The current study examined the lingual kinematic and acoustic effects of bite blocks on vowels in a sentence context. Twenty adult native English speakers (10 male, 10 female) with no speech, language, or hearing deficits participated in the study. The corner vowels found in the sentence, The blue spot is on the black key again (i.e., /u/, /ɑ/, /æ/, /i/), were measured kinematically and acoustically immediately before and after bite block insertion. The participants' speech was audio-recorded and their lingual articulatory movements were measured with a Northern Digital Instruments Wave electromagnetic articulograph. The sensor coils were attached to three different parts on the tongue (back, middle, and front). Acoustic analysis of the vowel formants revealed that the vowel articulation index and vowel space area decreased significantly following bite block insertion. Kinematic analysis of the sensors on the tongue revealed that the kinematic vowel articulation index decreased significantly for the back and middle of the tongue but not for the front. Thus, adjustments to the position of the front of the tongue were sufficient to compensate for the bite block perturbation, while the same measures for the back and middle of the tongue were significantly affected. This was likely due to the relative independence in the movement of the front of the tongue, given its distance from the posterior point of attachment between the tongue and mandible. These findings suggest that the effects of articulatory perturbation can be more fully understood when kinematic and acoustic measures are considered together.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type



kinematics, acoustics, bite block, perturbation, compensation, vowels