What anticipatory coarticulation in children tells us about speech motor control maturity.
ABSTRACT: PURPOSE:This study aimed to evaluate the role of motor control immaturity in the speech production characteristics of 4-year-old children, compared to adults. Specifically, two indices were examined: trial-to-trial variability, which is assumed to be linked to motor control accuracy, and anticipatory extra-syllabic vowel-to-vowel coarticulation, which is assumed to be linked to the comprehensiveness, maturity and efficiency of sensorimotor representations in the central nervous system. METHOD:Acoustic and articulatory (ultrasound) data were recorded for 20 children and 10 adults, all native speakers of Canadian French, during the production of isolated vowels and vowel-consonant-vowel (V1-C-V2) sequences. Trial-to-trial variability was measured in isolated vowels. Extra-syllabic anticipatory coarticulation was assessed in V1-C-V2 sequences by measuring the patterns of variability of V1 associated with variations in V2. Acoustic data were reported for all subjects and articulatory data, for a subset of 6 children and 2 adults. RESULTS:Trial-to-trial variability was significantly larger in children. Systematic and significant anticipation of V2 in V1 was always found in adults, but was rare in children. Significant anticipation was observed in children only when V1 was /a/, and only along the antero-posterior dimension, with a much smaller magnitude than in adults. A closer analysis of individual speakers revealed that some children showed adult-like anticipation along this dimension, whereas the majority did not. CONCLUSION:The larger trial-to-trial variability and the lack of anticipatory behavior in most children-two phenomena that have been observed in several non-speech motor tasks-support the hypothesis that motor control immaturity may explain a large part of the differences observed between speech production in adults and 4-year-old children, apart from other causes that may be linked with language development.
Project description:Coarticulation is a source of acoustic variability for vowels, but how large is this effect relative to other sources of variance? We investigate acoustic effects of anticipatory V-to-V coarticulation relative to variation due to the following C and individual speaker. We examine F1 and F2 from V1 in 48 V1-C#V2 contexts produced by 10 speakers of American English. ANOVA reveals significant effects of both V2 and C on F1 and F2 measures of V1. The influence of V2 and C on acoustic variability relative to that of speaker and target vowel identity is evaluated using hierarchical linear regression. Speaker and target vowel account for roughly 80% of the total variance in F1 and F2, but when this variance is partialed out C and V2 account for another 18% (F1) and 63% (F2) of the remaining target vowel variability. Multinomial logistic regression (MLR) models are constructed to test the power of target vowel F1 and F2 for predicting C and V2 of the upcoming context. Prediction accuracy is 58% for C-Place, 76% for C-Voicing and 54% for V2, but only when variance due to other sources is factored out. MLR is discussed as a model of the parsing mechanism in speech perception.
Project description:In the first years of life, children differ greatly from adults in the temporal organization of their speech gestures in fluent language production. However, dissent remains as to the maturational direction of such organization. The present study sheds new light on this process by tracking the development of anticipatory vowel-to-vowel coarticulation in a cross-sectional investigation of 62 German children (from 3.5 to 7 years of age) and 13 adults. It focuses on gestures of the tongue, a complex organ whose spatiotemporal control is indispensable for speech production. The goal of the study was threefold: 1) investigate whether children as well as adults initiate the articulation for a target vowel in advance of its acoustic onset, 2) test if the identity of the intervocalic consonant matters and finally, 3) describe age-related developments of these lingual coarticulatory patterns. To achieve this goal, ultrasound tongue imaging was used to record lingual movements and quantify changes in coarticulation degree as a function of consonantal context and age. Results from linear mixed effects models indicate that like adults, children initiate vowels' lingual gestures well ahead of their acoustic onset. Second, while the identity of the intervocalic consonant affects the degree of vocalic anticipation in adults, it does not in children at any age. Finally, the degree of vowel-to-vowel coarticulation is significantly higher in all cohorts of children than in adults. However, among children, a developmental decrease of vocalic coarticulation is only found for sequences including the alveolar stop /d/ which requires finer spatiotemporal coordination of the tongue's subparts compared to labial and velar stops. Altogether, results suggest greater gestural overlap in child than in adult speech and support the view of a non-uniform and protracted maturation of lingual coarticulation calling for thorough considerations of the articulatory intricacies from which subtle developmental differences may originate.
