There is currently a significant void in the range of information describing speech production kinematics, particularly when the desired data includes a representation of lingual function. Speaker samples and utterance inventories in past studies have been notoriously small, and methodology and descriptive conventions have been widely variable. In response to these limitations, a project has been designed whose primary aim is to develop a large-sample X-ray microbeam speech database, incorporating point-parameterized representations of lingual, labial, mandibular, and velar movements, in association with the resulting acoustic sound pressure wave, for a relatively large number of speakers (N = 50), rich set of utterances and oral motor tasks, and lengthy recording interval (ca. 18 min/speaker). The database will be uniform across speakers, in motor tasks and descriptive framework; sufficiently accurate and deep to withstand rigorous statistical scrutiny of variance, within and across speakers; and, openly-available for unlimited use by other speech scientists. A resource of this type will be useful for the development of informed hypotheses that must underlie a general theory of speech production; for leading the development of analysis conventions for data that are similar in kind; and, perhaps most importantly, for the first time establishing a normative, statistically-based description of speech movements, against which articulatory behaviors associated with communicative disorders can be compared. The collected materials will be used to investigate five focus issues that have been of long-standing concern to the field, including (1) the extent and nature of temporal coordination among discrete articulators, and between their motions and the resulting acoustic wave; (2) the control objectives of speech production, viewed in terms of variation in acoustic and kinematic """"""""targets"""""""" across contexts and speaking modes; (3) the inter-relationship between measures of size and shape of the articulatory mechanism, and characteristic patterns of oral motor behavior; (4) the nature and distribution of distinct articulatory strategies among speakers performing the same speech and oral motor tasks; and, (5) the kinematic similarities between speech and swallowing.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Research Project (R01)
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Sensory Disorders and Language Study Section (CMS)
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University of Wisconsin Madison
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United States
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