Special Issue "Aging- and Disease-related Changes in Speech Production"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Anne Hermes
Guest Editor
Laboratoire de Phonétique et Phonologie, UMR 7018, CNRS/Sorbonne-Nouvelle, Paris, France
Interests: speech production, laboratory phonology, speech motor control, coordinative structures, variability, aging, motor speech disorders
Dr. Antje Mefferd
Guest Editor
Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA
Interests: speech production; speech motor control; articulatory-to-acoustic relations; dysarthria; aging; speech behavioral modification effects;articulatory performance
Mrs. Tabea Thies
Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Arts and Humanities, IfL Phonetics, University of Cologne, 50931 Cologne, Germany
2. Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, Department of Neurology, University of Cologne, 50924 Cologne, Germany
Interests: speech production; articulation; prosody; laboratory phonology; speech motor control; movement disorders; deep brain stimulation; therapy optimization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue on aging- and disease-related changes in speech production.

Physiologic aging as well as many neurological diseases are known to impact cognitive-linguistic and speech motor performance (Liss & Weismer 1991, Light & Burke 1993, Lowit et al. 2006, Seidler et al. 2010, Salazar et al. 2017, Duffy 2019) – two important processes fundamental to oral communication (Mefferd & Corder 2014, De Looze et al. 2017, Hermes et al. 2019, Thies et al. 2020, Guenther 2016). Although disease-related changes presumably impact oral communication to a greater extent than aging-related changes, both pose an increased risk to result in social isolation, depression, and an overall decrease in quality of life.

Although substantial research efforts have been directed towards a better understanding of the developmental aspects of oral communication (e.g. language acquisition, speech development), aging-related changes on oral communication remain understudied. The current knowledge gaps hinder a timely and accurate differentiation between aging-related changes and early disease progression, which can delay the implementation of therapeutic interventions. In addition, the relative contributions of cognitive-linguistic and motor processes to changes in oral communication remain unclear, preventing the identification of treatment targets to improve oral communication.

Languages is pleased to invite submissions to this Special Issue, considering inter alia studies that use a wide range of methodological approaches (e.g., imaging, physiologic, acoustic, auditory-perceptual) to better understand the impact of aging-related and/or disease-related changes on oral communication (speech production, language use).

Interested authors are asked to submit a preliminary title and a preliminary abstract (400-600 words) summarizing their research question(s) and methodologies. Please send this information to Anne Hermes ([email protected]) or to /Languages/ editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors to ensure that the manuscript will fit within the scope of the special issue. Full manuscripts will undergo a double-blind peer-review process.

The tentative completion schedule is as follows:

  • Abstract submission deadline: January 15th, 2021
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: January 30th, 2021
  • Full manuscript deadline: 15th July 2021

List of references:

De Looze, C., Moreau, N., Renié, L., Kelly, F., Ghio, A., Rico, A., ... & Petrone, C. (2019). Effects of cognitive  impairment on prosodic parameters of speech production planning in multiple sclerosis. Journal of        Neuropsychology, 13(1), 22-45.

Duffy, J.R. (2019). Motor Speech Disorders: Substrates, Differential Diagnosis, Management. (4th ed.). Elsevier: St. Louis, MO.

Guenther, F. (2016). Neural control of speech. The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.

Hermes, A., Mücke, D., Thies, T., & Barbe, M. T. (2019). Coordination patterns in Essential Tremor patients with Deep Brain Stimulation: Syllables with low and high complexity. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology, 10(1), 6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/labphon.141

Light, L. & Burke, D.M. (1993). Language, Memory, and Aging. Cambridge University Press: New York, NY.

Liss, J.M. & Weismer, G. (1991). Speech Motor Control and Aging. In D.N. Ripich (Ed.). Handbook of Geriatric Communication Disorders. College Hill Press: San Diego, CA.

Lowit, A., Brendel, B., Dobinson, C., Howell, P., 2006. An investigation into the influences of age, pathology and cognition on speech production. J. Med. Speech Lang. Pathol. 14 (4), 253–262.

Mefferd AS, Corder EE. Assessing articulatory speed performance as a potential factor of slowed speech in older adults. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2014 Apr 1;57(2):347-60. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1044/2014_JSLHR-S-12-0261

Salazar, R.D., Ren, X., Ellis, T.D., Toraif, N., Barthelemy, O.J., Neargarder, S., Cronin-Golomb, A., 2017. Dual tasking in Parkinson’s disease: cognitive consequences while walking. Neuropsychology 31 (6), 613.

Seidler, R. D., Bernard, J. A., Burutolu, T. B., Fling, B. W., Gordon, M. T., Gwin, J. T., ... & Lipps, D. B. (2010). Motor control and aging: links to age-related brain structural, functional, and biochemical effects. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 34(5), 721-733. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2009.10.005

Thies, T., Mücke, D., Lowit, A., Kalbe, E., Steffen, J., & Barbe, M. T. (2020). Prominence marking in parkinsonian speech and its correlation with motor performance and cognitive abilities. Neuropsychologia, 137, 107306. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.107306

Dr. Anne Hermes
Dr. Antje Mefferd
Mrs. Tabea Thies
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • aging
  • speech production
  • speech acoustics
  • speech kinematics
  • articulation
  • speech intelligibility
  • speech motor control
  • motor speech impairments
  • language use
  • language impairment
  • dysarthria
  • movement disorders
  • prosody
  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • cognitive impairment, brain imaging

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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