The current study examined the effects of bite blocks on articulatory kinematics when producing diphthongs /ɑɪ/ and /ɑʊ/ within a phrase. Participants consisted of 20 young adults (10 males, 10 females) with no speech, language or hearing disorders. Participants produced the diphthongs in the carrier phrase Im an owl that hoots. A Northern Digital Instruments Wave electromagnetic articulograph measured the articulatory movements while the speaker produced the stimuli in two conditions (pre bite block insertion and post bite block insertion). Bilateral bite blocks were made using Express dental putty, which is a silicone impression material, in order to create a 10 mm inter-incisal gap. Marker distance, maximum speed, and jaw contribution to tongue movement for three sensors (tongue back, tongue mid, tongue front) were calculated for the diphthongs segmented from the carrier phrase. F1 and F2 transitions and rate were also calculated for each diphthong. Results revealed kinematic differences during diphthong production after the bite block was inserted. Tongue movements independent from the jaw increased after the bite block was inserted, especially during production of the diphthong /ɑʊ/. Bite block by gender interactions during production of the diphthong /ɑɪ/ revealed larger and faster initial movements for males. The results did not reveal any significant acoustic changes other than a longer transition duration. Kinematic adjustments were sufficient to maintain overall similar acoustic output before and after bite block insertion.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders

Date Submitted


Document Type





articulatory kinematics, bite block, perturbation, compensation, diphthong