Individual predictors of articulatory precision in sibilant production across the adult life span

TitleIndividual predictors of articulatory precision in sibilant production across the adult life span
Publication TypePresentation
Year of Publication2014
Conference NameDag van de Fonetiek 2014
AuthorsKoch, Xaver, and Esther Janse
PublisherNederlandse Vereniging voor Fonetische Wetenschappen
Conference LocationUtrecht, The Netherlands

Whereas there has been a considerable amount of research on cognitive predictors for language comprehension ability, very little is known about individual differences in spoken language production. While links have been found between individuals' production patterns and their perceptual category boundaries, it is unclear whether and how cognitive and linguistic abilities affect articulatory precision.

This study investigates articulatory precision in a large sample (n=100) of younger, middle-aged and older Dutch adults as indexed by center of gravity measures (spectral moments) for word-initial sibilants ([ʃ], [s]). The research question is whether individuals' production precision is related to measures of a test battery (e.g., hearing acuity, memory, processing speed, vocabulary) and/or to speech perception performance quantified as performance in a preceding listening study. We also investigate effects of age, sex, education level and regional variation on articulatory precision and include speech rate effects in our statistical modelling. Participants were asked to read aloud a carrier sentence containing target words starting with either [ʃ] or [s] followed by one of five different vowels. Analyses are based on differences in center of gravity measures for the two sibilants as well as on centroid distance measures for the vowel contexts. Results will be discussed.