Coarticulation and tongue differentiation in children between three and thirteen years old

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

Abstract

When children learn to speak, by the age of three years old they typically produce most vowels and consonants correctly. However many details, particularly those concerned with complex variations of speech sound production in words and sentences (or coarticulation), continue to develop during childhood. An example of coarticulation is the difference between two realisations of the consonant /s/, in the words "sea" and "saw", which arises from the influence of the following vowel. Understanding of coarticulatory processes and the constraints on them (for example the ability to differentiate between parts of the tongue, addressed in this project) is fundamental to our knowledge of the general processes of speech motor control. There are a number of applications of this knowledge, particularly for theories of child development, and also for assessment and treatment of speech disorders. Much remains unknown on the precise course of the development of tongue control during childhood. This project will investigate speech motor skills maturation, by collecting and analysing ultrasound imaging data on tongue position and shape in speech, in six age groups between 3 and 13 years old.

The study will provide data on lingual coarticulatory patterns with limits of variation acceptable for children and adolescents with non-disordered speech motor skills. Ultrasound tongue imaging is a safe and non-invasive technique, and it produces information about the shape of most of the midsagittal tongue contour, including the root of the tongue. The project will build on previous ESRC-funded studies carried out by the lead applicant, where productions of children, preadolescents and adults were compared, but age groups were not as tightly defined as in the proposed study. In the new project, we will focus on the subtle developmental changes which our previous research has suggested are likely to be found during childhood. The recording and analysis protocol has been refined in previous studies, and a method of comparing tongue curves was developed, which does not require head-to-transducer stabilisation, and thus enables us to analyse data from 3- and 5-year-olds. In the course of the project, this method will be validated, and will be available for future studies.

Based on the results of the study, we will propose a theoretical view on the role of tongue constraints in the development of coarticulation. The database collected in the project will be a resource for addressing further aspects of coarticulation development and other linguistic phonetic questions. The results will be disseminated at international and UK conferences and seminars, including a two-day international symposium on coarticulation development, which will be organised in Edinburgh during the project. The database of synchronised ultrasound and acoustic data will be made available to researchers, university students and non-academic professionals. Articles will be submitted for publication in international peer-reviewed journals, continuing a successful and influential thread of research. For engaging with potential participants, a research information day will be held at the onset of the project, to introduce children and their parents and carers to the experimental technique. At the end of the project, another research information day will be organised for the project participants, university students and professionals, to discuss the results of the project. The use of ultrasound scanners for imaging and interpreting tongue movements will be demonstrated, and potential applications to therapy and language teaching will be discussed. Two study days for speech and language therapists will be held throughout the project, as well as a clinically oriented workshop within the international symposium. The results will be disseminated via a dedicated website, electronic newsletters, and through publishing in professional journals and popular magazines read by the general public.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit?
- undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students in speech and language therapy, audiology, general linguistics, speech technology, and other disciplines related to speech and/or human anatomy
- speech and language therapists
- developmental psychologists
- language teachers

How will they benefit?
- University students will learn more about the typical development of speech motor control. The ultrasound and acoustic database will be demonstrated during research information days and at the international symposium, and students will be encouraged to use it for their research projects. Attending oral and poster sessions at the international symposium will also be beneficial for the students.
- Speech and language therapists (SLTs) will be able to use the data on typical articulatory variability as a baseline for assessment. The skills in using ultrasound for analysing speech will be useful for gaining more understanding about the benefits of using visual feedback of tongue movements, even where the technology is not yet available for implementing ultrasound in speech therapy practice.
- Developmental psychologists will further their understanding of how children acquire adult-like speech motor control, and of the limits of variation acceptable for children with non-disordered speech motor skills between 3 and 13 years old, with two-year intervals between age groups.
- It will be of benefit to language teachers to learn how articulatory information from ultrasound tongue images can be used in the school or university classroom for teaching foreign language phonetics and understanding the structure of the native language. A short film made during the project will be available for showing to language students in the classroom.

