This paper investigates suprasegmental features in the pre-lexical speech of congenitally hearing impaired children who received a Nucleus-24 multichannel cochlear implant between 5 and 20 months of age. Single, independent bi-syllabic spontaneous babbling productions were analyzed acoustically at different stages in the babbling period. Fundamental frequency, pitch change in terms of direction and degree, and duration were analyzed for each vowel. The results were compared with those of a control group of normally hearing children, and analyzed with respect to length of cochlear implant experience. Few differences were found between the normally hearing children and the cochlear implanted children in terms of suprasegmental aspects, indicating that a cochlear implant provides fundamental improvement already in pre-lexical speech. Nevertheless, differences in pitch variations between the two groups of children at the end of the babbling period may signify a weakness related to the cochlear implant.
Bibliographic reference. Hide, Øydis / Gillis, Steven / Govaerts, Paul (2007): "Suprasegmental aspects of pre-lexical speech in cochlear implanted children", In INTERSPEECH-2007, 638-641.