Chapter 2. Suprasegmental Phonology and Early Reading Development

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This chapter aims to disentangle the complex relationship between the different components of suprasegmental phonology and early reading development. Specifically, it considers the possibility that suprasegmental phonology may not be a unitary construct and explores whether the different suprasegmental components of stress or loudness, pitch or intonation, and duration or timing (Kuhn & Stahl, 2003, p. 5) are related to reading development in different ways. It draws primarily upon published research evidence and theory along with some pertinent unpublished data from two recent exploratory studies, which developed and employed a new, multi-component measure of suprasegmental phonological sensitivity. Conclusions are made regarding the need to consider disentangling different aspects of suprasegmental phonology not only theoretically but practically, in order to develop a more sophisticated understanding of its role in early reading development.


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