NZILBB Seminar with Amy Neel

08 October 2018

Bigger and stronger is not necessarily better for speech

Amy Neel from the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of New Mexico presents the next NZILBB seminar.

In this talk, I address two issues in speech intelligibility:  the effect of vowel space area and the role of tongue strength.  Vowel space area is computed from measurements of the four corner vowels in the F1 X F2 space.  It is often used as a measure of articulatory working space with the assumption that larger vowel spaces are associated with more intelligible speech.  However, studies of individuals with neuromuscular disorders generally show only modest correlations between vowel space size and intelligibility.  My work with vowels produced by healthy adult speakers (Neel, 2008) shows that distinctions among spectrally similar vowels are more important than vowel space size for vowel intelligibility.

Speech-language pathologists often use oral-motor exercises with dysarthric clients who have neuromuscular disorders, assuming that stronger tongues produce better speech.  Although many individuals with dysarthria experience weakness of the tongue and other speech structures, speech intelligibility and tongue strength are not highly correlated (Neel et al., 2015).  Other aspects of speech that influence intelligibility in dysarthria will be discussed.


  • Friday 12 October 2018
  • 1pm - 2pm
  • Locke 104a

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