Project description:Few acoustic studies have attempted to examine anticipatory effects in the earliest part of the release of stop consonants. We investigated the ability of spectral coefficients to reveal anticipatory coarticulation in the burst and early aspiration of stops in monosyllables. Twenty American English speakers produced stop (/k,t,p/) - vowel (/æ,i,o/) - stop (/k,t,p/) sequences in two phrase positions. The first four spectral coefficients (mean, standard deviation, skewness, kurtosis) were calculated for one window centered on the burst of the onset consonant and two subsequent, non-overlapping windows. All coefficients showed an influence of vowel-to-consonant anticipatory coarticulation. Which onset consonant showed the strongest vowel effect depended on the specific coefficient under consideration. A context-dependent consonant-to-consonant anticipatory effect was observed for onset /p/. Findings demonstrate that spectral coefficients can reveal subtle anticipatory adjustments as early as the burst of stop consonants. Different results for the four coefficients suggest that comprehensive spectral analyses offer advantages over other approaches. Studies using these techniques may expose previously unobserved articulatory adjustments among phonetic contexts or speaker populations.
Project description:The purpose of this study was, first, to expand our understanding of typical speech development regarding segmental contrast and anticipatory coarticulation, and second, to explore the potential diagnostic utility of acoustic measures of fricative contrast and anticipatory coarticulation in children with speech sound disorders (SSD).In a cross-sectional design, 10 adults, 17 typically developing children, and 11 children with SSD repeated carrier phrases with novel words with fricatives (/s/, /ʃ/). Dependent measures were 2 ratios derived from spectral mean, obtained from perceptually accurate tokens. Group analyses compared adults and typically developing children; individual children with SSD were compared to their respective typically developing peers.Typically developing children demonstrated smaller fricative acoustic contrast than adults but similar coarticulatory patterns. Three children with SSD showed smaller fricative acoustic contrast than their typically developing peers, and 2 children showed abnormal coarticulation. The 2 children with abnormal coarticulation both had a clinical diagnosis of childhood apraxia of speech; no clear pattern was evident regarding SSD subtype for smaller fricative contrast.Children have not reached adult-like speech motor control for fricative production by age 10 even when fricatives are perceptually accurate. Present findings also suggest that abnormal coarticulation but not reduced fricative contrast is SSD-subtype-specific.S1: https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5103070. S2 and S3: https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5106508.
Project description:The modeling of anticipatory coarticulation has been the subject of longstanding debates for more than 40 yr. Empirical investigations in the articulatory domain have converged toward two extreme modeling approaches: a maximal anticipation behavior (Look-ahead model) or a fixed pattern (Time-locked model). However, empirical support for any of these models has been hardly conclusive, both within and across languages. The present study tested the temporal organization of vocalic anticipatory coarticulation of the rounding feature from [i] to [u] transitions for adult speakers of American English and Canadian French. Articulatory data were synchronously recorded using an Optotrak for lip protrusion and a dedicated Lip-Shape-Tracking-System for lip constriction. Results show that (i) protrusion is an inconsistent parameter for tracking anticipatory rounding gestures across individuals, more specifically in English; (ii) labial constriction (between-lip area) is a more reliable correlate, allowing for the description of vocalic rounding in both languages; (iii) when tested on the constriction component, speakers show a lawful anticipatory behavior expanding linearly as the intervocalic consonant interval increases from 0 to 5 consonants. The Movement Expansion Model from Abry and Lallouache [(1995a) Bul. de la Comm. Parlée 3, 85-99; (1995b) Proceedings of ICPHS 4, 152-155.] predicted such a regular behavior, i.e., a lawful variability with a speaker-specific expansion rate, which is not language-specific.
