Special Issue "Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensory and Motor Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 July 2021) | Viewed by 14355

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Anja Lowit
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Psychological Sciences and Health, Speech and Language Therapy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
Interests: motor speech disorders; acoustic analysis; rhythm; intonation; voice quality; speech treatment
Prof. Dr. Sónia Frota
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center of Linguistics, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: prosody; intonation; language disorders; prosodic development; language acquisition; experimental linguistics
Dr. Marina Vigário
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center of Linguistics, School of Arts and Humanities, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: phonology; prosody; interfaces; language disorders; prosodic development; applied linguistics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Prosodic disturbances are a well-recognised feature of motor speech disorders, affecting dimensions such as tempo and rate, loudness, intonation and vocal features. While these disturbances are still largely associated with reductions in the naturalness of speech, there is evidence for prosody’s equal importance for intelligibility and, thus, its significant impact on communication effectiveness as a whole.

This Special Issue aims to bring together studies from the theoretical field as well as the motor speech disorder literature to reflect new knowledge generated to guide effective management of people with motor speech disorders and support new developments in this area through sharing novel theoretically informed methodological approaches. All approaches to investigating prosody are welcome, including instrumental, perceptual and neuroimaging studies. We invite cutting-edge original works as well as review papers on the following areas:

  • Characterisation of prosodic impairments in children and adults with motor speech disorders;
  • Aspects of prosodic development in children with motor speech problems;
  • Novel assessment and treatment approaches for disordered prosody;
  • Theoretical models and frameworks of prosodic analysis and their application to the characterisation and analysis of motor speech disorders;
  • The nature of prosodic disturbance across languages and the impact of language particular features;
  • The relationship between prosodic perception and production in both healthy and disordered populations.

Prof. Dr. Anja Lowit
Prof. Dr. Sónia Frota
Dr. Marina Vigário
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • motor speech disorders 
  • dysarthria 
  • apraxia of speech 
  • prosody 
  • rate 
  • tempo 
  • rhythm 
  • intonation 
  • phrasing 
  • prominence 
  • pause 
  • voice quality 
  • dysprosody 
  • prosody assessment 
  • prosody treatment 
  • neuro-imaging 
  • acoustic analysis 
  • phonological analysis 
  • perception of prosody 
  • production of prosody 
  • neurodegenerative disorders 
  • neurodevelopmental disorders 
  • ageing 
  • prosodic development

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Article
Reading Fluency in Children and Adolescents Who Stutter
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(12), 1595; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11121595 - 30 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1757
Abstract
Speech fluency is a major challenge for young persons who stutter. Reading aloud, in particular, puts high demands on fluency, not only regarding online text decoding and articulation, but also in terms of prosodic performance. A written text has to be segmented into [...] Read more.
Speech fluency is a major challenge for young persons who stutter. Reading aloud, in particular, puts high demands on fluency, not only regarding online text decoding and articulation, but also in terms of prosodic performance. A written text has to be segmented into a number of prosodic phrases with appropriate breaks. The present study examines to what extent reading fluency (decoding ability, articulation rate, and prosodic phrasing) may be altered in children (9–12 years) and adolescents (13–17 years) who stutter compared to matched control participants. Read speech of 52 children and adolescents who do and do not stutter was analyzed. Children and adolescents who stutter did not differ from their matched control groups regarding reading accuracy and articulation rate. However, children who stutter produced shorter pauses than their matched peers. Results on prosodic phrasing showed that children who stutter produced more major phrases than the control group and more intermediate phrases than adolescents who stutter. Participants who stutter also displayed a higher number of breath pauses. Generally, the number of disfluencies during reading was related to slower articulation rates and more prosodic boundaries. Furthermore, we found age-related changes in general measures of reading fluency (decoding ability and articulation rate), as well as the overall strength of prosodic boundaries and number of breath pauses. This study provides evidence for developmental stages in prosodic phrasing as well as for alterations in reading fluency in children who stutter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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Article
In Time with the Beat: Entrainment in Patients with Phonological Impairment, Apraxia of Speech, and Parkinson’s Disease
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(11), 1524; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111524 - 18 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1493
Abstract
In the present study, we investigated if individuals with neurogenic speech sound impairments of three types, Parkinson’s dysarthria, apraxia of speech, and aphasic phonological impairment, accommodate their speech to the natural speech rhythm of an auditory model, and if so, whether the effect [...] Read more.
