Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research | VOL. 65
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A Cross-Sectional Age Group Study of Coarticulatory Resistance: The Case of Late-Acquired Voiceless Fricatives in English

Publication Date Sep 12, 2022

Abstract

Purpose: As a class, fricatives are more “resistant” to consonant–vowel coarticulation than other English sounds. This study investigates the relative coarticulatory resistance of /θ, s, ʃ/ in child and adult speech to better understand the acquisition of individuated speech sounds. Method: Ten 5-year-old children, seven 8-year-old children, and nine college-age adults produced [əFV] sequences in carrier phrases, where F was /θ/, /s/, or /ʃ/ and V was /æ/, /i/, or /u/. In Experiment 1, coarticulation was perceptually indexed: 65 adults predicted the target stressed vowel based on forward-gated audiovisual speech samples for a subset of four speakers from each age group. In Experiment 2, dynamic spectral measures of the /əFV/ sequences were analyzed using smoothing spline analysis of variance to again test for vowel effects on fricative articulation across age groups. Results: The perceptual results indicated that fricatives blocked vowel–vowel coarticulation across speaker age groups. Contrary to expectation, vowels were most accurately predicted when F was /s/ and not when it was /ʃ/ or /θ/ across age groups. Acoustic results indicated the expected biomechanically motivated /ʃ/ > /s/ > /θ/ coarticulatory resistance hierarchy in adults' speech. By contrast, /ʃ/ > /s/ were similarly influenced by context in 8-year-olds' speech, and the results from 5-year-olds' speech suggested an influence of order of...

Concepts

Smoothing Spline Analysis Of Variance Coarticulatory Resistance Fricatives In English Age Groups Fricative Articulation Vowel Coarticulation Carrier Phrases English Sounds Perceptual Results Biomechanical Constraints

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