The Intonation–Syntax Interface in the Speech of Individuals With Parkinson’s Disease PurposeThis study examined the effect of Parkinson’s disease (PD) on the intonational marking of final and nonfinal syntactic boundaries and investigated whether the effect of PD on intonation was sex specific.MethodEight women and 8 men with PD and 16 age- and sex-matched control participants read a passage at comfortable pitch, ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2011
The Intonation–Syntax Interface in the Speech of Individuals With Parkinson’s Disease
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Megan K. MacPherson
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Jessica E. Huber
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • David P. Snow
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Contact author: Jessica E. Huber, Purdue University, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, 1353 Heavilon Hall, 500 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2038. E-mail: jhuber@purdue.edu.
Article Information
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   February 01, 2011
The Intonation–Syntax Interface in the Speech of Individuals With Parkinson’s Disease
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2011, Vol. 54, 19-32. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0079)
History: Received April 27, 2009 , Revised December 20, 2009 , Accepted July 28, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2011, Vol. 54, 19-32. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0079)
History: Received April 27, 2009; Revised December 20, 2009; Accepted July 28, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

PurposeThis study examined the effect of Parkinson’s disease (PD) on the intonational marking of final and nonfinal syntactic boundaries and investigated whether the effect of PD on intonation was sex specific.

MethodEight women and 8 men with PD and 16 age- and sex-matched control participants read a passage at comfortable pitch, rate, and loudness. Nuclear tones from final and nonfinal syntactic boundaries in clauses and lists were extracted. Measures of fundamental frequency (F0) were made on each tone contour.

ResultsIndividuals with PD demonstrated impaired differentiation of syntactic boundary finality/nonfinality with contour direction. They produced a lower proportion of falling contours in final boundaries and a higher proportion of falling contours in nonfinal boundaries than did control participants. Although not mediated by syntax, the effect of PD on F0 standard deviation (F0 SD) and pitch range in semitones (PRST) was sex specific. Women with PD produced greater F0 SD and PRST than did men with PD and women without PD. Men with PD produced lower PRST than did men without PD.

ConclusionsImpaired intonational marking of syntactic boundaries likely contributes to dysprosody and reduced communicative effectiveness in PD. The effect of PD on intonation was sex specific. The results are not fully explained by PD-related motor execution impairments.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by NIDCD Grant R03DC05731 and by a Research Support Incentive Grant from the Center on Aging and the Life Course at Purdue University. The first author was supported by NIDCD Predoctoral Fellowship T32DC00030 and by a Lynn Fellowship from Purdue University during the completion of this study. This content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), the National Institutes of Health, or Purdue University.
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