Imitative Production of Rising Speech Intonation in Pediatric Cochlear Implant Recipients

Shu-Chen Pen; Tomblin, J. Bruce; Spencer, Linda J.; Hurtig, Richard R.
October 2007
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Oct2007, Vol. 50 Issue 5, p1210
Academic Journal
Purpose: This study investigated the acoustic characteristics of pediatric cochlear implant (CI) recipients' imitative production of rising speech intonation, in relation to the perceptual judgments by listeners with normal hearing (NH). Method: Recordings of a yes-no interrogative utterance imitated by 24 prelingually deafened children with a CI were extracted from annual evaluation sessions. These utterances were perceptually judged by adult NH listeners in regard with intonation contour type (non-rise, partial-rise, or full-rise) and contour appropriateness (on a 5-point scale). Fundamental frequency, intensity, and duration properties of each utterance were also acoustically analyzed. Results: Adult NH listeners' judgments of intonation contour type and contour appropriateness for each CI participant's utterances were highly positively correlated. The pediatric CI recipients did not consistently use appropriate intonation contours when imitating a yes-no question. Acoustic properties of speech intonation produced by these individuals were discernible among utterances of different intonation contour types according to NH listeners' perceptual judgments. Conclusions: These findings delineated the perceptual and acoustic characteristics of speech intonation imitated by prelingually deafened children and young adults with a CI. Future studies should address whether the degraded signals these individuals perceive via a CI contribute to their difficulties with speech intonation production.


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