15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Prosodic Disturbances in Speech Following Right Temporal Lobe Epileptic Seizure

Suzanne Boyce, Kathy Groves-Wright, Michael Privitera

University of Cincinnati, USA

In this paper, we compare speech following the onset of epileptic seizure to reported data on speech of patients with identified ataxic dysarthria and right hemisphere lesions. In particular, we focus on speech produced by a male patient whose epileptic seizures originate in the right temporal lobe, and whose speech resembles that of patients with a diagnosis of ataxic dysarthria. Findings on measures of "scanning speech" pattern, vocal instabilities, and slow rate confirmed this perceptual impression. Results on the perceptual impression of "monopitch" were less clear. Speech following seizure onset showed pitch range expansion rather than compression. Pitch contours resembled a high plateau rather than the more normal declination pattern. These findings may be explained by a pattern of seizure activation spreading to cerebellar structures during the course of a seizure, thereby affecting the motor execution phase of speech production. More data is needed to determine if prosody planning in the right temporal lobe is also disrupted.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Boyce, Suzanne / Groves-Wright, Kathy / Privitera, Michael (2003): "Prosodic disturbances in speech following right temporal lobe epileptic seizure", In ICPhS-15, 3241-3244.