In the present study, we investigated if individuals with neurogenic speech sound impairments of three types, Parkinson’s dysarthria, apraxia of speech, and aphasic phonological impairment, accommodate their speech to the natural speech rhythm of an auditory model, and if so, whether the effect is more significant after hearing metrically regular sentences as compared to those with an irregular pattern. This question builds on theories of rhythmic entrainment, assuming that sensorimotor predictions of upcoming events allow humans to synchronize their actions with an external rhythm. To investigate entrainment effects, we conducted a sentence completion task relating participants’ response latencies to the spoken rhythm of the prime heard immediately before. A further research question was if the perceived rhythm interacts with the rhythm of the participants’ own productions, i.e., the trochaic or iambic stress pattern of disyllabic target words. For a control group of healthy speakers, our study revealed evidence for entrainment when trochaic target words were preceded by regularly stressed prime sentences. Persons with Parkinson’s dysarthria showed a pattern similar to that of the healthy individuals. For the patient groups with apraxia of speech and with phonological impairment, considerably longer response latencies with differing patterns were observed. Trochaic target words were initiated with significantly shorter latencies, whereas the metrical regularity of prime sentences had no consistent impact on response latencies and did not interact with the stress pattern of the target words to be produced. The absence of an entrainment in these patients may be explained by the more severe difficulties in initiating speech at all. We discuss the results in terms of clinical implications for diagnostics and therapy in neurogenic speech disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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Article
An Automated Lexical Stress Classification Tool for Assessing Dysprosody in Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(11), 1408; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111408 - 25 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1193
Abstract
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) commonly affects the production of lexical stress contrast in polysyllabic words. Automated classification tools have the potential to increase reliability and efficiency in measuring lexical stress. Here, factors affecting the accuracy of a custom-built deep neural network (DNN)-based [...] Read more.
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) commonly affects the production of lexical stress contrast in polysyllabic words. Automated classification tools have the potential to increase reliability and efficiency in measuring lexical stress. Here, factors affecting the accuracy of a custom-built deep neural network (DNN)-based classification tool are evaluated. Sixteen children with typical development (TD) and 26 with CAS produced 50 polysyllabic words. Words with strong–weak (SW, e.g., dinosaur) or WS (e.g., banana) stress were fed to the classification tool, and the accuracy measured (a) against expert judgment, (b) for speaker group, and (c) with/without prior knowledge of phonemic errors in the sample. The influence of segmental features and participant factors on tool accuracy was analysed. Linear mixed modelling showed significant interaction between group and stress type, surviving adjustment for age and CAS severity. For TD, agreement for SW and WS words was >80%, but CAS speech was higher for SW (>80%) than WS (~60%). Prior knowledge of segmental errors conferred no clear advantage. Automatic lexical stress classification shows promise for identifying errors in children’s speech at diagnosis or with treatment-related change, but accuracy for WS words in apraxic speech needs improvement. Further training of algorithms using larger sets of labelled data containing impaired speech and WS words may increase accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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Article
Acoustic Identification of Sentence Accent in Speakers with Dysarthria: Cross-Population Validation and Severity Related Patterns
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1344; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101344 - 13 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1281
Abstract
Dysprosody is a hallmark of dysarthria, which can affect the intelligibility and naturalness of speech. This includes sentence accent, which helps to draw listeners’ attention to important information in the message. Although some studies have investigated this feature, we currently lack properly validated [...] Read more.
