language impairment (LI)

a heterogeneous group of deficits and/or immaturities in the comprehension and/or production of spoken or written


goal directedness in interactions, which is first demonstrated at about 8 months of age, primarily through gestures


the process of having one thing stand for another, such as a piece of paper used as a blanket for a doll


use of an arbitrary symbol, such as a word or sign, to stand for something


an individual's personal dictionary of words and meanings


an adult response to a child's utterance in which the adults adds to the child's utterance to provide a more complex example of what the child has said

fast mapping

a process in which a child infers the meaning of a word form context and uses it in a similar context are a later time. A fuller definition evolve over time. Fast mapping enables preschool children to expand their vocabularies quickly by being able to use a word without fully understanding the meaning

mean length of utterance (MLU)

the average length of utterances, measured in morphemes. In English, this is an important measure of preschool development because language increases in complexity as it becomes longer.

metalinguistic skills

abilities that enable a child to consider language in the abstract, to make judgments about the correctness of language, and to create verbal contexts, such as in writing

figurative language

nonliteral phrases consisting of idioms, metaphors, similes, and proverbs

intellectual disability (ID)

substantial limitations in intellectual functioning; significant limitations in adaptive behavior consisting of conceptual, social, and practical skills; and originating before age 18

specific language impairment (SLI)

a language impairment in the absence of hearing, oral structural or functioning, cognitive, or personal deficits

working memory


executive function

an aspect of metacognition used in self-regulation

attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

hyperactivity and attentional difficulties in children who do not manifest other characteristics of learning disabilities

autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

term used to characterize individuals at the severe end of the pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) continuum. It is an impairment in reciprocal social interaction with a severely limited behavior, interest, and activity and repertoire that has its onset before 30 months of age

traumatic brain injury

damage to the brain that results from bruising and lacerations caused by forceful contact with the relatively rough inner surfaces of the skull of from secondary edema or swelling, infarction or death of tissue, and hematoma or focal bleeding

dynamic assessment

a nonstandardized assessment approach that can take the form of test-teach-test to determine a child's ability to learn

code switching

the process in which bilingual speakers transfer between two languages, based on the listener, context, or topic


use of visual modes of communication, specifically reading and writing


breaking or segmenting a written word into its component sounds and then blending them together to form a recognizable word

phonological awareness (PA)

knowledge of sounds and syllables and of the sound structure of words

phonemic awareness

ability to manipulate sounds such as blending sounds to create new words or segmenting words into sounds


create a word from individual sounds and syllables

critical literacy

a readers ability to actively interpret between the lines, analyze, and synthesize information and to be able to explain content

dynamic literacy

a readers ability to interrelate content to other knowledge through both deductive and inductive reasoning


knowledge about knowledge and cognitive processes, including self-appraisal

dialogic reading

picture book interactive sharing between a caregiver and a young child, in which parents try to get children involved

print awareness

knowledge of the meaning and function of print, including recognition of words and letters, and terminology, such as letter, word, or sentence


sound-letter or phonemic-grapheme correspondence


a mild form of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) characterized by an inordinate interest in letters and words and by early ability to read but with little comprehension


outside a conversational context. when we write, we construct the context with our writing rather than having it constructed by our conversational partner(s)

story grammar

common elements and event sequences in narratives


any of several voiced phonemes that are produced with a relatively open vocal tract


a phoneme that is produced with some vocal tract constriction or occlusion


pertaining to tow lips, such as phoneme produced with both lips


pertaining to lips and teeth; phonemes produced with lip tooth contract


pertaining to tongue and teeth; phonemes produced with tongue and tooth contact


between the teeth


related to the alveolar, or gum, ridge of the mouth. in speech, alveolar consonants are those produced with the tongue on the alveolar ridge


refers to the front area of the roof of the mouth. in speech, the consonants are produced with the tongue touching or approximately the hard palate


refers to the posterior area of the roof of the mouth, in speech, velar consonants are produced with the tongue touching approximately the velum or soft palate


relating to or produced in or by the glottis, the space between the vocal folds

stop consonants

a consonant phoneme produced by building air pressure behind the point of constriction


a consonant phoneme that is produced by exhaling air through a narrow passageway


a combination of a stop and fricative phoneme


phoneme that is produced with nasal resonance


a phoneme in which the articulatory posture changes from consonant to vowel


refers to the oral resonant consonants /r/and /l/


two vowels said in such close proximity that they are treated as a single phoneme


development of a protective myelin sheath or sleeve around the cranial nerves


single-syllable non purposeful consonant vowel (CV) or vowel-consonant (VC) vocalizations that begin at the about 4 months of age

reduplication babbling

long strings of consonants-vowel syllable repetitions, such as "ma-ma-ma-ma-ma

variegated babbling

long strings of consonant-vowel syllables, in which adjacent and successive syllables in the string are not identical


strings of unintelligible speech sounds with the intonational pattern of adult

phonetically consistent forms (PCFs)

consistent vocal patterns that function as meaningful "word" for an infant, PCFs are a transition to words

morphophonemic contrasts

change in pronunciation as a result of morphological change

open syllable

a syllable, or basic acoustic unit od speech, that ends in a vowel

closed syllable

a syllable, or basic acoustic unit of speech, that ends in one or more consonants


something that tends to exist in the presence of something else or be associated with it, but without a demonstrated causal relationship

craniofacial anomalies

congenital malformations involving the head (cranio = above the upper lid) and face (facial = below the upper eyelid)

cerebral palsy (CP)

a heterogeneous group of neurogenic disorders that result in difficulty with motor movement; were acquired before, during, or shortly after birth; and affect one or more


in articulation, the production of one phoneme in place of another


in articulation, the absence of a phoneme that has not been produced or replaced


in articulation, a deviant production of a phoneme


in articulation, the insertion of a phoneme that is not part of a word


the ability to understand what has been detected aurally


the ability to imitate a target phoneme when given focused auditory and visual cues

external error sound discrimination

perception of of differences in the production of the target phoneme in another persons speech, also known as interpersonal error sound discrimination

interpersonal error sound discrimination

perception of of differences in the production of the target phoneme in another persons speech, also known as external external error sound discrimination

internal error sound discrimination

ability to judge the accuracy of ones own phoneme production

traditional motor approach

an articulation treatment approach that empahzixes discrete skill learning beginning first with auditory discrimination of the error sound, followed by production training of the sound in isolation, in nonsense syllables, and then in words, phrases, sentences, and conversation

minimal pair contrasts

two words that differ in a single phoneme, such as sip (/se/) and ship (/be/)

maximal contrasts

a minimal pari in which in which the differing phonemes often differ across place, manner, and voicing (e.g., "mop" and "chop")

multiple opposition approach

a phonological based therapy approach that targets multiple sound errors at one time, using phoneme word pairs that are maximally contrasted (i.e., differ according to place, manner, and voicing)

metaphonological skills

the ability to analyze, think about, and manipulate speech sounds

metaphon approach

an approach to phonological therapy that is based on the premise that phonological disorders in children are developmental language learning disorders