Electropalatography (EPG) is a computer-based system that tracks and measures contact patterns between the tongue and palate during speech production. The present study is focused on how the lingua-palatal contact patterns of native English speakers learning German as a second language (L2) differ as a function of task type. The fricatives ich-Laut [ç] and ach-Laut [x] were used as the target sounds, placed in nonsense words, short sentences, and spontaneous speech. The productions of the fricatives in the varying speech tasks were gathered from 12 university students enrolled in their second semester of a university level course of German. Comparisons were made using electrode mappings, percentages of regional contact, duration, and center of gravity measures. Duration measures showed that nonsense words were found to have the greatest duration for both fricatives when compared to the other task types. Percentage of activation measures showed that [ç] presented with similar activation in the medial and posterior regions of the palate across task type, whereas the activation in medial and posterior regions for [x] were found to differ more significantly across task type. Specifically, short sentences and spontaneous speech had similar posterior activation, but differed in medial activation, while nonsense words were different in both regions. Center of gravity measures were also greater in short sentences and spontaneous speech compared to nonsense words for [x]. It is anticipated that the data and information in this thesis will provide insights into the role of linguistic task type and EPG technology as instructional tools for L2 learners.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





electropalatography, German, second-language acquisition, task type



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Education Commons