Dysprosody is a hallmark of dysarthria, which can affect the intelligibility and naturalness of speech. This includes sentence accent, which helps to draw listeners’ attention to important information in the message. Although some studies have investigated this feature, we currently lack properly validated automated procedures that can distinguish between subtle performance differences observed across speakers with dysarthria. This study aims for cross-population validation of a set of acoustic features that have previously been shown to correlate with sentence accent. In addition, the impact of dysarthria severity levels on sentence accent production is investigated. Two groups of adults were analysed (Dutch and English speakers). Fifty-eight participants with dysarthria and 30 healthy control participants (HCP) produced sentences with varying accent positions. All speech samples were evaluated perceptually and analysed acoustically with an algorithm that extracts ten meaningful prosodic features and allows a classification between accented and unaccented syllables based on a linear combination of these parameters. The data were statistically analysed using discriminant analysis. Within the Dutch and English dysarthric population, the algorithm correctly identified 82.8 and 91.9% of the accented target syllables, respectively, indicating that the capacity to discriminate between accented and unaccented syllables in a sentence is consistent with perceptual impressions. Moreover, different strategies for accent production across dysarthria severity levels could be demonstrated, which is an important step toward a better understanding of the nature of the deficit and the automatic classification of dysarthria severity using prosodic features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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Article
Towards a Comprehensive Account of Rhythm Processing Issues in Developmental Dyslexia
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1303; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101303 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1426
Abstract
Developmental dyslexia is typically defined as a difficulty with an individual’s command of written language, arising from deficits in phonological awareness. However, motor entrainment difficulties in non-linguistic synchronization and time-keeping tasks have also been reported. Such findings gave rise to proposals of an [...] Read more.
Developmental dyslexia is typically defined as a difficulty with an individual’s command of written language, arising from deficits in phonological awareness. However, motor entrainment difficulties in non-linguistic synchronization and time-keeping tasks have also been reported. Such findings gave rise to proposals of an underlying rhythm processing deficit in dyslexia, even though to date, evidence for impaired motor entrainment with the rhythm of natural speech is rather scarce, and the role of speech rhythm in phonological awareness is unclear. The present study aimed to fill these gaps. Dyslexic adults and age-matched control participants with variable levels of previous music training completed a series of experimental tasks assessing phoneme processing, rhythm perception, and motor entrainment abilities. In a rhythm entrainment task, participants tapped along to the perceived beat of natural spoken sentences. In a phoneme processing task, participants monitored for sonorant and obstruent phonemes embedded in nonsense strings. Individual sensorimotor skills were assessed using a number of screening tests. The results lacked evidence for a motor impairment or a general motor entrainment difficulty in dyslexia, at least among adult participants of the study. Instead, the results showed that the participants’ performance in the phonemic task was predictive of their performance in the rhythmic task, but not vice versa, suggesting that atypical rhythm processing in dyslexia may be the consequence, but not the cause, of dyslexic difficulties with phoneme-level encoding. No evidence for a deficit in the entrainment to the syllable rate in dyslexic adults was found. Rather, metrically weak syllables were significantly less often at the center of rhythmic attention in dyslexic adults as compared to neurotypical controls, with an increased tendency in musically trained participants. This finding could not be explained by an auditory deficit in the processing of acoustic-prosodic cues to the rhythm structure, but it is likely to be related to the well-documented auditory short-term memory issue in dyslexia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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Article
(Dys)Prosody in Parkinson’s Disease: Effects of Medication and Disease Duration on Intonation and Prosodic Phrasing
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 1100; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081100 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1594
Abstract
The phonology of prosody has received little attention in studies of motor speech disorders. The present study investigates the phonology of intonation (nuclear contours) and speech chunking (prosodic phrasing) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) as a function of medication intake and duration of the [...] Read more.
