September 26, 2015

Consonants, vowels, and tones across Vietnamese dialects

Phạm, B. & McLeod, S. (2015, in press September). Consonants, vowels, and tones across Vietnamese dialects. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
The following manuscript has been accepted for publication. The link to the article is here. Here is the abstract:
Vietnamese is spoken by over 89 million people in Vietnam and it is one of the most commonly spoken languages other than English in US, Canada, and Australia. Authors describe between one and nine different dialects of Vietnamese spoken in Vietnam. In Vietnamese schools, children learn Standard Vietnamese which is based on the northern dialect; however, if they live in other regions they may speak a different dialect at home. This paper describes the differences between the consonants, semivowels, vowels, diphthongs, and tones for four dialects: Standard, northern, central, and southern Vietnamese. The number and type of initial consonants differs per dialect (i.e., Standard = 23, northern = 20, central = 23, southern = 21). For example, the letter ‘r’ is pronounced in the Standard and central dialect as the retroflex /ʐ/, northern dialect as the voiced alveolar fricative /z/ and the trilled /r/, and in the southern dialect as the voiced velar fricative /ɣ/. Additionally, the letter ‘v’ is pronounced in the Standard, northern and central dialects as the voiced labiodental fricative /v/, the southern dialect as the voiced palatal approximant /j/, and in the lower northern dialect (Ninh Binh) as the voiceless labiodental fricative /f/. Similarly, the number of final consonants differs per dialect (i.e., Standard = 6, northern = 10, central = 10, southern = 8). Finally, the number and type of tones differs per dialect (i.e., Standard = 6, northern = 6, central = 5, southern = 5). Understanding differences between Vietnamese dialects is important so that speech-language pathologists and educators provide appropriate services to people who speak Vietnamese.
Congratulations to Ben Pham (Phạm Thị Bền) on this important work. This is the first publication from her PhD and her first publication in English.

September 25, 2015

Australian Government Senate Inquiry on students with disability in the school system

Today Gaenor Dixon (President of Speech Pathology Australia) and I were invited to give evidence to the Australian Government Senate  Standing Committee on Education and Employment  addressing Current levels of access and attainment for students with disability in the school system, and the impact on students and families associated with inadequate levels of support. The terms of reference of the Senate  Standing Committee on Education and Employment are here
Gaenor Dixon (SPA President) and Sharynne McLeod presenting at the Senate Inquiry
As part of the submission Linda Harrison, Cen (Audrey) Wang and I were commissioned by Speech Pathology Australia to undertake research into the NAPLAN outcomes for children with communication impairment.
  • Speech Pathology Australia's submission is here 
  • Speech Pathology Australia's news release is here
  • Charles Sturt University's news release is here
Australia's media covered our presentation in most of the major newspapers (164 Australian newspapers on 25th September):
 Here is an excerpt from Speech Pathology Australia's submission

NAPLAN results were analysed for 4,332 children within the K cohort of LSAC whose parents responded to questions about children’s speech and language when children were 4-5 years and 6-7 years and who had linked data to NAPLAN... For this research, the Kindergarten (K) cohort’s NAPLAN results for years 3, 5 and 7 were analysed" (p. 22)

"Analysis showed significant differences in the NAPLAN outcomes for children with speech/language problems compared to children without these problems. This was even after controlling for sex, SEP [socio-economic position], LBOTE [language background other than English], disability and hearing problems. Children with speech/language problems had poorer NAPLAN outcomes for every NAPLAN test at every year of testing. Importantly, the results indicate that both groups of students’ NAPLAN outcomes did improve over time – however the children with speech/language problems had consistently lower scores and did not ‘close the gap’ in their NAPLAN outcomes over time" (p. 24)
Dr Ronelle Hutchinson (SPA policy), Senator Sue Lines (Chair),
Gaenor Dixon (SPA President) and Sharynne McLeod (CSU)

September 18, 2015

Congratulations Jess

Today my daughter graduated from high school. I am so proud of all she has achieved throughout her high school years and look forward to see her continued growth in the future.

September 15, 2015

New PhD student

Today I had my first meeting with Natalie Hegarty and one of her supervisors Jill Titterington (her primary supervisor is Laurence Taggart). Natalie has recently begun her PhD studies through the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I have agreed to be a co-supervisor on her project. We will meet via Skype, then in person next year when I go to Northern Ireland and Ireland. She is focusing on children with speech sound disorders.
Meeting Natalie and Jill via Skype

September 14, 2015

Children's Speech: An Evidence-Based Approach to Assessment and Intervention

Today Elise and I submitted the final version of first 6 chapters of our book, Children's Speech: An Evidence-Based Approach to Assessment and Intervention to Pearson, our publishers in the US. We have been working on this book together for a long time, and Elise's children were there to celebrate this momentous occasion. The remaining chapters will be submitted soon. We hope that this book inspires speech pathologists and students throughout the world to see each child and his/her family as unique and to have the tools to support their full participation in society.
Here are a few of the posts over time as we have written the book:

September 10, 2015

Tutorial on assessing multilingual children

Over the past few days Sarah Verdon and I have been finalising the tutorial co-authored with over 40 members of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech. The tutorial is titled "Speech assessment for multilingual children who do not speak the same language(s) as the speech-language pathologist" and we will submit it to a journal for consideration in the next few weeks.

