Semin Speech Lang 2004; 25(1): 91-99
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-824828
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

A Noncontrastive Model for Assessment of Phonology

Harry N. Seymour1
  • 1Professor Emeritus, Department of Communication Disorders, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
15 April 2004 (online)

The contrastive/noncontrastive model developed by Seymour and Seymour (1977) can be applied to the development of a dialect-sensitive phonological assessment that uses a single scoring and test format, regardless of a child's dialect. Through extensive field research, stimulus items were found that respect the phonotactics of African American English (AAE) (i.e., no targets are final consonants or final consonant clusters), yet are sufficiently demanding to show development in the age range from 4 to 9 years. Consonant clusters of varying levels of phonological difficulty are shown to discriminate between typically developing and phonologically impaired children of different dialect groups, Mainstream American English (MAE) and non-MAE. Implications for further diagnosis and remediation are presented.


Harry N SeymourPh.D. 

Department of Communication Disorders, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA 01003