Undifferentiated Lingual Gestures in Children With Articulation/Phonological Disorders Previous research using electropalatography (EPG) has shown that a distinctive articulatory characteristic of lingual consonants in the speech of school-age children with articulation/phonological disorders (APD) is a high amount of tongue-palate contact. Consonants produced in this way have been referred to as undifferentiated lingual gestures. This article reviews the EPG ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1999
Undifferentiated Lingual Gestures in Children With Articulation/Phonological Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Fiona E. Gibbon
    Queen Margaret University College Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Contact author: Fiona E. Gibbon, Department of Speech and Language Sciences, Queen Margaret University College, Clerwood Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 8TS, UK.
    Contact author: Fiona E. Gibbon, Department of Speech and Language Sciences, Queen Margaret University College, Clerwood Terrace, Edinburgh, EH12 8TS, UK.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: f.gibbon@sls.qmced.ac.uk
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1999
Undifferentiated Lingual Gestures in Children With Articulation/Phonological Disorders
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1999, Vol. 42, 382-397. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4202.382
History: Received August 26, 1998 , Accepted November 23, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1999, Vol. 42, 382-397. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4202.382
History: Received August 26, 1998; Accepted November 23, 1998

Previous research using electropalatography (EPG) has shown that a distinctive articulatory characteristic of lingual consonants in the speech of school-age children with articulation/phonological disorders (APD) is a high amount of tongue-palate contact. Consonants produced in this way have been referred to as undifferentiated lingual gestures. This article reviews the EPG literature on undifferentiated gestures with 4 overarching goals: (a) to provide a precise articulatory description of undifferentiated gestures, (b) to estimate the rate of occurrence of undifferentiated gestures in children with APD, (c) to propose an original interpretation of undifferentiated gestures, and (d) to discuss the significance of the gestures in the light of current theories of APD. Undifferentiated gestures typically occur during productions of lingual consonant targets and are characterized by contact that lacks clear differentiation between the tongue apex, tongue body, and lateral margins of the tongue. The EPG literature reports 17 school-age children with APD, of whom 12 (71%) show evidence of undifferentiated gestures. Standard transcriptions do not reliably detect undifferentiated gestures, which are transcribed as speech errors (e.g., phonological substitutions, phonetic distortions) in some contexts, but are transcribed as correct productions in other contexts. Undifferentiated gestures are interpreted as reflecting a speech motor constraint involving either delayed or deviant control of functionally independent regions of the tongue. The limitations of the current EPG literature are stated, and the need for research into undifferentiated gestures in preschool children is discussed.

Acknowledgments
Part of the research was supported by externally funded research grants: Medical Research Council Grants G8912970N and G9117453N and an EEC funded grant (ACCOR, ESPRIT II-BRA framework, 3279). Thanks are due to Bill Hardcastle, Hilary Dent, and Katerina Nicolaidis who collaborated on these projects, and to Wilf Jones who designed the EPG3 system and provided technical support. This article is based in part on a PhD thesis entitled Lingual Articulation in Children With Developmental Speech Disorders,Gibbon (1998) . I thank Bill Hardcastle, Nigel Hewlett, Martha Pennington, Daphne Waters, and Jocelynne Watson for insightful comments on early drafts of the thesis.
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