A comparison of single words and conversational speech in phonological evaluation


Purpose: The purpose of the current study was to compare conversational speech samples with single-word samples that were partially tailored to the participants' individual phonological profiles, using aspects of nonlinear phonological frameworks as a basis for evaluation.

Method: There were 20 participants in the study, ranging in age from 3;0 to 10;5 (years;months). The Computerized Articulation and Phonology Evaluation System (J. J. Masterson & B. Bernhardt, 2001) was used to elicit single-word productions.

Results: Both group and individual comparisons indicated very few differences in accuracy or treatment ramifications. The time required to elicit and transcribe the conversational samples was typically 3 times greater than the time required for the single-word task. The single-word task elicited more of the English-language targets.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that a single-word task tailored to some extent to the client's phonological system gives sufficient and representative information for phonological evaluation. A brief conversational sample remains useful for examining prosody, intelligibility, and other aspects of language, and as a check on the representativeness of the single-word sample.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Document Type





Conversational speech, Phonological sampling, Single words

Publication Date


Journal Title

American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology