Some Organizational Characteristics of Speech Movement Control The neuromotor organization for a class of speech sounds (bilabials) was examined to evaluate the control principles underlying speech as a sensorimotor process. Oral opening and closing actions for the consonants /p/, /b/, and /m/ (C1) in /s V1 C1 V2 C2/ context, where V1 was either /ae/ or /i/, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1994
Some Organizational Characteristics of Speech Movement Control
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Vincent L. Gracco
    Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT
  • Contact author: Vincent L. Gracco, PhD, Haskins Laboratories, 270 Crown Street, New Haven, CT 06511.
    Contact author: Vincent L. Gracco, PhD, Haskins Laboratories, 270 Crown Street, New Haven, CT 06511.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail:gracco@yalehask
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1994
Some Organizational Characteristics of Speech Movement Control
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1994, Vol. 37, 4-27. doi:10.1044/jshr.3701.04
History: Received September 15, 1992 , Accepted August 5, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1994, Vol. 37, 4-27. doi:10.1044/jshr.3701.04
History: Received September 15, 1992; Accepted August 5, 1993

The neuromotor organization for a class of speech sounds (bilabials) was examined to evaluate the control principles underlying speech as a sensorimotor process. Oral opening and closing actions for the consonants /p/, /b/, and /m/ (C1) in /s V1 C1 V2 C2/ context, where V1 was either /ae/ or /i/, V2 was /ae/, and C2 was /p/, were analyzed from 4 subjects. The timing of oral opening and closing action was found to be a significant variable differentiating bilabial consonants. Additionally, opening and closing actions were found to covary along a number of dimensions implicating the movement cycle as the minimal unit of speech motor programming. The sequential adjustments of the lips and jaw varied systematically with phonetic context reflecting the different functional roles of these articulators in the production of consonants and vowels. The implication of these findings for speech production is discussed.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by grants DC-00121 and DC-00594 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The author thanks Carol Fowler, Anders Löfqvist, Ignatius Mattingly, and Rudolph Sock for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. The author also thanks John Folkins for a thorough and constructively critical review of this manuscript.
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