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Dysprosody and stimulus effects in Cantonese speakers with\ud Parkinson’s disease

By Joan K-Y Ma, Tara L Whitehill and Katherine S-K Cheung


Background: Dysprosody is a common feature in speakers with hypokinetic dysarthria. However, speech prosody\ud varies across different types of speech materials. This raises the question of what is the most appropriate speech\ud material for the evaluation of dysprosody.\ud Aims: To characterize the prosodic impairment in Cantonese speakers with hypokinetic dysarthria associated with\ud Parkinson’s disease, and to determine the effect of different types of speech stimuli on the perceptual rating of prosody.\ud Methods & Procedures: Speech data in the form of sentence reading, passage reading, and monologue were collected\ud from ten Cantonese speakers with Parkinson’s disease. Perceptual analysis was conducted on ten prosodic parameters\ud to evaluate five dimensions of prosody, based on a theoretical framework: pitch, loudness, duration, voice quality, and\ud degree of reduction.\ud Outcomes & Results: The results showed that the most severely affected prosodic parameters were monopitch, harsh\ud voice, and monoloudness, followed by breathy voice and prolonged interval. Differences were noted between speakers\ud with mild and moderate dysprosody. No statistically significant differences were found between the three types of\ud stimuli. However, qualitative analysis revealed noticeable differences between the three stimuli in two speakers.\ud Conclusions& Implications: The prosodic profile of Cantonese speakers with hypokinetic dysarthria is similar to those\ud of other languages (for example, English). The involvement of two new dimensions in the definition of prosody (voice\ud quality and degree of reduction) provides additional insight in differentiating patients with mild and moderate\ud dysarthria. Further investigation on the use of speech materials in the clinical evaluation of speech prosody in speakers\ud with dysarthria is needed, as no single task was found to represent a patient’s performance under all circumstances

Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Informa Healthcare)
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