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Reconstructing 3D tongue movement from multiplanar paced ultrasound scans to
identify motor strategies for midsagittal grooving

H. Flowers, T. Bressmann, B. Carmichael, C. Heng, W. Wong

Investigations of tongue movement in speech are usually limited to the midsagittal plane (electromagnetic articulography, videofluoroscopy, B-mode ultrasound). However, tongue movement in speech is a three-dimensional process, and the position of the lateral free margins of the tongue cannot be automatically inferred from the midsagittal plane. We present a method of reconstructing 3D tongue movement during longer speech samples from multiple 2D ultrasound scans. Four normal participants read a poem to a metronome beat. The moving tongue surface for each speaker was reconstructed from ultrasound scans in 4 coronal planes. The goal of our research was to identify global indicators of tongue movement that differentiate individuals. While the within-participant correlations demonstrated similar patterns of functional associations between different segments of the tongue, the comparison between different speakers pointed towards marked differences in the extent of midsagittal grooving throughout the reading passage. Two speakers maintained constant midsagittal grooving throughout the text passage while the two others exhibited a flatter tongue surface with a slightly convex anterior tongue. The results indicate that individuals may show differences in the extent of the habitual contraction of their genioglossus during speech.

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