An ultrasound study of lingual coarticulation in children and adults

Lead Research Organisation: Queen Margaret University Edinburgh
Department Name: Clinical Audiology Speech &Lang Res Cen

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications

10 25 50

publication icon
Zharkova N (2008) An ultrasound study of lingual coarticulation in children and adults in R. Sock, S. Fuchs & Y. Laprie (Eds), Proceedings of the 8th International Seminar on Speech Production 2008, Strasbourg, France, 8-12 December 2008

publication icon
Zharkova N (2013) Using ultrasound to quantify tongue shape and movement characteristics. in The Cleft palate-craniofacial journal : official publication of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association

 
Description In the comparison of anticipatory lingual coarticulation across age groups, consonant-specific differences were reported in vowel-on-consonant coarticulation. Specifically, the postalveolar fricative was coarticulated more in the children than in the adults, while the alveolar fricative did not show evidence of coarticulation in the children. These findings suggest that developmental shifts in the degree of coarticulation of individual speech sounds may be affected by changes in articulatory constraints on the tongue with age.

The results also showed that adults and children differ in the degree of individual variability in coarticulatory patterns, children being more variable than adults. The strong within-speaker variability may be because the children are still in the process of tuning their speech production system to the adult-like degree of trade-off between speed of tongue movement, speech timing and amount of tongue travel.
Exploitation Route - The database collected during the project is available to academics and students upon request
- The methodology of recording and analysing tongue movement data from children can be used in further studies
- The results on consonant-specific coarticulation, as well as on age-related differences in variability, can be drawn upon in further studies of speech motor control development
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Healthcare

 
Title R script for calculating Nearest Neighbour distances between tongue curves 
Description The R script, written by Natalia Zharkova in 2014, implements in R the method of quantitative ultrasound tongue data analysis, described in Zharkova & Hewlett (2009, Journal of Phonetics). The method makes it possible to quantitatively compare sets tongue curves and to establish whether the two sets are significantly different from each other, and how different. The method has been used in several publications funded by a succession of ESRC grants to Natalia Zharkova (e.g., Zharkova et al. 2011 Motor Control, 2012 JIPA, 2014 JSLHR). The reference to R is as follows: R Development Core Team. R: a language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing; 2011. Available at http://www.R-project.org. Accessed June 1, 2012. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The script has been requested by academics and students from Queen Margaret University, the University of Glasgow, Universidade Estadual Paulista (Brazil), Yale University (New Haven, USA), Tokyo Dental College (Tokyo, Japan), University of Cincinnati (Ohio, USA), Royal Holloway University of London. 
URL http://edata.qmu.ac.uk/20/
 
Title An ultrasound/acoustic database of lingual articulation in children and adults 
Description The database consists of synchronised ultrasound (30 Hz) and acoustic data of 11 children (aged between 6 and 9 years old) and 11 adults, all speakers of Scottish Standard English. The database has isolated sentences, with six different target consonant-vowel syllables. The database is stored in the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre at Queen Margaret University, and it is freely available to potential users on request. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact In future research projects, the database could be used to address further aspects of coarticulation development and other linguistic phonetic questions. The database can be used for university teaching, and it has already been used for BSc honours project student work. 
 
Description Conference poster (London), Development of segment-specific coarticulation: an ultrasound study 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Poster by Natalia Zharkova at the British Association of Academic Phoneticians Colloquium, London, 29-31 March 2010.

Based on this work, Natalia Zharkova was invited in 2012 by Prof Jonathan Harrington to visit the Institute of Phonetics, Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich, Germany. The purpose of the visit was to give a talk and to share experience in methodology of recording ultrasound tongue images in children.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Conference poster (New Haven, USA), Consonant-specific coarticulation in children and adults 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Poster by Natalia Zharkova at Ultrafest V (Ultrasound meeting), Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT, USA, 17-19 March 2010.

This poster led to email requests of information from US-based researchers involved in projects on speech motor control in children.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Conference poster (Strasbourg, France), An ultrasound study of lingual coarticulation in children and adults 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A poster by Natalia Zharkova, Nigel Hewlett and William Hardcastle at the 8th International Seminar on Speech Production 2008, Strasbourg, France, 8-12 December 2008.

