Effects of Linguistic Correlates of Stuttering on Emg Activity in Nonstuttering Speakers In this study changes in upper lip and lower lip integrated electromyographic (IEMG) amplitude and temporal measures related to linguistic factors known for their influence on stuttering were investigated. Nonstuttering subjects first read and then verbalized sentences of varying length (sentence length factor), in which meaningless but phonologically appropriate character ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1995
Effects of Linguistic Correlates of Stuttering on Emg Activity in Nonstuttering Speakers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Pascal H. H. M. van Lieshout
    Nijmegen Institute of Cognition and Information and University Hospital, Department of Voice and Speech Disorders The Netherlands
  • C. Woodruff Starkweather
    Department of Speech-Hearing-Language Temple University Philadelphia, PA
  • Wouter Hulstijn
    Nijmegen Institute of Cognition and Information and University of Nijmegen The Netherlands
  • Herman F. M. Peters
    University Hospital, Department of Voice and Speech Disorders and University of Nijmegen The Netherlands
  • Contact author: Pascal H.H.M. van Lieshout NICI/KUN, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
    Contact author: Pascal H.H.M. van Lieshout NICI/KUN, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1995
Effects of Linguistic Correlates of Stuttering on Emg Activity in Nonstuttering Speakers
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1995, Vol. 38, 360-372. doi:10.1044/jshr.3802.360
History: Received August 16, 1993 , Accepted November 8, 1994
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1995, Vol. 38, 360-372. doi:10.1044/jshr.3802.360
History: Received August 16, 1993; Accepted November 8, 1994

In this study changes in upper lip and lower lip integrated electromyographic (IEMG) amplitude and temporal measures related to linguistic factors known for their influence on stuttering were investigated. Nonstuttering subjects first read and then verbalized sentences of varying length (sentence length factor), in which meaningless but phonologically appropriate character strings were varied in their position within the sentence (word position factor) and their size (word size factor). It was hypothesized that the production of stressed, vowel-rounding gestures of words in initial position, longer words, and words in longer sentences would be characterized by specific changes in IEMG amplitude that would reflect an increase in speech motor demands, intuitively defined as articulatory effort. Basically, the findings corroborated our assumptions, showing that words in sentence initial position have shorter word and vowel durations in combination with an increase in IEMG activity. Similarly, we found shorter vowel durations for longer words, and in sentence final position an increase in IEMG activity. For longer sentences we found a clear increase in speech rate, but contrary to our expectations a decrease in IEMG activity. It was speculated that this might relate to the use of a movement reduction strategy to allow higher speech rates with increased coarticulation. These findings were discussed both for their implications in normal speech production, as well as for their possible implications for explaining stuttering behavior. To this end our data can illustrate both why stutterers might run a higher risk of stuttering at these linguistic loci of stuttering, and why they might come up with a strategic solution to decrease the motor demands in speech production. The basic outcome of this study shows that higher order (linguistic) specifications can have clear effects on speech motor production.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by the Dutch Organization of Scientific Research, Grant 560–259–031, and the Netherlands-America Commission on Educational Exchange, with a Fulbright award to C. W. Starkweather in 1987 –88. The authors would like to thank Patricia Zebrowski and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this manuscript.
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