January 19, 2021

VietSpeech team retreat in Bathurst

This week the VietSpeech team are meeting in Bathurst. We are writing a paper from Study 4, finalising revisions of three papers from Study 1, analysing data, reviewing the goals we proposed in our ARC Discovery grant, and planning and prioritising tasks for 2021. We have really enjoyed spending time together, are so proud of all we have achieved to date, and will be on track to finalise the grant this year.

VietSpeech team: Kate Margetson, Dr Sarah Verdon, Prof Sharynne McLeod, Dr Cen (Audrey) Wang, Dr Van H. Tran
Others currently working on the VietSpeech grant as casual research assistants are Katherine White and Lily To - and Dr. Ben Pham is our consultant in VietNam.

January 14, 2021

Icelandic children’s acquisition of consonants and consonant clusters

The following article has been accepted for publication: 

Másdóttir, T. & McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. (2021, in press). Icelandic children’s acquisition of consonants and consonant clusters. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Here is the abstract:

Purpose. This study investigated Icelandic-speaking children’s acquisition of singleton consonants and consonant clusters.
Method. Participants were 437 typically-developing children aged 2;6 to 7;11 acquiring Icelandic as their first language. Single-word speech samples of the 47 single consonants and 45 consonant clusters were collected using Málhljóðapróf ÞM [ÞM's Test of Speech Sound Disorders].
Results. Percentage of consonants correct for children aged 2;6-2;11 was 73.12 (SD = 13.33) and increased to 98.55 (SD = 3.24) for children aged 7;0-7;11. Overall, singleton consonants were more likely to be accurate than consonant clusters. The earliest consonants to be acquired were /m, n, p, t, j, h/ in word-initial position and /f, l/ within words. The last consonants to be acquired were /x, r, r̥, s, θ, n̥/, and consonant clusters in word-initial /sv-, stl-, str-, skr-, θr-/, within-word /-ðr-, -tl-/, and word-final /-kl̥, -xt/ contexts. Within-word phonemes were more often accurate than those in word-initial position, with word-final position the least accurate. Accuracy of production was significantly related to increasing age, but not sex.
Conclusion. This is the first comprehensive study of consonants and consonant cluster acquisition by typically developing Icelandic-speaking children. The findings align with trends for other Germanic languages; however, there are notable language-specific differences of clinical importance.

Here is the feedback we received from the reviewer and editor in the acceptance email: 

"There is paucity of information regarding the acquisition of consonants in Icelandic. A total of 437 children with typical speech and language development, ages 2;6 to 7;11, participated in the study. The manuscript reports percentage of consonants correct and ages of acquisition of consonants and consonant clusters...The study has great clinical significance as there is a paucity of information on the acquisition of consonants in Iceland. The manuscript now has very clear potential to advance the discipline; the detailed tables and figures will be very useful clinically..."

We began discussing this work in Italy in 2013, then started working on it in Iceland in 2014 - so are really pleased it is finally in press: https://speakingmylanguages.blogspot.com/2014/06/thank-you-thora.html

January 9, 2021

Catching up with colleagues (i.e., friends) while on holidays

 Colleagues are friends. Holidays are a good time to catch up.

Dr Nicole Watts Pappas

Dr Ben Pham and Minh

Emeritis Prof Lindy McAllister and Vida

January 7, 2021

Big Voices

Today I visited the Big Voices exhibition at the Queensland State Library https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/bigvoices. 

The exhibited artwork was created by children in Australia, Vietnam and China collected by Dr Barbara Piscitelli in her Children's Art Archive. There were a number of correlations with the Children Draw Talking project we undertook between 2009-2013.

Big Voices celebrates this courage and creativity of children sharing their stories through art.

Dr Piscitelli's archive is available here: https://collections.slq.qld.gov.au/guide/7116/details

There are collections about children's rights and other collections titled "Children's Picture Diaries" that depicts "children’s ideas of who they are, where they live and what they like to do" https://collections.slq.qld.gov.au/guide/7116/details#SR00007116-13

 This exhibit reminded me of our Children Draw Talking research: https://speakingmylanguages.blogspot.com/search?q=Children+draw+talking

January 6, 2021


January is time for rest for many Australians as it is our summer holidays. I saw this koala on my holidays and it is the first time I have seen a koala in the wild. While I am not sleeping 18-22 hours/day like a koala - I am working hard to have a good rest from the demands of work.

Speech acquisition within a 3-generation Vietnamese-English family

The first paper from Study 2 of VietSpeech has just been published online: 

McLeod, S., Margetson, K., Wang, C., Tran, V. T., Verdon, S., White, K., & Phạm, B. (2021). Speech acquisition within a 3-generation Vietnamese-English family: The influence of maturation and ambient phonology. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics. Advance online publication https://doi.org/10.1080/02699206.2020.1862915

Free access to the paper here: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/FVQDRPRPPNIUAG96CNKP/full?target=10.1080/02699206.2020.1862915

December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2021

Today begins my annual leave and I will be on holidays until 18th January.

What a year it has been. Now it is time for a rest and time with our families.

Best wishes for the holiday season and 2021.

December 22, 2020

VietSLP - A new website developed by Dr Giang Pham from San Diego

Dr Giang Pham has just announced an excellent new website for supporting speech-langauge pathologists who work with bilingual Vietnamese-English speaking children and families: 

VietSLP: https://vietslp.sdsu.edu/

Introducing a new website with online resources for supporting Vietnamese children! On our website, you can find: 

✓ Learning Modules on how to work with Vietnamese American children 

✓ Assessment Tools for the Vietnamese language 

Please visit our website at vietslp.sdsu.edu!

VietSpeech wrap up

At our VietSpeech wrap up meeting this year we celebrated so many successes for 2020.

Firstly, we have finished data collection (apart from 1 family who will be assessed in January).

Secondly, we have found so many solutions to the challenges that we have been faced with over 2020.

Thirdly, we have grown as a team and as families. We enjoy working together and have really made a difference in the lives of many Vietnamese families in Australia.

Fourthly, we have been able to tell the world about our VietSpeech research at a number of conferences and have many papers in press, under review, and in draft form.

We are proud of all we have been able to achieve in this most unusual of years for the world.

December 19, 2020

End of year celebrations and 2021 planning

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to celebrate colleagues' achievements and plan with others for 2021: 

  • Michelle Brown's achievements during her postdoc
  • Branka Krivokapic-Skoko's promotion to professor
  • Julie Marshall's promotion to professor 
  • Lucia Wuersch's PhD graduation
  • James Brann's PhD examination results
  • Andi Salamon's research plans for 2021

    Dr Lucia Wuersch's graduation

Planning 2021 research with Dr Andi Salamon