Bob Meyenn Public Lecture - Albury 2015

I was invited to present the 2015 Bob Meyenn Public Lecture in Albury on 9th September. Bob Meyenn was an inspirational and entrepreneurial Dean of the Faculty of Education at Charles Sturt University for many years. He was instrumental in allowing my transfer from Albury to Bathurst in 2003, and has supported my work in the Faculty of Education ever since. It was a great honour to present this lecture. During the lecture I focused on the competence of children across the world as they learn to communicate. It was wonderful to have many friends, colleagues, and ex-students in the audience.
Philip Hider (acting Dean of Education), Sharynne,
and Bob Meyenn (past Dean of Education)

September 4, 2015

Charles Sturt University Public Lecture weblinks

Children’s speech and language competence
Charles Sturt University Public Lecture
Professor Sharynne McLeod, Charles Sturt University, Australian Research Council Future Fellow
Search for “Multilingual Children’s Speech”
1.       Speaking My Languages blog:
Speech Pathology Australia
2.       Speech Pathology Week
3.       Speech Pathology Australia fact sheets
Early Years Learning Framework for Australia
4.       Commonwealth of Australia (2009):
Australian children’s multilingualism
5.       McLeod, S., Verdon, S., & Bennetts Kneebone, L. (2014). Celebrating Indigenous Australian children’s speech and language competence. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(2), 118-131.
6.       Crowe, K., McLeod, S., & Ching, T. Y. C. (2012). The cultural and linguistic diversity of 3-year-old children with hearing loss. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 17(4) 421-438.
7.       Verdon, S., McLeod, S., & Winsler, A. (2014). Language maintenance and loss in a population study of young Australian children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29, 168-181.
Children’s speech acquisition
9.       McLeod (2012) English-speaking children
10.   To, C. K. -S., Cheung, P. S. -P., & McLeod, S. (2013). A population study of children's acquisition of Hong Kong Cantonese consonants, vowels, and tones. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56(1), 103-122.
11.   Hambly, H., Wren, Y., McLeod, S., & Roulstone, S. (2013). The influence of bilingualism on speech production: A systematic review. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 48(1), 1-24.
Prevalence of speech, language and communication needs in Australia’s children
12.   McLeod, S. & Harrison, L. J. (2009). Epidemiology of speech and language impairment in a nationally representative sample of 4- to 5-year-old children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52(5), 1213-1229.
13.   McLeod, S., McAllister, L., McCormack, J. & Harrison, L. J. (2014). Applying the World Report on Disability to Australian children with communication disability. Disability and Rehabilitation, 36(18), 1518-1528.
Multilingual Children’s Speech: Position Paper
15.   McLeod, S., Verdon, S., Bowen, C., and the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech (2013). International aspirations for speech-language pathologists’ practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Development of a position paper. Journal of Communication Disorders, 46, 375-387.
Intelligibility in Context Scale
Parent-report measure of children’s intelligibility with seven communication partners available in 60 languages
17.   McLeod, S., Crowe, K., & Shahaeian, A. (2015). Intelligibility in Context Scale: Normative and validation data for English-speaking preschoolers. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 46(3), 266-276.
Non-English speech assessments
19.   McLeod, S. & Verdon, S. (2014). A review of 30 speech assessments in 19 languages other than English. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
Relevant books
20.   McLeod, S. & McCormack, J. (Eds.) (2015). Introduction to speech, language and literacy. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
21.   McLeod, S. (Ed). (2007). The international guide to speech acquisition. Clifton Park, NY: Cengage.
22.   Williams, A. L., McLeod, S. & McCauley, R. J. (Eds.) (2010). Interventions for speech sound disorders in children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.
23.   McLeod, S. & Baker, E. (2016, in press). Children’s speech: An evidence-based approach to assessment and intervention. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

PhD endorsement - Children's speech acquisition in Northern Viet Nam

On Wednesday Ben Pham (Phạm Thị Bền) presented her PhD proposal titled "Children's acquisition of consonants, semivowels, vowels and tones in Northern Viet Nam". There were many supporters in attendance on 8 sites: in person, via video conference, and telephone. She received very positive feedback from the official readers and audience. The next steps will be to complete her ethics application and receive approval from the CSU ethics committee.  She plans to begin data collection in Viet Nam in a few months' time. Congratulations Ben. 
Ben (left) at her PhD Endorsement session in Bathurst