Song and speech prosody influences VOT in stuttering and non-stuttering adolescents

Simone Falk, Elena Maslow


Since a long time, it is known that singing helps persons who stutter to produce their utterances more fluently. The prosodic characteristics of spoken and sung utterances differ considerably in their rhythmic and tonal structure. Therefore, it has been proposed that song prosody helps stutterers to improve their rhythmic planning of verbal material [1]. In order to investigate this idea, we examined temporal aspects, namely Voice Onset Time (henceforth, VOT) of voiceless plosives, in sung and spoken utterances of young German stutterers and non-stuttering controls. VOT tends to be reduced in song compared to speech. We expected a more important reduction in the stuttering group as voice onset timing should be facilitated in song compared to speech. Eight stuttering adolescents and eight normal fluent peers read and sang an altered version of Happy Birthday with test words containing the three voiceless stops /p/, /t/, /k/. Results showed that stuttering as well as non-stuttering adolescents reduced VOT during singing compared to speech. In contrast, only adolescents who stutter were less variable in their VOT production in song compared to speech. Additional analyses indicated further group differences in vowel duration following the stop consonant. These findings suggest that young stutterers benefit from sung prosody in their timing abilities.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-156

Cite as: Falk, S., Maslow, E. (2014) Song and speech prosody influences VOT in stuttering and non-stuttering adolescents. Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014, 838-842, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-156.


@inproceedings{Falk2014,
  author={Simone Falk and Elena Maslow},
  title={{Song and speech prosody influences VOT in stuttering and non-stuttering adolescents}},
  year=2014,
  booktitle={Proc. 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2014},
  pages={838--842},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-156},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2014-156}
}