What will be done to ensure they benefit?
- During the project, we will host two research information days for the project participants, also targeted at university students, speech and language therapists, developmental psychologists and language teachers (see Pathways to Impact for more details). The days will also be open to the general public, and advertised in the speech and language therapist communities and at different universities.
- Two study days for SLTs will be organised at QMU during the project, in collaboration with other research projects currently running in the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre. Additionally, within the two-day international symposium organised at QMU (see Academic Beneficiaries for more details), a satellite workshop on application of ultrasound to clinical practice will be held for SLTs. The workshop will also be organised jointly with colleagues from the CASL Research Centre. During these events, members of the team will demonstrate the use of ultrasound to assess tongue control in children and adults. Results from the project will be presented, and practical ways of implementing our measures in the clinic will be discussed with the participants.
- A short film will be made about the project, summarising the results and outlining the benefits of the ultrasound technology for speech therapy and language teaching.
- The project mini-website will have a section written in a style accessible to the general public, summarising project aims and outcomes, as well as specific benefits of the ultrasound technology to potential users.
- The outputs of the project will be communicated by publishing in professional magazines (e.g. the Bulletin of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists) and newsletters, special newspapers, and popular magazines read by the general public. As in the past, the Press Office at QMU will provide assistance in contacts with the media.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This was the first study to provide articulatory and acoustic data on the maturation of lingual coarticulatory patterns and tongue differentiation from the age of 3 years old to early adolescence. The database collected in the study is a resource that can be used for addressing various linguistic phonetic questions.

The methodology of quantitative ultrasound analysis of lingual coarticulation based on recordings without head-to-transducer stabilisation has been validated, and it has been successfully applied in recordings of young children. The study has improved methods of analysing lingual articulation, drawing on the results of our earlier ESRC-funded investigations of speech motor control in children. Specifically, during the project a new index for measuring tongue shape was introduced, called LOCa-i. As part of the study, several measures of tongue shape were compared, and this index was found to be the most robust across speech sounds, consistently producing the same results for all consonants tested, regardless of whether the participant's head was stabilised in relation to the ultrasound transducer.

New knowledge has been generated on lingual coarticulation development in children. The study focussed on the role of articulatory constraints in the development of consonant-specific coarticulation. It was demonstrated that children gradually develop adult-like characteristics, and the extent of variability reduces with increasing age. Segment-specific constraints typical of adult speech were observed to some extent in both younger and older children, though there were age-related differences in consonant-specific coarticulation. All speakers had vowel-related effects on the consonant /p/, which does not involve the tongue as the primary articulator. Lingual consonants however showed progressively more evidence of vowel-on-consonant coarticulation with increasing age, depending on the consonant production requirements. The reduced differentiation between parts of the tongue reported for the 3-year-old participants could account for the lack of certain aspects of vowel-on-consonant influence in that age group. The findings also suggest that up to the age of 11 years old, the goal of producing a perceptually appropriate consonant may limit the extent of vowel-related coarticulation.

Results of the study have been published in proceedings of two international conferences, as well as international peer-reviewed journals (Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 2015; 2017; Phonetica, 2018; Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 2018). The outcomes of the study open up new possibilities for us to further investigate speech dynamics in children, building on the project results; our publications on this topic have appeared in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (2014) and the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (2016, 2018).

A long-term practical aim of the study was to gain information that would potentially be useful for diagnosing speech motor problems. Through the work on the project and through contacts with external speech and language therapists, it has been established that the methods of collecting and analysing data on lingual articulation that we developed and applied to children's speech have the potential to be used in clinical assessment, because they are suitable for use with young children and other vulnerable populations (see Zharkova et al., Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 2017). These methods are available for future studies involving participants with speech disorders.
Exploitation Route Our findings continue to stimulate new research on typical and disordered speech motor control in children and adults. The evidence of this influence to date comes from increasing numbers of references to our work in a wide range of international peer-reviewed journals in the fields of phonetics, clinical linguistics and speech technology (the titles that are not already mentioned below, or in the Narrative Impact section, include, for example, Journal of Phonetics; Phonetica; PLOS One; Infant Behavior and Development; Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics), as well as in completed PhD theses internationally (e.g, University of Zagreb; Queen Margaret University; University of Glasgow; The Ohio State University; University of Grenobles; University of Canterbury). The recording and analysis techniques developed by our team can be taken up in other research studies, as well as in undergraduate and postgraduate student research projects. Examples of external studies applying our methods of tongue curve analysis to typical adult speech are as follows: Carovic, PhD thesis, University of Zagreb, 2014; Rodríguez & Recasens, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 2017; Csapó et al., Ultrafest VIII international conference, 2017.

