Tongue-palate contact for nasal versus oral stops in speakers with repaired cleft palate

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Lee, Alice S.
Bessell, Nicola
Gibbon, Fiona E.
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Most previous studies of speech disorders associated with cleft palate have reported a higher incidence of errors for oral stops, fricatives and affricates compared to nasal stops. However, the results of a recent ultrasound study have raised the possibility that errors affecting nasal consonants might not be as rare as originally thought. A review of the electropalatography (EPG) literature on cleft palate speech has also shown that atypical tongue-palate contact patterns can occur during nasal consonants and that nasal and oral stops are often produced with similar atypical lingual gestures. Therefore, this study investigated the production of nasal stops (/n/and/ŋ/) and the homorganic oral stops (/t/,/d/and/k/,/ɡ/respectively) in eight children with repaired cleft palate using perceptual judgements and evaluation of tongue-palate contact patterns. Results of the perceptual judgements support the findings in the literature that there was a higher per cent phoneme correct for the alveolar nasal (about 90%) than for the oral stops (60–70%). However, there was a low per cent phoneme correct for the velar nasal (about 50%) and the per cent correct as determined by the EPG data was lower than those based on perceptual judgements. Two children showed similar atypical articulatory gestures for the oral and nasal alveolar stops. We discuss the possibility that the nasal errors may be of phonemic as opposed to phonetic origin. The results underscore the importance of considering the phonological dimension of production when assessing the speech of children in this clinical group.
Nasal stops , Oral stops , Cleft palate , Speech disorder , Perceptual judgements , Electropalatography (EPG)
Lee, A., Bessell, N. and Gibbon, F. E. (2019) 'Tongue-palate contact for nasal versus oral stops in speakers with repaired cleft palate', Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, In Press, doi: 10.1080/02699206.2019.1584722
© 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics on 07 March 2019, available online: