14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


Undifferentiated Gestures and Their Implications for Speech Disorders in Children

Fiona E. Gibbon

Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, UK

Research using electropalatography (EPG) has shown that a distinctive articulatory characteristic of lingual consonants in the speech of school age children with articulation/phonological disorders (APD) is a high amount of tongue-palate contact. Consonants produced in this way have been referred to as involving undifferentiated lingual gestures (UGs). UGs are characterised by contact that lacks clear differentiation between the tongue apex, tongue body and lateral margins of the tongue. EPG data from 17 children with APD are summarised and examples given. Standard transcriptions do not reliably detect UGs, which are transcribed as speech errors (e.g. phonological substitutions, phonetic distortions) in some instances, but as correct productions in others. UGs are interpreted as reflecting a speech motor constraint involving either delayed or deviant control of functionally independent regions of the tongue. The implications of the phenomenon are discussed in terms of the assessment and diagnosis of speech disorders in children.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gibbon, Fiona E. (1999): "Undifferentiated gestures and their implications for speech disorders in children", In ICPhS-14, 1913-1916.