Are You Hearing Your Patients Out?

Phonemics are both subtle and fascinating. The phonemic system of a patient's primary language can influence the interpretation and production of sounds in other languages. Here are four ways you can use phonemic inventories and cultural and linguistic information to communicate more effectively across languages. Start below:

I’m a Speech-Language Pathologist

You can use ASHA’s library of phonemic systems to do the following:

  • Identify sounds in the client’s language
  • Determine phonemic influences of the client's native language on English.
  • Identify sounds from the client's first language that may not exist in English or identify sounds in English that do not exist in the client's native language.
  • Recognize that even if there are similar sounds across two languages, they may not be used the same way. For example, in some languages a certain sound may only be used at the ends of word and not at the beginning of a word.

I’m an Audiologist

You can use ASHA’s library of phonemic systems to do the following:

  • Correlate the client's audiogram and the sounds of the client's language(s).
  • Recognize and respond to amplification needs.
  • Identify the effect of the individual's phonemic system on speech audiometry assessment.
  • Modify materials and procedures during speech audiometry assessment.

ASHA has compiled a library of phonemic inventories and cultural and linguistic information. Please remember that dialectal differences exist for each language. Consider this fact when using the phonemic charts.