Vowel-Related Differences in Laryngeal Articulatory and Phonatory Function


The purpose of this investigation was to study the interaction between the supralaryngeal and laryngeal components of the speech mechanism by examining vowel-related effects for a variety of vocal fold articulatory and phonatory measures. Secondary issues were to determine if vowel-related differences were influenced by the nature of the speaking task or gender. Between-vowel differences in estimated subglottal air pressure, peak oral air flow, mean phonatory air flow, air flow near the termination of the vowel, electroglottograph cycle width (EGGW), fundamental frequency, and voice onset time were examined for men and women during syllable repetitions and sentence productions. Significant vowel-related differences were found for all of the measures except mean phonatory air flow, and generally were not influenced by speaking task or gender. Vowel-related effects for estimated subglottal air pressure, peak oral air flow, fundamental frequency, and VOT were consistent with some earlier studies. New findings included vowel-related differences in EGGW and air flow near the termination of the vowel. We propose a model that includes the contribution of mechanical forces, reflexive neural activity, and learned neural activity to explain vowel-related effects. When vowel height is varied, changes in laryngeal cartilage positioning and vocal fold and vocal tract tension appear to influence laryngeal articulatory and phonatory function.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

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