Fundamental Frequency (F0) Changes in Controlled Speech Tasks
following Left Hemisphere and Subcortical Brain Damage

D Van Lancker Sidtis, D Kempler


Although prosodic measures have been performed on neurological patients, the effect of controlled speech tasks on these variables has had little attention.In this study, two prosodic features, mean fundamental frequency (F0) and F0 variability, were measured in speech obtained from four groups of neurological patients with the diagnosis ofBroca, Wernicke, anomic aphasia, and Parkinsonís Disease (PD), and 15 normal-control subjects.For aphasic patients, CT and PET imaging were utilized.All subjects performed four speech tasks:reading a paragraph, counting from 1-30, conversation, and sustained vowel phonation. The speech samples were tape-recorded and played into a microprocessor-controlled speech analyzer (PM 301 Voice Identification, Inc.). Results indicated that the clinical groups differed significantly on both measures.A significant group by task interaction was observed for F0 mean, suggesting a role of task on measures of motor speech.Analysis of imaging data revealed a nonsignificant tendency toward an association between prosodic impairment and frontosubcortical dysfunction. These findings may aid in understanding of prosodic changes after brain damage and evaluating aphasicspeech disorders.