Article  |   August 2010
Intonation Contrast in Cantonese Speakers With Hypokinetic Dysarthria Associated With Parkinson’s Disease
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joan K.-Y. Ma
    Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany
  • Tara L. Whitehill
    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong-SAR-China
  • Susanne Y.-S. So
    University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong-SAR-China
  • Contact author: Joan K.-Y. Ma, who is now with the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University Drive, Musselburgh EH21 6UU, United Kingdom. E-mail: jma@qmu.ac.uk.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Dysarthria / Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Older Adults & Aging / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   August 2010
Intonation Contrast in Cantonese Speakers With Hypokinetic Dysarthria Associated With Parkinson’s Disease
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 836-849. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0216)
History: Received October 20, 2008 , Revised June 10, 2009 , Accepted October 26, 2009
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2010, Vol. 53, 836-849. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0216)
History: Received October 20, 2008; Revised June 10, 2009; Accepted October 26, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose: Speech produced by individuals with hypokinetic dysarthria associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by a number of features including impaired speech prosody. The purpose of this study was to investigate intonation contrasts produced by this group of speakers.

Method: Speech materials with a question–statement contrast were collected from 14 Cantonese speakers with PD. Twenty listeners then classified the productions as either questions or statements. Acoustic analyses of F0, duration, and intensity were conducted to determine which acoustic cues distinguished the production of questions from statements, and which cues appeared to be exploited by listeners in identifying intonational contrasts.

Results: The results show that listeners identified statements with a high degree of accuracy, but the accuracy of question identification ranged from 0.56% to 96% across the 14 speakers. The speakers with PD used similar acoustic cues as nondysarthric Cantonese speakers to mark the question–statement contrast, although the contrasts were not observed in all speakers. Listeners mainly used F0 cues at the final syllable for intonation identification.

Conclusion: These data contribute to the researchers' understanding of intonation marking in speakers with PD, with specific application to the production and perception of intonation in a lexical tone language.

Acknowledgments
This study was based on an undergraduate dissertation conducted by the third author, under the supervision of the first and second authors. We gratefully acknowledge the participation of the speakers and listeners in the present study. We thank Lorinda Kwan and the Hong Kong Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (particularly Tsoi Tak Hong and S. L. Ho) for their assistance with subject referral. We are grateful to Katherine Cheung for her help in data collection and reliability check and to Diana Ho for her assistance with the intelligibility rating. We would also like to thank Valter Ciocca for his previous contributions to the analyses and approaches used in this study.
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