Our database of typical articulation in successive age groups during childhood has been used by the team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow) in an ongoing EPSRC-funded project, to advance articulatory tongue modelling in children (see Narrative Impact for more details). This example, as well as references to our work in technically oriented international peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Speech Communication; Computer Speech and Language), is a promising indication that the data generated in this project will continue to be used to address theoretical and applied issues related to human-machine interaction and artificial intelligence.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Healthcare

 
Description Methods of ultrasound recording and analysing child speech developed by the team have been adopted internationally in studies of delayed and disordered speech development in children. Two of those studies, carried out by different teams based in the United States (McAllister Byun et al., and Frisch et al.), appeared in 2016 in the special issue of Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, "Insights from ultrasound: Enhancing our understanding of clinical phonetics", co-edited by Dr Zharkova (see http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/02699206.2016.1139626). Another study using one of our analysis methods presented data on speech production in Italian speaking children who stutter (Lenocci & Ricci, 2017, Ultrafest VIII international conference). The dataset from the project, along with the datasets from two previous projects by our team, is currently used in an EPSRC-funded project, Ultrax 2020 (PI Prof Steve Renals, University of Edinburgh), for the purpose of achieving automated classification of tongue shapes for different speech sounds in school-aged children with speech disorders. Our findings have been used to provide education, information and training to speech and language therapists during the grant. Outcomes from the project have been disseminated to wide audiences of speech therapists through three different events that involved regional, national and international audiences: a workshop for clinicians run in collaboration with other researchers at Queen Margaret University as a satellite event after Ultrafest VI international conference in 2013, an invited presentation by Dr Natalia Zharkova at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists in London in 2014 (see http://archive.qmu.ac.uk/casl/ChildCoarticulation/slt.htm), and a presentation by Dr Zharkova to around 100 paediatric therapists from the Lothians area of Scotland in 2015. These events focussed on using ultrasound tongue imaging as a research and clinical tool for assessing speech motor control in children with language and speech disorders. Information obtained in the project was used for the demonstrations, particularly the data on lingual coarticulatory patterns with limits of variation acceptable for children between 3 and 13 years old with non-disordered speech motor skills. Dissemination of the knowledge to speech therapists has also continued through Dr Zharkova's continued membership of the invitation-only International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech (http://www.csu.edu.au/research/multilingual-speech/iepmcs), which aims to define international best practice guidelines and to identify practical pathways for improvement of international practices for working with multilingual children who have speech sound disorders. The latest publication by the Panel, entitled "Tutorial: Speech assessment for multilingual children who do not speak the same language(s) as the speech-language pathologist" (American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 2017; Open Access), cites our work funded by this ESRC grant (Zharkova, Gibbon & Hardcastle, 2015, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics). Our work has been increasingly cited in clinically oriented publications by external researchers in international peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Medical Image Analysis; Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research; American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology; Cleft Palate - Craniofacial Journal; Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics; Disability and Rehabilitation; Ear and Hearing; Journal of Communication Disorders; Journal of Visualized Experiments). Important steps towards directly helping children and adults with speech disorders have been taken through collaborative work with academic and clinical practitioner colleagues in the UK and abroad. This work has already led to Prof Gibbon's and Dr Zharkova's involvement as international consultants in a four-year research grant on typical and disordered coarticulation in Croatian speech, at the University of Zagreb, running between 2017 and 2021 (Principal Investigator Dr Marko Liker); see the project website here http://www.ffzg.unizg.hr/fonet/?page_id=2113. Dr Zharkova also acted as a consultant on a research grant from Action Medical Research on assessment and treatment of speech disorders in children with cleft lip and palate, at the University of Strathclyde (Principal Investigator Dr Joanne Cleland).
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
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 the extent of any difference. 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 a number of universities, including Queen Margaret University, the University of Glasgow, Universidade Estadual Paulista (Brazil), Yale University (New Haven, USA), Tokyo Dental College (Tokyo, Japan), Royal Holloway University of London, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Bozen-Bolzano, Italy), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), University of Strathclyde (Glasgow). The method has been applied to analysing typical and disordered speech in children and adults: in a study of speech production by American English speaking young adults who stutter and typically fluent adults (Frisch, S. A., Maxfield, N. & Belmont, A. 2016. Anticipatory coarticulation and stability of speech in typically fluent speakers and people who stutter. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 30, 277-291), and in a study of Italian speaking children who stutter and typically developing children (Lenocci, G. & Ricci, I. 2017. Coarticulation and stability of speech in Italian children who stutter and normally fluent children: an ultrasound study. Oral presentation at Ultrafest VIII, University of Potsdam, Germany, 4-6 October 2017). 
 
