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Book: Optimality Theory, Phonological Acquisition and Disorders

Chapter: 8 Recalcitrant error patterns

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.21488


Children typically suppress their phonological error patterns on their own without explicit instruction, although some error patterns may persist longer than others. For children with phonological delays or disorders, clinical intervention may be required to help eradicate those error patterns. However, treatment does not always meet with success. Certain error patterns appear to be especially recalcitrant, devolving into new overgeneralization errors and/or requiring multiple rounds

of treatment. The theoretical and clinical challenge is to explain why some error patterns persist longer than others and/or why some error patterns respond well to treatment, while others do not. Optimality theory offers a fresh perspective on this issue through its characterization of children’s error patterns.

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