Effects of utterance length on lip kinematics in aphasia
from Brain and Language
Most existing models of language production and speech motor control do not explicitly address how language requirements affect speech motor functions, as these domains are usually treated as separate and independent from one another. This investigation compared lip movements during bilabial closure between five individuals with mild aphasia and five age and gender-matched control speakers when the linguistic characteristics of the stimuli were varied by increasing the number of syllables. Upper and lower lip movement data were collected for mono-, bi- and tri-syllabic nonword sequences using an AG 100 EMMA system. Each task was performed under both normal and fast rate conditions. Single articulator kinematic parameters (peak velocity, amplitude, duration, and cyclic spatio-temporal index) were measured to characterize lip movements. Results revealed that compared to control speakers, individuals with aphasia showed significantly longer movement duration and lower movement stability for longer items (bi- and tri-syllables). Moreover, utterance length affected the lip kinematics, in that the monosyllables had smaller peak velocities, smaller amplitudes and shorter durations compared to bi- and trisyllables, and movement stability was lowest for the trisyllables. In addition, the rate-induced changes (smaller amplitude and shorter duration with increased rate) were most prominent for the short items (i.e., monosyllables). These findings provide further support for the notion that linguistic changes have an impact on the characteristics of speech movements, and that individuals with aphasia are more affected by such changes than control speakers.