Title R script for calculating an index of tongue shape (LOCa-i) 
Description This index was developed with the aim to quantify vowel-related differences in consonant tongue shape (Zharkova, Gibbon & Hardcastle 2015, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics). It has been applied to study lingual coarticulation in typical adolescent speech (Zharkova, Gibbon & Hardcastle 2015) and child speech (Zharkova, Hardcastle, Gibbon & Lickley 2015, Proceedings of ICPhS; Zharkova, Gibbon & Lee 2017, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics; Zharkova 2017, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics; Zharkova 2018, Phonetica), as well as to describe articulatory characteristics of fricative consonants produced by adults and children (Zharkova 2016; Zharkova et al. 2018, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America). 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 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact In Zharkova, Gibbon & Hardcastle (2015), this index was shown to be more robust than several other measures of lingual coarticulation, and therefore more easily applicable to studying speech production in young children. In Zharkova, Gibbon & Lee (2017), this index was demonstrated to be useful for identifying covert contrasts in child speech. The index has been used in the following BSc Honours Project to quantify vowel-related coarticulatory effects on several consonants in adult speech: Womack, A. (2015). An investigation into the relationship between electropalatography and ultrasound using the vowels /a/ and /i/ in typical adult speakers. Unpublished BSc Honours Project, Queen Margaret University. The index has also been reported to robustly differentiate between lingual fricative consonants "s" and "sh" in English, in typical child and adult productions (Zharkova 2016; Zharkova et al. 2018, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America). 
 
Title R scripts for calculating two indices that quantify tongue dorsum activity (DEI and TCPI) 
Description The two indices, Dorsum Excursion Index (DEI) and Tongue Constraint Position Index (TCPI), were developed by Natalia Zharkova with the aim to quantify potential tongue dorsum overuse in speakers with cleft palate (Zharkova 2013, Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal). The indices have been validated on typical adult speech (Zharkova 2013, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics) and applied to typical child and adolescent speech (Zharkova, Lickley and Hardcastle 2014, Proceedings of ISSP; Zharkova 2016, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America; Zharkova et al. 2015, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics; Zharkova 2017, Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics). 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 indices have been requested by academics, practitioners and students from a number of countries, including from Queen Margaret University, the University of Glasgow, University College Cork (Cork, Republic of Ireland), the University of Toronto (Toronto, Canada), New York University (New York, USA), Universidade Estadual Paulista (Brazil), Yale University (New Haven, USA), University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA), Tokyo Dental College (Tokyo, Japan), Royal Holloway University of London, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Bozen-Bolzano, Italy), Linköping University (Linköping, Sweden), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), University of Strathclyde (Glasgow). The indices have been used in an ultrasound study of Croatian vowel system (Carovic, PhD thesis, University of Zagreb, 2014). DEI has been used to study typical and disordered productions of velar stop consonants by preschool children speaking American English (McAllister Byun, T., Buchwald, A. & Mizoguchi, A. 2016. Convert contrast in velar fronting: an acoustic and ultrasound study. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 30, 249-276). DEI was also used in a research project funded by Action Medical Research, for quantifying tongue shape in the speech produced by children with cleft lip and palate ("Visualising speech: ultrasound assessment and speech therapy for children with cleft lip and palate"; University of Strathclyde, PI Dr Joanne Cleland, April 2017 - July 2018). 
 