Project description:This is the first study to examine the effect of phonetic contexts on children's lexical tone production. Mandarin tones in disyllabic words produced by forty-four 2- to 6-year-old children and twelve mothers were low-pass filtered to eliminate lexical information. Native Mandarin-speaking adults categorized the tones based on the pitch information in the filtered stimuli. All mothers' tones were categorized with ceiling accuracy. Counter to the findings in most previous studies on children's tone acquisition and the prevailing assumption in models of speech development that children acquire suprasegmental features much earlier than segmental features, this study found that children as old as six years of age have not mastered the production of Mandarin tones. Children's tones were judged with significantly lower accuracy than mothers' productions. Tone accuracy improved, while cross subject variability in tone accuracy decreased, with age. Children's tone accuracy was affected by the articulatory complexity of phonetic contexts. Children made more errors in tone combinations with more complex fundamental frequency (F0) contours than tone sequences with simpler F0 changes. When producing disyllabic tone sequences with complex F0 contours, children tended to shift the F0 contour of the first tone to reduce the F0 change, resulting in more tone errors in the first syllable than in the second syllable and showing substantially more anticipatory coarticulation than adults. The results provide further evidence that acquisition of lexical tones is a protracted process in children. Tones produced accurately by children in one phonetic context may not be produced correctly in another phonetic context. Children demonstrate more anticipatory coarticulation in their disyllabic productions than adults, which may be attributed to children's immature speech motor control in tone production, and is presumably a by-product of their inability to accomplish complex F0 changes within the syllable time-frame.
Project description:Speech produced by children is characterized by a high fundamental frequency which complicates measurement of vocal tract resonances, and hence coarticulation. Here two whole-spectrum measures of coarticulation are validated, one temporal and one spectral, that are less sensitive to these challenges. Using these measures, consonant-vowel coarticulation is calculated in the speech of a large sample of 4-year-old children. The measurements replicate known lingual coarticulatory findings from the literature, demonstrating the utility of these acoustic measures of coarticulation in speakers of all ages.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vowel lenition and its link with coarticulation have been the subject of extensive debate in the literature. The aims of the present paper are to demonstrate how vowel lenition and coarticulation are linked in Cypriot Greek (henceforth CG), to determine the nature of vowel lenition, and to illustrate how vowel lenition and coarticulation result from aerodynamic phenomena. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Eight speakers were recorded producing utterances ending in either /i/ or /u/. Acoustic measures such as V(1)F2 and stop duration were employed to determine whether lenition of the vowels results in coarticulation with the preceding consonant. Results show that there is extensive stop-vowel coarticulation in CG and that stop production is as variable as vowel production, with full vowels never co-occurring with canonical consonants, indicating the existence of two routes to lenition in CG. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that lenition in the final syllable is a consequence of the supralaryngeal articulation coupled with a marginal glottal setting.
Project description:A noninvasive method for accurately measuring anticipatory coarticulation at experimentally defined temporal locations is introduced. The method leverages work in audiovisual (AV) speech perception to provide a synthetic and robust measure that can be used to inform psycholinguistic theory. In this validation study, speakers were audio-video recorded while producing simple subject-verb-object sentences with contrasting object noun rhymes. Coarticulatory resistance of target noun onsets was manipulated as was metrical context for the determiner that modified the noun. Individual sentences were then gated from the verb to sentence end at segmental landmarks. These stimuli were presented to perceivers who were tasked with guessing the sentence-final rhyme. An audio-only condition was included to estimate the contribution of visual information to perceivers' performance. Findings were that perceivers accurately identified rhymes earlier in the AV condition than in the audio-only condition (i.e., at determiner onset vs determiner vowel). Effects of coarticulatory resistance and metrical context were similar across conditions and consistent with previous work on coarticulation. These findings were further validated with acoustic measurement of the determiner vowel and a cumulative video-based measure of perioral movement. Overall, gated AV speech perception can be used to test specific hypotheses regarding coarticulatory scope and strength in running speech.
Project description:This paper examines vowel-to-vowel lingual coarticulation in sequences of vowel-bilabial consonant-vowel, where the duration of the oral closure for the consonant is either long or short. Native speakers of Japanese served as subjects. The linguistic material consisted of Japanese word pairs that only differed in the duration of the labial consonant, which was either long or short. Recordings were made of lip and tongue movements using a magnetometer system. It was hypothesized that there would be greater vowel-to-vowel coarticulation in the context of a short consonant, since a long consonant would allow the tongue more time to move. The overall results do not show any strong support for this hypothesis, however. Subjects modulate the speed of the tongue movement between the two vowels, making it slower during the long than during the short consonant.