In many ways Question 5 was the most important one for me. I was most interested in this survey in which tongue shape (apical/retroflex or molar/bunched) therapists used in teaching /r/ to clients with /r/ problems. The choice open to respondents was: apical, molar, or both.
The following bar chart shows the overall scores:
So, whereas apical was clearly more popular than molar; the ‘both’ option was chosen by the majority. However, if we recall the answers to Question 1, the respondents were based in several different countries, and these overall results mask any possible regional differences in which /r/ type is taught in therapy. Therefore, we calculated the scores separately for the USA, Canada, Ireland, the UK and Australia. (The sole therapist based in China was excluded because, although we know they came from the US, we do not know the linguistic background of their clients.) The following chart shows responses broken down by regional origin:
This clearly shows that while ‘both’ is still the most popular category in the USA and Canada, followed by molar, in Ireland the apical /r/ is most popular – possibly reflecting regional differences in the production of /r/ by non-disordered speakers. The figures for the UK and Australia are too low to comment on.
Clearly, the ‘both’ category needs further unpacking. Suspecting this might be the case, we had follow-up questions in the survey asking more details for those who chose ‘both’ in Question 5. We’ll deal with these under Question 6 in the next posting in this series.
Thanks to Angela Granese (a doctoral student in our department) for her hard work in analyzing results for this and later questions in the survey.