Title High speed ultrasound/acoustic database of lingual articulation in typically developing children between three and thirteen years old 
Description The database consists of acoustic recordings of spoken sentences, synchronised with dynamic ultrasound images of the tongue, with the ultrasound frame rate of 100 Hz. The speakers were 60 children, native speakers of Scottish Standard English. There were ten children in each of the following age groups: 3-year-olds; 5-year-olds; 7-year-olds; 9-year-olds; 11-year-olds; 13-year-olds. The database can be used in research, and it is also a useful tool for speech modelling as well as for university teaching of phonetics and of child language. The reference to the database is as follows: Zharkova, Natalia (2016). High speed ultrasound/acoustic database of lingual articulation in typically developing children between three and thirteen years old. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-852289 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The data have been used in the following publications: Zharkova, N., Lickley, R. J. & Hardcastle, W. J. (2014). Development of lingual coarticulation and articulatory constraints between childhood and adolescence: an ultrasound study. In S. Fuchs, M. Grice, A. Hermes, L. Lancia & D. Mücke (Eds), Proceedings of the 10th International Seminar on Speech Production (ISSP), 5 - 8 May 2014, Cologne, Germany. Pp. 472-475. Zharkova, N., Gibbon, F. E. & Hardcastle, W. J. (2015). Quantifying lingual coarticulation using ultrasound imaging data collected with and without head stabilisation. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 29, 249-265. Zharkova, N., Hardcastle, W. J., Gibbon, F. E. & Lickley, R. J. (2015). Development of lingual motor control in children and adolescents. In The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015 (Ed.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, 10-14 August 2015, Glasgow, UK. Online ISBN 978-0-85261-941-4. Zharkova, N., Gibbon, F. E. & Lee, A. (2017). Using ultrasound tongue imaging to identify covert contrasts in children's speech. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 31, 21-34. Zharkova, N. (2017). Voiceless alveolar stop coarticulation in typically developing 5-year-olds and 13-year-olds. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 31, 503-513. Zharkova, N. (2018). An ultrasound study of the development of lingual coarticulation during childhood. Phonetica, 75, 245-271. Zharkova, N., Hardcastle, W. J. & Gibbon, F. E. (2018). The dynamics of voiceless sibilant fricative production in children between seven and thirteen years old: an ultrasound and acoustic study. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 144, 1454-1466. The database makes it possible to investigate the development of various aspects of speech production during childhood, particularly those concerned with the dynamics of lingual articulation. The database can be used to analyse detailed synchronised information from tongue movements and the acoustic signal (see Zharkova 2016; Zharkova et al. 2018, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America). The database is currently used in an EPSRC-funded project, Ultrax 2020 (PI Prof Steve Renals, Edinburgh University), for the purpose of training datasets in order to achieve automated classification of tongue shapes for different speech sounds in school-aged children with speech disorders. 
URL http://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/852289/
 
Title Typical adult speakers' tongue shapes for several consonants in contrasting vowel environments 
Description The dataset contains text files with x-y coordinate values of tongue curves for seven different consonants (/p, t, k, f, s, l, r/) produced in two different vowel contexts (/i/ and /a/) by six adult speakers of Scottish Standard English, in carrier sentences. The database is freely available to potential users on request (email Dr Natalia Zharkova: natalia.zharkova@newcastle.ac.uk). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The dataset, generated by Natalia Zharkova during the ESRC postdoctoral fellowship, has been used in a number of research papers (Zharkova 2007, 2008, 2013 CLP, 2013 CPCJ). The dataset has also been requested by researchers and PhD students from the UK, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Japan, Sweden and Spain. 
 
Description CASL reading group on phonetics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The CASL reading group on phonetics was organised by Natalia Zharkova in November 2013 in the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language (CASL) Research Centre at Queen Margaret University, within the ESRC grant ES/K002597/1 (PI Natalia Zharkova). The group met weekly to discuss recent research papers in the field of experimental phonetics and phonology, clinical phonetics and linguistics, theories, models and methodological advances. The members of the group are researchers, PhD students, Masters students and Postgraduate Diploma students. It was mainly attended by people based at Queen Margaret University, but researchers and PhD students from the University of Edinburgh have also expressed interest in attending and/or attended the group.

