Announcement of Ph.D. Dissertation Defense- Development of Speech Motor Control for Language: Motor Analysis from Phonetic Transcripts

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 10:00am - 12:00pm

GSE Room 347

The developmental sequence of speech motor control in the emergence of spoken language has yet to be directly examined. Contemporary accounts of the emergence of spoken language traditionally address speech motor control as part of the maturational process. The present study investigates the developmental sequence of speech motor control in the transition from babble to word productions.
   
   Speech motor control of the jaw, lips, and tongue was examined longitudinally from nine to 16 months of age in five English speaking children. Predictions of speech motor control were evaluated for spontaneous vocalizations from the non-word babble period to referential word productions.
   
   Results confirmed that speech sound productions in babble and words at the onset of spoken language are controlled with the child’s available motor skills. As predicted, the jaw was the first of the three articulators to have independent graded control in the emergence of word productions. Lip control was observed second as the child began producing referential words. At 16 months there was no evidence of independent tongue control in the production of babble or words.
   
   These findings indicate that speech production at the onset of spoken language is enabled by the motor control available to the child. The results of this study add an additional variable to be considered from the dynamic systems theoretical perspective explaining the onset of spoken language.
   
   Prior to this study initial motor developmental milestones in the emergence of spoken language had not been identified. The results of this study identify motor milestones for the jaw and the lip at the onset of word productions. These findings provide a first step in investigation of speech motor control and a basis for investigating therapeutic approaches that consider these skills.

     

Who to contact:

Jennifer Clarke

jennclarkeslp@aol.com