The dynamics of voiceless sibilant fricative production in children between 7 and 13 years old: An ultrasound and acoustic study
Hardcastle, William J.
Gibbon, Fiona E.
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Zharkova, N., Hardcastle, W. J. & Gibbon, F. E. (2018). The dynamics of voiceless sibilant fricative production in children between 7 and 13 years old: An ultrasound and acoustic study. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America,144(3), pp.1454-1466.
This study reports on dynamic tongue shape and spectral characteristics of sibilant fricatives /s/ and /ʃ/ in Scottish English speaking children aged between 7 and 13 years old. The sequences /əCa/ and /əCi/ were produced by 40 children, with ten participants in each age group, and two-year intervals between successive groups. Productions of the same sequences by ten adults were used for comparison with the children's data. Quantitative dynamic analyses were carried out on spectral information and on ultrasound imaging data on tongue shape. All age groups differentiated between the two consonants in the fricative centroid and in tongue shape. Vowel-on-consonant effects showed consonant-specific patterns across age groups without a consistent increase or decrease in the extent of coarticulation with increasing age. The extent of discriminability between the two fricatives increased with age on both acoustic and articulatory measures. Younger speakers were generally more variable than older speakers. Complementary findings from the centroid and tongue shape measures suggest that age-related differences are due to the ongoing maturation of controlling the tongue in coordination with other articulators, particularly the jaw, throughout childhood.