The group serves as a platform for discussing ideas generated through reading, and such discussions have already led to collaborative work in the CASL Research Centre. Student comments have also been positive (e.g., the group provides an environment which makes it possible to learn in ways which are otherwise unavailable).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015
URL http://www.qmu.ac.uk/casl/CASL_reading_group/home.htm
 
Description Community dissemination (Edinburgh), Speaking with tongues: ultrasound research into the development of children's speech 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This presentation and the accompanying ultrasound demonstration by Nigel Hewlett and Natalia Zharkova disseminated research findings to the Dalriada Community Discussion Group in Portobello, Edinburgh. Around 20 people attended the event. The presentation lasted for one hour, and it included details on the research project aims and objectives, and the strategies used for achieving them.

A question and answer session and a very enthusiastic discussion followed the presentation and lasted for approximately an hour. Members of the audience, some of whom were teachers, and some who had experience of close interaction with people with speech disorders, asked diverse questions, including questions on potential applications of the project findings and of the ultrasound technology to speech therapy and to language teaching.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Conference poster (Cologne, Germany), Development of lingual coarticulation and articulatory constraints between childhood and adolescence: 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, Robin Lickley and William Hardcastle at the 10th International Seminar on Speech Production 2014, Cologne, Germany, 5-8 May 2014.

After the presentation of this poster and the questions raised during the conference, discussions among the team led to developing further suggestions for methodological improvements in the quantification of ultrasound tongue contour data recorded without head-to-transducer stabilisation. Such quantification can potentially be used for diagnosing speech motor problems using ultrasound tongue imaging.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Conference poster (Edinburgh), Quantitative analysis of ultrasound data collected with and without head stabilisation 
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 and Nigel Hewlett at Ultrafest VI, the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, 6-8 November 2013.

The presentation of this poster led to a discussion with academic colleagues and speech therapists on the need to develop and validate quantitative measures of lingual articulation that can produce the same results regardless of whether the head is stabilised in relation to the ultrasound transducer (relevant for assessing productions by very young children and by certain populations with speech disorders).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Conference poster (Halifax, Canada), Voiceless alveolar stop coarticulation in typically developing 5-year-olds and 13-year-olds 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A poster by Natalia Zharkova at the 16th Meeting of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association, Halifax, Canada, 15-18 June 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Conference poster (Stockholm, Sweden), Quantitative measurements of tongue shape using ultrasound imaging data collected with and without head stabilisation 
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, Fiona Gibbon and William Hardcastle at the 15th Meeting of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association, Stockholm, Sweden, 11-13 June 2014.

Comments by the conference delegates to this poster and discussions during the conference contributed to improving quantitative measurements of tongue function that could be used with very young children and with people with speech disorders who would not be able to tolerate head-to-transducer stabilisation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Conference talk (Edinburgh), Lingual coarticulation and articulatory constraints in adolescents 
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 Oral paper by Natalia Zharkova at Ultrafest VI, the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK, 6-8 November 2013.

After this talk, Natalia Zharkova organised a reading group at the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre at Queen Margaret University (see a separate entry for the CASL reading group on phonetics, under Engagement Activities).

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 2013
 
Description Conference talk (Halifax, Canada), Lingual coarticulation and articulatory constraints in 3-year-olds: an ultrasound study 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A talk by Natalia Zharkova, William J. Hardcastle and Fiona E. Gibbon at the 16th Meeting of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association, Halifax, Canada, 15-18 June 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Conference talk (Oxford), Lingual coarticulation and articulatory constraints in 9-year-old 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 Oral paper by Natalia Zharkova at the British Association of Academic Phoneticians Colloquium, the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, 7-9 April 2014

The questions after this talk led to developing clinically relevant adjustments to established articulatory measures used in the talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Conference talk (Potsdam, Germany), Changes in dynamic lingual coarticulation of /s/ between eleven and thirteen years old 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A talk by Natalia Zharkova at Ultrafest VIII, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany, 4-6 October 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited presentation and demonstration (London), Using ultrasound to visualise and interpret tongue movements 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact This invited presentation was delivered at the London Speech Disorders Special Interest Group. The presentation included a live demonstration of ultrasound tongue imaging and a large number of examples from typical speakers (based on ESRC grants held by Natalia Zharkova) and disordered speakers (from other research projects in the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre at Queen Margaret University - those data were provided by Joanne Cleland and Zoe Roxburgh). The meeting took place at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, and it was attended by over 30 therapists from London and surrounding area.

