Variability in /s/ Production in Children and Adults Evidence From Dynamic Measures of Spectral Mean Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2004
Variability in /s/ Production in Children and Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Benjamin Munson
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Contact author: Benjamin Munson, PhD, Department of Communication Disorders, University of Minnesota, 115 Shevlin Hall, 164 Pillsbury Drive, SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: munso005@umn.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / International & Global / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2004
Variability in /s/ Production in Children and Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2004, Vol. 47, 58-69. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/006)
History: Received February 15, 2003 , Accepted June 4, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2004, Vol. 47, 58-69. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/006)
History: Received February 15, 2003; Accepted June 4, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 22

Previous research has found developmental decreases in temporal variability in speech. Relatively less work has examined spectral variability, and, in particular, variability in consonant spectra. This article examined variability in productions of the consonant /s/ by adults and by 3 groups of children, with mean ages of 3;11 (years;months), 5;04, and 8;04. Specifically, it measured the influence of age, phonetic context, and syllabic context on variability. Spectral variability was estimated by measuring dynamic spectral characteristics of multiple productions of /s/ in sV, spV, and swV sequences, where the vowel was either /a/ or /u/. Mean duration, variability in duration, and coarticulation were also measured. Children were found to produce /s/ with greater temporal and spectral variability than adults. Duration and coarticulation were comparable across the 4 age groups. Spectral variability was greater in swV contexts than in sV or spV sequences. The lack of consistent effects of phonetic context on spectral variability suggests that the developmental differences were related to subtle variability in place of articulation for /s/ in the children's productions.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Research, Scholarship, and Artistry to the author from the University of Minnesota Graduate School, and by laboratory set-up funds from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts. I acknowledge the University of Minnesota Child Care Center for allowing collection of data at their facility. I gratefully acknowledge Cyndie Swenson and Shayla Manthei for assistance in data collection, and Edward Carney for helping to develop to the WSAR measure of spectral variability. Portions of this work were presented at the spring 2002 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. I acknowledge participants at that conference for their helpful feedback. As always, generous acknowledgment is given to Pauline Welby for assistance in writing the Praat scripts to automate data analyses.
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