Acoustic Characteristics of the Question-Statement Contrast in Severe Dysarthria Due to Cerebral Palsy Studies of prosodic control in severe dysarthria (DYS) have focused on differences between impaired and nonimpaired speech in terms of the range and variation of fundamental frequency (F0), intensity, and duration. Whether individuals with severe DYS can adequately signal prosodic contrasts and which acoustic cues they use to do so ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2003
Acoustic Characteristics of the Question-Statement Contrast in Severe Dysarthria Due to Cerebral Palsy
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rupal Patel
    Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Contact author: Rupal Patel, PhD, 360 Huntington Avenue, #102 Forysth Building, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail: r.patel@neu.edu
  • Currently at Northeastern University, Boston
    Currently at Northeastern University, Boston×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2003
Acoustic Characteristics of the Question-Statement Contrast in Severe Dysarthria Due to Cerebral Palsy
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2003, Vol. 46, 1401-1415. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/109)
History: Received March 27, 2003 , Accepted April 30, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2003, Vol. 46, 1401-1415. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/109)
History: Received March 27, 2003; Accepted April 30, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 24

Studies of prosodic control in severe dysarthria (DYS) have focused on differences between impaired and nonimpaired speech in terms of the range and variation of fundamental frequency (F0), intensity, and duration. Whether individuals with severe DYS can adequately signal prosodic contrasts and which acoustic cues they use to do so has received far less attention. This article focused on the question-statement contrast. In nonimpaired speech, this contrast is believed to be cued primarily by F0, although some researchers have argued that duration also plays a role. This study examined how 8 speakers with severe DYS due to cerebral palsy signaled the question-statement contrast for a set of 10 short phrases. An additional 8 healthy controls (HCs) produced the same set of phrases as questions and statements. To analyze the speech recordings, peak F0 (F0peak), average F0 (F0ave), slope of F0 (F0slope), peak intensity (INTpeak), average intensity (INTave), slope of intensity (INTslope), and duration measures were calculated for each syllable (S1, S2, S3) within each phrase. Acoustic analyses revealed that speakers with DYS and HCs used F0, duration, and to a lesser degree, intensity cues to signal the contrast. Moreover, productions by speakers with DYS had longer and louder S3 for questions compared to productions by HCs, suggesting that speakers with DYS may have been compensating for their reduced ability to control F0 by exploiting their residual control of loudness and duration. Data from a previous perceptual study (R. Patel, 2002b) with the same speakers with DYS were used to analyze the relationship between acoustic characteristics and listener perceptions of their productions. Logistic regression analysis revealed that S1_F0ave; S2_duration; and S3_duration, S3_F0peak, S3_F0slope, S3_INTave, and S3_INTslope were significant predictors of the perceived prosodic contrast. Identifying acoustic consistencies in prosodic control among speakers with DYS provides the impetus to build vocalization recognition algorithms that are capable of processing dysarthric speech for use in assistive communication aids. These findings suggest that speakers with DYS may also benefit from intervention aimed at improving prosodic control such that these contrasts may be exploited for communication.

Acknowledgment
This research was conducted in the Speech Communication Group at the Research Laboratory of Electronics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Teachers College, Columbia University. I am grateful to Kenneth Stevens and Stephanie Shattuck-Hufnagel for their invaluable input. I would especially like to thank Deb Roy and Howard Cabral for their contributions to the acoustic and statistical analyses. In addition, this study would not have been possible without the involvement of the participants. This material is based on work supported by National Science Foundation Grant 0083032.
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