The presentation, which lasted over two hours, had an interactive format, and it generated a considerable number of questions and discussion points taken up by the therapists themselves (such as the practicalities of introducing ultrasound as a visual biofeedback tool and/or an assessment tool in NHS clinics; using and interpreting quantitative measurements based on the visible tongue contours; factors influencing the value of tongue contour data for taking clinical decisions). After the presentation, the discussion continued in the form of electronic correspondence.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.qmu.ac.uk/casl/ChildCoarticulation/slt.htm
 
Description Invited talk (Glasgow), Ultrasound and acoustic analysis of lingual coarticulation in children 
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 Invited talk by Natalia Zharkova, Glasgow University Laboratory of Phonetics, University of Glasgow

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 2013
 
Description Membership in the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In 2012 Natalia Zharkova was invited to be a member of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech, founded by Prof Sharynne McLeod (Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia). This is an invitation only panel comprised of speech and language therapists, phoneticians, linguists and speech scientists. Members of the panel have worked in over 40 different countries. The panel aims to define international best practice guidelines and to identify practical pathways for improvement of international practices for working with multilingual children who have speech sound disorders. Contributions by the panel have been presented at several international conferences. There are also two international peer-reviewed journal publications co-authored by the panel:
- McLeod, S., Verdon, S., & International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech (in press). Tutorial: Speech assessment for multilingual children who do not speak the same language(s) as the speech-language pathologist. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
- McLeod, S., Verdon, S., Bowen, C. & the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech (2013). International aspirations for speech-language pathologists' practice with multilingual children with speech sound disorders: Development of a position paper. Journal of Communication Disorders, 46, 375-387.

Through Natalia Zharkova's membership in the Panel, her work on typical motor speech development became known to the London Speech Disorders Special Interest Group, where she was invited in 2014 to give a presentation and demonstration of ultrasound tongue imaging (see a separate entry for the presentation/demonstration, under "Engagement Activities").

In addition, the following outputs have been produced with the Panel listed as a co-author:

- McLeod, S., Verdon, S., Bowen, C. &
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.csu.edu.au/research/multilingual-speech/iepmcs
 
Description Oral presentation (Barcelona, Spain), Segment-specific and developmental articulatory constraints: findings from ultrasound studies of lingual coarticulation in children 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This oral presentation at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona generated challenging questions and an interesting discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://sct.uab.cat/stp/content/seminaris-i-congressos
 
Description Oral presentation (Edinburgh), "Development of lingual coarticulation in children" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This oral presentation at the Speech and Hearing Sciences Research Conference, Queen Margaret University (19 January 2015) was attended by over 30 people, mostly postgraduate and undergraduate students, as well as academic staff.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Oral presentation (Edinburgh), "Using quantitative measures from ultrasound tongue imaging data to study speech motor control in adults and children" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This oral presentation at the Speech and Hearing Sciences weekly research seminar, Queen Margaret University (2 December 2014) was attended by members of the department including lecturers, researchers and PhD students, and was followed by a very useful discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Oral presentation within a discussant session (Glasgow): Development of lingual motor control in children and adolescents 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This oral presentation within the discussant session on the Phonetics of Child Language (discussant: Prof Mary Beckman), at the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (10-14 August 2015, Glasgow, UK), was attended by over 50 academics, and generated interesting and challenging questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Presentation to speech and language therapists (Edinburgh) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An oral presentation, entitled "Using ultrasound to analyse speech production in children", was delivered by Natalia Zharkova within the NHS paediatric SLT annual study day, held at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, on 9 June 2015. The event was attended by around 100 paediatric speech and language therapists from the Lothians region of Scotland. Video and audio recordings of typically speaking children were demonstrated to the participants, accompanied by ultrasound videos of tongue movements, with an explanation of how simple measures of tongue shape could be used to assist with diagnosing atypical speech articulations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Primary school presentation and demonstration 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Natalia Zharkova took part in a presentation/demonstration to primary school children at Towerbank Primary School in Portobello, Edinburgh, on 1st June 2015, within the Researcher in Residence scheme run by Queen Margaret University. The event lasted for nearly an hour and a half, and it was run by Dr Zharkova together with Dr Patrycja Strycharczuk from Queen Margaret University. The children were very enthusiastic and eager to learn more about speech production. They took part in taster sessions with ultrasound tongue imaging, as well as in crossword solving and answering quiz questions on speech and language. Feedback was very positive and encouraging to organise similar events in the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.qmu.ac.uk/casl/ChildCoarticulation/school.htm
 
