Purpose: This study investigated formant frequencies for their role as acoustic and perceptual correlates to the place of articulation of Cantonese final stops produced by profoundly hearing impaired speakers.
Method: Speakers were 10 Cantonese adolescents (mean age=13;5 [years;months]) who were profoundly hearing impaired (HI). Control speakers were 10 adolescents (mean age=13;5) with normal hearing. Stimuli were Cantonese words that were minimally contrastive in place of final stops (/p, t, k/). Listeners were 10 final-year speech therapy students. The frequencies of F1, F2, and F3 were measured at the middle, 40 ms before the end, and at the end of the vocalic segments.
Results: Control speakers distinguished place contrasts through formant frequency differences at the end positions of the vowels. HI speakers produced final stops with missing formant transitions and neutralized vowels preceding final stops. Listeners relied on F2 transition cues for stops produced by control speakers, whereas F1 and F3 transition cues were used for stops produced by HI speakers.
Conclusions: Formant frequencies of final stops produced by HI speakers showed reduced place distinction. When listeners identified the place of final stops produced by HI speakers, they relied on formant frequency cues that were different from those used for stops produced by control speakers.