indicated that spontaneous, and imitated productions were identical in 62% of the cases, an imitated production was more adult-like than a spontaneous one in 25% of the cases, and a spontaneous form was more adult-like than an imitated one in approximately 13% of the cases. Consonant accuracy for some children also varied as a function of elicitation task. Clinical Implications: For additional diagnostic and prognostic value, speech-language pathologists can incorporate imitated responses in their analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-15
Number of pages11
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Imitation
  • Phonological disorders
  • Spanish
  • Spontaneous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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