Articulation rate: Effects of age, fluency, and syntactic structure
Next Document Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología. 2013;33:55-63.
We report basic findings on articulation rate effects derived from experimental research on children's sentence planning. The experiments were designed to evaluate production processes with attention to syntactic variables while controlling for lexical and phonological variables. Articulatory rate measures showed (1) rates differed for children (3–8.11) and adults, with adult rates significantly faster than child rates; (2) the effects of fluent and dysfluent host utterances on fluent substrings differed for adults and children; (3) rate patterns for relative clause and conjoined clause utterances differed, both from each other and across age group.
It is reasonable to assume that adults talk faster than children. Even if we distinguish learning to speak from learning a language, speech per se requires practice. Other things being equal, people who have been speaking longer should be more proficient. But language production is a complex phenomenon, and differences between adults and children (or between more and less proficient speakers) are multiply determined. Two broad aspects of those differences are rates for linguistic formulation and rates for integration of articulatory control structures. These are tightly linked determinants of how quickly an utterance can be generated.
We report here some findings on rate effects derived from experimental research on children's sentence planning. The experiments were designed to evaluate production processes with attention to syntactic variables while controlling lexical and phonological variables. The evaluation of several fluency variables is a core feature of our research, and the rate studies reported here are part of that larger effort.
The theoretical background for our research on language production is a framework shared by several current production models. These are characterized by a series of distinctions among early and late stages of processing (Bock, 1987, Dell, 1986, Garrett, 1980, Levelt, 1989). The earliest stage generates a preverbal representation of the content to be conveyed – a ‘message’ that reflects discourse and semantic objectives of the communication. Message-level representations are mapped into language-specific forms. The language formulation stages first integrate syntactic and semantic information, and are in turn followed by stages that determine the morphological and phonological organization for the preceding stage's output. The operations of these stages are incremental and overlapping. A final component reflects the fact that speakers monitor the output of production processes and modify their output in various ways depending on the outcome of the monitoring process. (Levelt, 1989), for example, hypothesized a buffer between the planning stages described above and the articulation...
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