Comments to this poster from the conference delegates led to the development of an ESRC grant proposal (successful, ES/H043349/1, PI Natalia Zharkova), with the long-term practical aim of gaining information that could be used for diagnosing speech motor problems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Conference talk (Edinburgh), An ultrasound investigation of segment-specific articulatory patterns in adults and typically developing children 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A talk by Natalia Zharkova at the British Association of Clinical Linguistics Colloquium, Edinburgh, UK, 11-12 January 2010.

The comments and questions after this talk informed the work on a subsequent ESRC grant (ES/H043349/1, PI Natalia Zharkova), with the long-term aim of gaining information that could be used for diagnosing speech motor problems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Conference talk (London), An acoustic and articulatory investigation of high vowels in Scottish English children and adults 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A talk by Natalia Zharkova and Robin Lickley at the British Association of Academic Phoneticians Colloquium, London, 29-31 March 2010.

The work presented in this talk led to the development of an idea for an MSc research project at Queen Margaret University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Conference talk (Vancouver, Canada), Analysing coarticulation in Scottish English children and adults: an ultrasound study 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A talk by Natalia Zharkova, Nigel Hewlett and William Hardcastle at the special session on Speech Production and Speech Disorders, Acoustics Week in Canada (the annual conference of the Canadian Acoustical Association), Vancouver, Canada, 6-8 October 2008.

This talk contributed to making the work of the team known in the clinical linguistic community in Canada.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Invited talk (Cork, Republic of Ireland), Ultrasound imaging of the tongue as a method for analysing speech development in children 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Invited talk by Natalia Zharkova at the Research Seminar, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University College Cork, 9 June 2009.

The discussion that followed this talk led to the following collaborative work:
- a publication: Lee, A., Zharkova, N. & Gibbon, F. (2013). Vowel imaging. In M. Ball & F. Gibbon (Eds), Handbook of Vowels and Vowel Disorders. 2nd edition. Hove: Psychology Press. Pp. 138-159
- a successful ESRC grant proposal (ES/K002597/1), PI Dr Natalia Zharkova, Co-I from University College Cork Prof Fiona Gibbon
- a research visit by Dr Alice Lee from University College Cork to Queen Margaret University, for ultrasound training provided by Natalia Zharkova (see a separate entry for this visit, under "Awards and Recognition")
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Invited talk (Oslo, Norway), Coarticulation and motor control in typically developing Scottish English children: an ultrasound study of tongue movements 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Invited talk by Natalia Zharkova at the meeting of the Research Group in Clinical Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, University of Oslo, 26 February 2009. In addition, Natalia Zharkova ran a one and a half day workshop on using ultrasound for speech research.

During this visit, Natalia Zharkova shared information on the up-to-date results from ESRC project ES/F040598/1 on speech motor control in children, and also experience with the methodological aspects of recording and analysing tongue movements. During the training, the ultrasound scanner used was the machine recently acquired by the Department of Linguistics at the University of Oslo for potential research projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description Seminar talk (Edinburgh), Acquisition of coarticulation in typically developing children: ultrasound evidence 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A talk by Natalia Zharkova, Nigel Hewlett and William Hardcastle at the Speech and Hearing Sciences Research Seminar 2008-2009, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, on 3 December 2008.

Discussions after this talk led to formulating new ideas for postgraduate and undergraduate research student projects.
Work presented in this talk provided a basis for new applications for clinically oriented research grants by colleagues in the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre and at the University of Edinburgh (e.g., Ultrax Project, funded by the EPSRC, 2011-2014)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Seminar talk (Edinburgh), Ways to compare coarticulation in children and adults from ultrasound data 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A talk by Natalia Zharkova, Nigel Hewlett and William Hardcastle at the Phonetics/Phonology Workshop and Centre for Speech Technology Research Seminar 2008-2009, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, on 20 January 2009.

Discussions after this talk led to formulating new ideas for postgraduate and undergraduate research student projects, as well as ideas for improving existing methods of analysing tongue curves to achieve clinically relevant results.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
URL http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/events/pworkshop/sem_2_2008_2009.shtml
 
Description Workshop for schoolchildren (Kirkcaldy) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact As a part of Madskillz workshop for children within Magnifi-Science learning festival in Kirkcaldy (Fife), James Scobbie and Natalia Zharkova gave presentations to several groups of children, using portable ultrasound scanners. Participants could see beatboxers' tongue movements in real time, and they also had a chance to observe their own articulations.

The event had very positive feedback from children, teachers and parents. Some parents whose children had experience of attending traditional speech therapy sessions claimed that ultrasound could have benefitted their children, by providing direct visual feedback on their articulations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009