Word segmentation based on prosody in Parkinson's Disease

Clin Linguist Phon. 2021 Jun 3;35(6):534-541. doi: 10.1080/02699206.2020.1797174. Epub 2020 Aug 5.


While Parkinson's Disease (PD) impacts the production of prosody and may lead to dysprosody, its effect on the perception of prosody is less clear. In the current study, we investigated how people with PD (PwPD) segment continuous speech using prosodic cues. We used phonemically identical and prosodically different sequences in French. Twenty-three PwPD and 30 controls took part in the study. PwPD showed similar performance to controls (mean difference in terms of correct responses = 2%, 95% confidence interval = [-4%; 8%]). Using Bayesian statistics, our data is 3.6 times more in favour of the null model compared to the alternative model (i.e. difference between PwPD and controls). It thus seems unlikely that PD impacts the perception of prosody systematically. Furthermore, the cognitive performance of PwPD predicted their performance in our segmentation task. This suggests interesting pathways for future research on the mechanisms underlying the impact of PD on speech processing. Clinically, our findings suggest that adequate evaluation of the cognitive capacity of PwPD would help speech and language therapists in assessing speech processing skills in PwPD and in managing their speech impairments.

Keywords: Parkinson’s Disease; Prosody; speech perception; word segmentation.

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease*
  • Speech
  • Speech Disorders
  • Speech Perception*
  • Speech Production Measurement