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J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2019 Sep 20;62(9):3149-3159. doi: 10.1044/2019_JSLHR-S-19-0114. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Quantifying Tongue Tip Shape in Apical and Laminal /s/: Contributions of Palate Shape.

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Department of Neural and Pain Sciences, Orthodontics and Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Baltimore.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
Department of Radiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.
Department of Neural and Pain Sciences, University of Maryland School of Dentistry, Baltimore.


Purpose Anterior tongue shape during /s/ production is often described as "tip-up" or apical, versus "tip-down" or laminal. Typically, this is determined by observing the shape of the anterior midline tongue. The purpose of this study was to identify methods of curvature calculation that quantify the observed shape differences and to examine whether the shape differences were affected by palate shape. Previous work shows that palate height has some effect (Grimm et al., 2017). Method Four curvature-based measures were applied to a series of points selected along the tongue surface in midsagittal cine magnetic resonance images during speech. The measures were minimal curvature, averaged largest curvature (ALC), normalized ALC, and interpolated normalized ALC. These measures were compared to visual judgments of apical and laminal /s/. Anterior palate shape was measured from dental casts. Results The apical /s/ contained a flat or concave region in the anterior tongue, while the laminal /s/ had a convex shape along the entire tongue. Thus, the laminal shape was less complex than the apical. The last 2 metrics, based on averages of multiple normalized curvatures, captured this complexity difference. Subjects with a more steeply sloped anterior palate tended to use laminal /s/. Conclusions The tongue shape for the 2 /s/ types was best defined by complexity of the shape, rather than local anterior shape. Statistical quantities that measured curvature in multiple locations, and normalized across subjects, were best at distinguishing the 2 /s/ shapes. Interpolating additional points between the manually selected ones did not improve the method. Supplemental Material

[Available on 2020-03-01]

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