Description Seminar talk (Edinburgh), Articulatory constraints in child speech: ultrasound tongue imaging and acoustic evidence 
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 at the Phonetics/Phonology Workshop 2013-2014, the University of Edinburgh

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, considering that different speech sounds exhibit different levels of resistance to the influence from neighbouring sounds, and that the development of these segment-specific patterns may not be uniform throughout childhood.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.ppls.ed.ac.uk/lel/groups/the-p-workshop-the-phonetics-phonology-workshop
 
Description Seminar talk (Edinburgh), Collecting ultrasound tongue movement data from children between 3 and 13 years old 
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 on 20th March 2013 at the weekly Articulatory Assistant Advanced (ultrasound speech research) meeting series at the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre, Queen Margaret University.

Discussions after this talk led to formulating new ideas for postgraduate and undergraduate research student projects, specifically on validating clinically relevant measurements with the population of young typically developing children.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Seminar talk (Edinburgh), Gestural incompatibility and tongue movements in children and adults 
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 Oral paper by Natalia Zharkova at the Articulatory Assistant Advanced (ultrasound speech research) meeting series, at the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre, Queen Margaret University, on 4 December 2013.

Discussions after this talk led to formulating new ideas for postgraduate and undergraduate research student projects, particularly on combining articulatory and acoustic information in the analysis of typical and disordered speech.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Workshop for Clinicians (Edinburgh) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact This all-day workshop, organised by the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre (Queen Margaret University), was aimed at clinicians interested in learning more about the use of ultrasound for diagnosis and treatment of speech disorders. Organisers: Joanne Cleland, Zoe Roxburgh, James Scobbie, Alan Wrench, Natalia Zharkova. Invited speaker: Penelope Bacsfalvi (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada). The workshop was held at Queen Margaret University on 9th November 2013, and it was attended by speech and language therapists from the UK and abroad and by Ultrafest conference delegates with special interest in clinical phonetics (the total of over 20 participants from six countries).

The workshop increased awareness of the use of visual biofeedback methods in speech and language therapy, and of the importance of quantitative assessment of lingual articulations using ultrasound tongue imaging.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Workshop presentation (Edinburgh), A simple way to measure tongue shapes 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact The presentation by Natalia Zharkova described an approach to quantitatively assessing tongue shapes from ultrasound data collected without head-to-transducer stabilisation.

The presentation, delivered within the Workshop for Clinicians (organised by the Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre (Queen Margaret University, on 9 November 2013), focussed on the applicability of quantitative measurements in the clinical use of ultrasound tongue imaging. The presentation was followed by requests of information on the measures.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Workshop presentation (Edinburgh), Ultrasound tongue data from children: recording and analysis with and without head-to-transducer stabilisation 
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 presentation by Natalia Zharkova at the Ultrasound Tongue Imaging researcher training event, Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, 6 June 2014. This one day event was organised by Prof James Scobbie, it focussed on advanced and intermediate training in ultrasound tongue imaging data analysis, and it was attended by postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and academics from several UK universities.

This talk raised interest to the methodological aspects of recording ultrasound data from children and to quantitative measurement of such data, and it was followed by requests of information and of scripts with measurements.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014