The phonology of prosody has received little attention in studies of motor speech disorders. The present study investigates the phonology of intonation (nuclear contours) and speech chunking (prosodic phrasing) in Parkinson’s disease (PD) as a function of medication intake and duration of the disease. Following methods of the prosodic and intonational phonology frameworks, we examined the ability of 30 PD patients to use intonation categories and prosodic phrasing structures in ways similar to 20 healthy controls to convey similar meanings. Speech data from PD patients were collected before and after a dopaminomimetic drug intake and were phonologically analyzed in relation to nuclear contours and intonational phrasing. Besides medication, disease duration and the presence of motor fluctuations were also factors included in the analyses. Overall, PD patients showed a decreased ability to use nuclear contours and prosodic phrasing. Medication improved intonation regardless of disease duration but did not help with dysprosodic phrasing. In turn, disease duration and motor fluctuations affected phrasing patterns but had no impact on intonation. Our study demonstrated that the phonology of prosody is impaired in PD, and prosodic categories and structures may be differently affected, with implications for the understanding of PD neurophysiology and therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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Article
Single Word Intelligibility of Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease in Noise: Pre-Specified Secondary Outcome Variables from a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) Comparing Two Intensive Speech Treatments (LSVT LOUD vs. LSVT ARTIC)
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(7), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11070857 - 27 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2420
Abstract
The majority of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience both prosodic changes (reduced vocal volume, reduced pitch range) and articulatory changes (imprecise articulation) that often limit speech intelligibility and may contribute to significant declines in quality of life. We conducted a randomized control [...] Read more.
The majority of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience both prosodic changes (reduced vocal volume, reduced pitch range) and articulatory changes (imprecise articulation) that often limit speech intelligibility and may contribute to significant declines in quality of life. We conducted a randomized control trial comparing two intensive treatments, voice (LSVT LOUD) or articulation (LSVT ARTIC) to assess single word intelligibility in the presence of background noise (babble and mall). Participants (64 PD and 20 Healthy) read words from the diagnostic rhyme test (DRT), an ANSI Standard for measuring intelligibility of speech, before and after one month (treatment or no treatment). Teams of trained listeners blindly rated the data. Speech intelligibility of words in the presence of both noise conditions improved in PD participants who had LSVT LOUD compared to the groups that had LSVT ARTIC or no treatment. Intensive speech treatment targeting prominent prosodic variables in LSVT LOUD had a positive effect on speech intelligibility at the single word level in PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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Article
Levodopa-Based Changes on Vocalic Speech Movements during Prosodic Prominence Marking
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(5), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050594 - 04 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1541
Abstract
The present study investigates speech changes in Parkinson’s disease on the acoustic and articulatory level with respect to prosodic prominence marking. To display movements of the underlying articulators, speech data from 16 patients with Parkinson’s disease were recorded using electromagnetic articulography. Speech tasks [...] Read more.
The present study investigates speech changes in Parkinson’s disease on the acoustic and articulatory level with respect to prosodic prominence marking. To display movements of the underlying articulators, speech data from 16 patients with Parkinson’s disease were recorded using electromagnetic articulography. Speech tasks focused on strategies of prominence marking. Patients’ ability to encode prominence in the laryngeal and supra-laryngeal domain is tested in two conditions to examine the influence of motor performance on speech production further: without dopaminergic medication and with dopaminergic medication. The data reveal that patients with Parkinson’s disease are able to highlight important information in both conditions. They maintain prominence relations across- and within-accentuation by adjusting prosodic markers, such as vowel duration and pitch modulation, while the acoustic vowel space remains the same. For differentiating across-accentuation, not only intensity but also all temporal and spatial parameters related to the articulatory tongue body movements during the production of vowels are modulated to signal prominence. In response to the levodopa intake, gross motor performance improved significantly by 42%. The improvement in gross motor performance was accompanied by an improvement in speech motor performance in terms of louder speech and shorter, larger and faster tongue body movements. The tongue body is more agile under levodopa increase, a fact that is not necessarily detectable on the acoustic level but important for speech therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Motor Speech Disorders and Prosody)
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