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Articulatory movements associated with vowels produced by speakers with dysarthria and normal controls
Yana Yunusova, John R. Westbury and Gary Weismer

Vowel-related movements of small markers attached to the jaw (J), lower lip (L), tongue blade (B) and dorsum (D) were recorded using the x-ray microbeam technique, during sentences read aloud at self-selected habitual rates by 19 normal control talkers and 15 talkers with dysarthria. Included in the test sentences were five or more examples of each of ten simple words, each containing one of the test vowels /i, I, u, ?, ae, ?/ bearing primary stress. The main purpose of analyzing these data was to learn how several articulators contribute to vowel sounds produced by talkers with dysarthria, and by normal controls, partly because of a classical view that ‘incoordinated’ movements patterns may underlie articulatory distortions in dysarthric speech. Statistically different movement patterns were identified for all test vowels, but interestingly, no sharp differences in average movement patterns could be identified between talker groups. At the same time, movement patterns for particular vowels that involved very marked differences from group trends were observed for some talkers. Certain results of the study seem to challenge the view that a causal link exists between incoordination and articulatory distortion, and prompt renewed consideration of both the explanatory power of coordination, and the nature of its definition, measurement and evaluation.

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