Nasal Coarticulation in Normal Speakers A Re-Examination of the Effects of Gender Research Note
Research Note  |   June 01, 1998
Nasal Coarticulation in Normal Speakers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • David J. Zajac
    University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Robert Mayo
    University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Ryuta Kataoka
    University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Contact author: David J. Zajac, PhD, Department of Dental Ecology, Craniofacial Center, CB# 7450, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Email: david_zajac@dentistry.unc.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Note
Research Note   |   June 01, 1998
Nasal Coarticulation in Normal Speakers
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 503-510. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.503
History: Received April 22, 1997 , Accepted January 27, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1998, Vol. 41, 503-510. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4103.503
History: Received April 22, 1997; Accepted January 27, 1998

The purpose of this study was to re-examine the influence of gender on nasal coarticulation in normal speakers. Twenty adult speakers (10 men, 10 women) produced the vowel-nasal-vowel (VNV) sequence /ini/ within a carrier phrase using two stress patterns: (1) with equal stress placed on both syllables, and (2) with contrastive stress placed on the second syllable. A partitioned, circumferentially vented pneumotachograph mask and microphone were used to determine nasal airflow, ratios of nasal to oral-plus-nasal airflow, and sound pressure levels (SPLs) at the midpoints of the first and second vowels of the syllables. Volume ratios of nasal to oral-plus-nasal airflow that reflected the entire duration of the vowels were also obtained. Results indicated that all speakers except 1 woman exhibited nasal airflow at the midpoint of the first vowel when /ini/ was produced with equal stress; all speakers exhibited carryover nasal airflow during the second vowel. During contrastive stress, all speakers except 1 woman and 1 additional man exhibited anticipatory nasal airflow; all speakers exhibited carryover nasal airflow. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedures with repeated measures indicated significant main effects of syllable stress (p < 0.001) relative to nasal airflow and ratios of nasal to oral-plus-nasal airflow. Regardless of the gender of the speakers, syllable stress resulted in reduced anticipatory and carryover nasal airflow during the first and second vowels of /ini/, respectively. The results suggest that (a) both men and women adhere to similar patterns of velar articulation, and (b) velopharyngeal closure during the vowel /i/ may be enhanced during stressed syllables. Implications relative to aspects of speech production and clinical practice are discussed.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by grant R29-DE10175 from the National Institute of Dental Research. We would like to thank Richard Lutz for assistance with the PERCI-SARS hardware and software system and Chip Gerfen for assis-tance with the spectrographic analysis procedures. We also thank Nicholas Schiavetti, Nancy Pearl Solomon, John Westbury, and an anonymous reviewer for their comments on the manuscript.
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