Control of Voice-Onset Time in the Absence of Hearing A Review Research Note
Research Note  |   December 01, 2005
Control of Voice-Onset Time in the Absence of Hearing
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Harlan Lane
    Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and the Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • Joseph S. Perkell
    Research Laboratory of Electronics and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: lane@neu.edu
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Note
Research Note   |   December 01, 2005
Control of Voice-Onset Time in the Absence of Hearing
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2005, Vol. 48, 1334-1343. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/093)
History: Received August 30, 2004 , Revised December 22, 2004 , Accepted April 19, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2005, Vol. 48, 1334-1343. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/093)
History: Received August 30, 2004; Revised December 22, 2004; Accepted April 19, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

The relation between partial or absent hearing and control of the voicing contrast has long been of interest to investigators, in part because speakers who are born deaf characteristically have great difficulty mastering the contrast and in part for the light it can cast on the role of hearing in the acquisition and maintenance of phonological contrasts in general. One of the phonetic characteristics that distinguish voiced from voiceless plosives in English (p/b, t/d, k/g) is voice onset time (VOT): the interval from plosive release to the onset of voicing of the following vowel. This article first reviews research on VOT anomalies in the speech production of prelingually and postlingually deaf speakers. Then it turns to studies of the mechanisms in speech breathing, phonation and articulation that underlie those anomalies. In both populations of speakers, there is a tendency for the difference between voiced and voiceless VOT to be reduced, to the point for many speakers that there is in effect a substitution of the voiced for the voiceless cognate. The separation of the cognate VOTs can be enhanced when some hearing is restored with a cochlear implant. Both populations also present anomalies in speech breathing that can hinder the development of intraoral pressures and transglottal pressure drops that are required for the production of the VOT contrast. Its successful management further requires critical timing among phonatory and articulatory gestures, most of which are not visible, rendering the VOT contrast a particular challenge in the absence of hearing.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported by Grant No. DC003007 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. This paper was presented initially as an invited talk in a special session, “Speech Communication: Forty Years of VOT,” honoring Arthur Abramson and Leigh Lisker at the 147th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, New York, May 25, 2004.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access