Velopharyngeal Closure Force and Levator Veli Palatini Activation Levels in Varying Phonetic Contexts The purpose of this study was to measure velopharyngeal closure force in varying phonetic contexts for normal men and women subjects. Levator veli palatini muscle activity was measured as well. Place and manner of articulation, voicing, and the effects of consonant sequencing were studied in different vowel contexts. When the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 1998
Velopharyngeal Closure Force and Levator Veli Palatini Activation Levels in Varying Phonetic Contexts
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David P. Kuehn
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Jerald B. Moon
    University of Iowa Iowa City
  • Contact author: David P. Kuehn, PhD, Department of Speech and Hearing Science, University of Illinois, 901 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6206
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 1998
Velopharyngeal Closure Force and Levator Veli Palatini Activation Levels in Varying Phonetic Contexts
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1998, Vol. 41, 51-62. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4101.51
History: Received January 22, 1997 , Accepted October 6, 1997
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1998, Vol. 41, 51-62. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4101.51
History: Received January 22, 1997; Accepted October 6, 1997

The purpose of this study was to measure velopharyngeal closure force in varying phonetic contexts for normal men and women subjects. Levator veli palatini muscle activity was measured as well. Place and manner of articulation, voicing, and the effects of consonant sequencing were studied in different vowel contexts. When the data were grouped by sex of subject, no differences were found in absolute values of velopharyngeal closure force for the men versus women subjects. As expected, nonnasal consonants were produced with greater velopharyngeal closure force than nasal consonants. High vowels were produced with greater closure force than low vowels. Closure force was greater for voiceless than for voiced consonants but only for the men and only within /i/ and /u/ contexts. The lingua-dorsal consonant was associated with greater closure force than the lingua-apical consonant but only for the men and only in the high-back vowel environment. Significant differences in closure force were not found between fricatives or stops. A tendency for greater closure force for the fricative consonant was observed when the fricative followed rather than preceded the nasal consonant. Vowel identity had an effect on closure force during consonant production in the men in that closure force was greater for /s/ and /n/ in high versus low vowel contexts. Men exhibited a larger number of significant differences in closure force than did the women. The results suggest that velopharyngeal closure force is not controlled by a single muscle (the levator veli palatini) but that other muscles and mechanical factors are likely contributors.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported in part by PHS Research Grants DC-00976 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and DE-10436 from the National Institute of Dental Research. We would like to acknowledge the statistical support of the Biostatistics Core of the National Center for Voice and Speech and Wendy Edwards for her assistance in data analysis and graphics.
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