Vowel-Related Differences in Laryngeal Articulatory and Phonatory Function The purpose of this investigation was to study the interaction between the supralaryngeal and laryngeal components of the speech mechanism by examining vowel-related effects for a variety of vocal fold articulatory and phonatory measures. Secondary issues were to determine if vowel-related differences were influenced by the nature of the speaking ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1998
Vowel-Related Differences in Laryngeal Articulatory and Phonatory Function
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Maureen B. Higgins
    Boys Town National Research Hospital Omaha, NE
  • Ronald Netsell
    Southwest Missouri State University Springfield, MO
  • Laura Schulte
    Boys Town National Research Hospital Omaha, NE
  • Contact author: Maureen B. Higgins, Boys Town National Research Hospital, 555 North 30th Street, Omaha, NE 68131. Email: Higgins@boystown.org
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1998
Vowel-Related Differences in Laryngeal Articulatory and Phonatory Function
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1998, Vol. 41, 712-724. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4104.712
History: Received May 27, 1997 , Accepted December 18, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1998, Vol. 41, 712-724. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4104.712
History: Received May 27, 1997; Accepted December 18, 1997

The purpose of this investigation was to study the interaction between the supralaryngeal and laryngeal components of the speech mechanism by examining vowel-related effects for a variety of vocal fold articulatory and phonatory measures. Secondary issues were to determine if vowel-related differences were influenced by the nature of the speaking task or gender. Between-vowel differences in estimated subglottal air pressure, peak oral air flow, mean phonatory air flow, air flow near the termination of the vowel, electroglottograph cycle width (EGGW), fundamental frequency, and voice onset time were examined for men and women during syllable repetitions and sentence productions. Significant vowel-related differences were found for all of the measures except mean phonatory air flow, and generally were not influenced by speaking task or gender. Vowel-related effects for estimated subglottal air pressure, peak oral air flow, fundamental frequency, and VOT were consistent with some earlier studies. New findings included vowel-related differences in EGGW and air flow near the termination of the vowel. We propose a model that includes the contribution of mechanical forces, reflexive neural activity, and learned neural activity to explain vowel-related effects. When vowel height is varied, changes in laryngeal cartilage positioning and vocal fold and vocal tract tension appear to influence laryngeal articulatory and phonatory function.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported in part by research grant P60DC00982 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health. The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments of Susan Nittrouer, PhD, and John H. Saxman, PhD, on an earlier version of this manuscript. We also thank Tamara Field and Elizabeth McCleary for their assistance with data analysis and Tom Creutz for his assistance with computer programming.
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