Posterior Pharyngeal Wall Position in the Production of Speech The posterior pharyngeal wall has been assumed to be stationary during speech. The present study examines this assumption in order to assess whether midsagittal widths in the pharyngeal region can be inferred from measurements of the anterior pharyngeal wall. Midsagittal magnetic resonance images and X-ray images were examined to determine ... Research Note
Research Note  |   February 01, 2003
Posterior Pharyngeal Wall Position in the Production of Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Harriet S. Magen, PhD
    Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT and Rhode Island College Providence
  • A. Min Kang
    Haskins Laboratories and Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Mark K. Tiede
    Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • D. H. Whalen
    Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT
  • Contact author: Harriet S. Magen, PhD, Haskins Laboratories, 270 Crown St., New Haven, CT 06511.
    Contact author: Harriet S. Magen, PhD, Haskins Laboratories, 270 Crown St., New Haven, CT 06511.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: hmagen@ric.edu
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Note
Research Note   |   February 01, 2003
Posterior Pharyngeal Wall Position in the Production of Speech
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2003, Vol. 46, 241-251. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/019)
History: Received June 13, 2002 , Accepted August 7, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2003, Vol. 46, 241-251. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/019)
History: Received June 13, 2002; Accepted August 7, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 8

The posterior pharyngeal wall has been assumed to be stationary during speech. The present study examines this assumption in order to assess whether midsagittal widths in the pharyngeal region can be inferred from measurements of the anterior pharyngeal wall. Midsagittal magnetic resonance images and X-ray images were examined to determine whether the posterior pharyngeal wall from the upper oropharynx to the upper laryngopharynx shows anterior movement that can be attributed to variables in speech: vowel quality in both English and Japanese; vowels versus consonants as classes of speech sounds; sustained versus dynamically produced speech; and isolated words versus sentences. Measurements were made of the distance between the anterior portion of the vertebral body and the pharyngeal wall. The first measurement was on a line traversing the junction between the dens and the body of the second cervical vertebra (C2). The next three measurements were on lines at the inferior borders of the bodies of C2, C3, and C4. The measurements showed very little movement of the posterior pharyngeal wall, none of it attributable to speech variables. Therefore, the position of the posterior pharyngeal wall in this region can be eliminated as a variable, and the anterior portion of the pharynx alone can be used to estimate vocal cavities.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by NIH Grant DC-02717. The first author (HSM) was partially supported by an award from the Rhode Island College Faculty Research Council. Japanese MRI data were collected with the support of the ATR Human Information Processing Laboratories. We are grateful to Khalil Iskarous for technical assistance at Haskins Laboratories and Matthew Richardson for helpful discussions on statistics. Portions of this research were presented at the 142nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, December 2001, in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
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